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Odantapuri, also called Odantapura or Uddandapura, was a Buddhist vihara in what is now Biharmarker, Indiamarker. It was established by king Dharmapala of Pala dynasty in the 8th century. It is considered the second oldest of India's universities and was situated in Magadha, about six miles away from Nalanda. Acharya Sri Ganga of Vikramashilamarker had been a student here. According to the Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students at Odantapuri.

In a Tibetan history of the Kalachakra tantra called dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i zab pa dang rgya che ba'i dam pa'i chos byung ba'i tshul legs par bshad pa ngo mtshar dad pa'i shing rta, by the Sakya master Jamgon Amye Zhab (1597-1659) ('jam mgon a myes zhabs ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams), it is mentioned that Odantapuri was administered by "Sendhapas," the Tibetan referent for Sri Lankanmarker Theravadins.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pāla period in ancient Bengal and Magadha. According to Tibetan sources, five great Mahaviharas stood out: Vikramashilamarker, the premier univeristy of the era; Nalandamarker, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapura Mahaviharamarker, Odantapuri, and Jaggadala. The five monasteries formed a network; "all of them were under state supervision" and their existed "a system of co-ordination among them . . it seems from the evidence that the different seats of Buddhist learning that functioned in eastern India under the Pāla were regarded together as forming a network, an interlinked group of institutions," and it was common for great scholars to move easily from position to position among them.

The university perished at the hands of the Muslim invaders. It is said they mistook the universities with their high walls for fortresses. They thought the Buddhist monks were "Shaven headed Brahmins" who were idolaters.


  1. Vajrayogini: Her Visualization, Rituals, and Forms by Elizabeth English. Wisdom Publications. ISBN: 0-86171-329-X pg 15
  2. Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. by Dutt, Sukumar. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London 1962. pg 352-3

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