Sunday, November 11, 2012

Takshashila, an ancient Indian centre of learning

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                                                  ( A UNESCO World Heritage Site )

Takshashila became a noted centre of learning at least several centuries BCE, and continued to attract students from around the old world until the destruction of the city in the 5th century. In 1980, Takshashila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site At its height, it has been suggested that Takshashila exerted a sort of "intellectual suzer
ainty" over other centres of learning in India and its primary concern was not with elementary, but higher education. .Generally, a student entered Takshashila at the age of sixteen. The Vedas and the Eighteen Silpas or Arts, which included skills such as archery, hunting, and elephant lore, were taught, in addition to its law school, medical school, and school of military science. Students came to Takshashila from far-off places such as Kashi, Kosala and Magadha, in spite of the long and arduous journey they had to undergo, on account of the excellence of the learned teachers there, all recognized as authorities on their respective subjects.

Famous students and teachers of Takshashila

Takshashila is perhaps best known because of its association with Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, the strategist who guided Chandragupta Maurya and assisted in the founding of the Mauryan empire. The Arthashastra (Sanskrit for The knowledge of Economics) of Chanakya, is said to have been composed in Takshashila itself. The Ayurvedic healer Charaka also studied at Taxila. He also started teaching at Takshashila in the later period. The ancient grammarian Panini, who codified the rules that would define Classical Sanskrit, has also been part of the community at Takshashila.

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