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Varsity equally famous as Nalanda found

Varsity equally famous as Nalanda found

Author: DH News Service
Publication: Deccan Herald
Date: January 14, 2007
URL: http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/jan142007/state058252007114.asp

A bigger and more prominent university than Nalanda University has been discovered near Hampi. Believed to have housed more native and foreign students than Nalanda, the Lokapavana University at Chakratheertha near Hampi is expected to open up new vistas of discussion in history.

The newly discovered Lokapavana University was built by Vyasaraya during the Vijayanagar era in Hampi. However, the persons who discovered this historical monument do not belong to any research group. They are commoners, illiterates, to whom this monument was just the 'Vyasa Mutt'.When the Deccan Herald reporter visited the spot, photographed the sites and discussed them with experts, more startling facts came to light.

The University, located opposite the Vali Sugriva cave, near Chakratheertha, faces the western direction. To the South West of the varsity, one can see the gopura of Virupaksha Temple; on one side is also the Mathanga Parvatha, while on the other (South) is the temple of Anjaneya, who was the well-revered God for Vyasaraya. To the left of the varsity is a sloping road and a Purandara Mantapa while to the North East is Vijaya Vittala temple, the abode of the lord of Vyasaraya's poems, Krishna.

At the entrance to the main building of the varsity is an idol of Goddess Saraswathi. Alongside the Goddess, are two elephants holding a Kalasha each, atop the Goddess' head. In the nearby columns there are two sets of Ashtadalas etched within a circle. There are also nine kindis to the north wall of this room.

There is a gopura to the south of the main building and a mantapa on the first storey, which is etched with beautiful inscriptions. If one sees the monument from its front, one can see Anjaneya to the left and Garuda to the right, as if welcoming the visitor. Similar inscriptions are seen at the rear portion of the monument too.

A Mutt was built for Vyasaraya, who was the Rajaguru of Vijayanagar emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya, near Chakratheertha in the 15th Century. A hall, library and a school was built within this Mutt. Vyasaraya, who set up a scholarly institution, expanded it gradually into the Lokapavana University.

Eventually, people began referring to the Mutt as the Vishnupavana Mutt.

The head of the University was Vyasaraya himself and over 10,000 students were educated here, among them German and Yehudi students too. In addition to Vedic education, students were trained in Vaasthu, sculpting, psychology, commerce, mechanics and other such streams. In fact, the varsity is said to have had many branches across the country.

In Hardwar, it was Sathyanath, in Kashi Jayadev, in Bengal it was Eshwarsoori, in Gaya Harimishra, in Udupi Vadiraja, in Mulbagal Pragnanidhi, in Kanchi it was Srinivas Theertha who ran the show - these men were made vice-chancellors in the respective areas, according to 'Vyasayogi Charitha', a Sanskrit Champu Kavya by Somanatha and 'Saraswatha Parinama', an epic by Raghavendrappa in 1811.

The foreign traveller Nannis, in his writings about the Vijayanagar empire, speaks of the long processions, a decorated yathi seated in a golden chariot, with musical accompaniments, as part of the varsity's convocation.

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