The relics of the great Buddhist University of Vikramshila are located east of Bhagalpur district in eastern Bihar. Excavations of the site were initiated in 1960-61 revealing vast ruins of dormitiories, a 60 feet high stupa and several smaller shrines and many other units in an advanced state of decay. The entire complex covers an area of 4 sq km across the villages of Bateshwarsthan, Patthar Ghatta and Antichak.
Till about 40-odd years ago, there was much population amongst scholars of the great university. Alexander Cunningham, a renowned historian and head of the ASI during the Raj. Identified it with the village of Silao, near Baragaon (between Nalanda and Rajgir). Others cited Sultanganj. 22 km from Bhagalpu, as a strong possibility. And yet another theory put the university at the site of the villages of Orip. Antichak and Madhorampru, near Bateshwarsthan. Except for Silao. All the other identified sites are situated in the district of Bhaglpur.
Waling down the ruined complex, one will come upon the remnants of a dormitory. Used by Tibetan students, set up on a platform of 60 feet width. The adjoining meditation house is in ruins and open to further damage by the vagaries of the natural elements.
The complex also comprised a large monastery built within its precincts which was protected by strong walls, in the centre was a Buddhist temple surrounded by 108 smaller shrines.
Also of great interest is the 60 feet high stupa, built on a platform of 300 feet width. Over 300 terracotta figurines used to encircle the stupa.
Nalanda specialized in the Mahayana school of Buddhism, but Bikramshila is said to have veered towards Tantrik Buddhism in later times.