The Takshashila—Once the Knowledge Center of the world, 7 Amazing Facts About

The Takshashila—Once the Knowledge Center of the world,  7 Amazing Facts About

India has been a seat of one of the oldest and most important civilizations in the world—the Indus Valley or the Harappan Civilization. Later on many powerful kings and emperors ruled over this land, making India one of the most powerful places in the history of the world.


Although our history books provide, or at least try to, a detailed, if too lengthy, picture of the earlier settlements, eras and civilizations, not many enlighten us about Takshashila, the oldest known university of the world!

If you are still wondering about the same, and want to know a bit more than what the history book “teaches” you, here you go on the same—

1. The Takshashila, or Taxila as it is better known, was the finest educational institute of its time. It continued for hundreds of years and yes…
It was in the land of Hindus. 


The university was a hub of over 10,000 students swarming in from different parts of the world to garner knowledge and education.

2. If you think that different departments along with numerous specialization courses are the brainchild of a modern sensibility, it’s time you change your notion!



Well, 2700 years ago, Takshashila offered courses in more than 64 different fields of studies ranging from surgery and commerce to music and dance, and from philosophy and Ayurveda to grammar, politics, archery and warfare. What’s more is that courses were taught to discover hidden treasures and decrypting messages, too! Isn’t that just wonderful?!



3. Like every modern seat of knowledge and education, you would need to complete your basic schooling, and be of 16 years, before applying for courses in here.




4. The admission process was also quite stringent, and was purely based on merit.

And, the competition would be among eligible students across the whole continent. So, you thought getting through the IITs and IIMs are the only big deals, right?

Even historical records show that this institute admitted all as equals; no caste, creed or religion based discrimination.


Statue of Lord Buddha at Taxila Museum

Statue of Lord Buddha at Taxila Museum

5. Yes; like all “modern” universities, Takshashila, too, provided you with ample of choices as “electives”.


In fact, the students had to choose their electives first, and then carry on with an in-depth research into the subject of their choice and preference.


6. Wondering why such name—Takshashila?


Well, Takshashila’s nomenclature was derived from King Taksha—the nephew of Lord Rama and the son of Bharata. King Taksha ruled over the region Taksha Khanda that extended from the northern fringes of India to the modern day Uzbekistan. In fact, Tashkent, the present capital of Uzbekistan, too, derives its name from the same source!



7. Located in present day Pakistan, if you are wondering if the University actually had eminent scholars, you would be surprised to look at the list.


We present the names of few eminent scholars that the University had just for you—

a) Chanakya:

No matter whether you ever liked your history classes or not, this is one name that you can never forget! One of the finest political masters and the prime minister of the Mauryan Empire, Chanakya or Kautilya authored the famous Arthashastra—a compilation of 15 books that is undoubtedly one of the oldest yet finest works on economic policies, statecraft, political duties, military strategies, administrative skills and state intelligence system.

In fact, he has been hailed as the third best management counsels the history of India after Lord Krishna himself and Shakuni, and was the prime support behind the establishment of the famous Mauryan Empire.


b) Panini:

If Chanakya had been a stalwart in politics; Panini was the master of grammar and languages. In fact, Panini’s Ashtadhyayi is regarded as one of the profoundest, if complicated, work on grammar ever. It provides a highly technical perspective on Sanskrit grammar, and illustrates all the nuances, rules and features to perfection.


c) Vishnu Sharma:

Who hasn’t read and admired the tales from Panchatantra during the childhood days? Well, the famous author behind those simple yet admirable tales was, too, a student of Takshashila. After all, not everyone can teach the important and difficult art of political science through simple and loving tales!

According to the legends, Vishnu Sharma wrote Panchatantra to educate three dumb princes of a king into great political leaders within a span of 6 months!


d) Charaka:

A physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge and understanding can never treat diseases. This is what the famous author of Charaka Samhita had to say regarding the power of a good physician. Needless to say, Charaka was one of the most well-known Ayurveda physicians ever, and had authored Charaka Samhita which, along with Sushrutha Samhita, Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtang Hrudayam, forms the crux of modern day Ayurveda.

charaka Father of medicine

e) Jivak:

Now, here’s is a man who could tell the physical problems of a body by just reading the pulse rate! After having studied at the University for 7 years, and specializing surgery, Marma and Panchakarma, Jivak had also invented a treatment for Filariasis back in those days. Being the personal physician of Lord Buddha, he also cured the Nandi Vran of Buddha. The beautiful Amrapali retained her youthful countenance and beauty thanks to the numerous surgeries and Marma points performed by Jivak on her. And, you thought cosmetic surgery is a thing of today?



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