Nalanda district, a part of Patna division is a district of Bihar state with its administrative head quarters located at Bihar Sharif. Nalanda district came into existence in the year 1976. There are numbers of theories regarding the name of the district Nalanda. Xuanzang, a Chinese pilgrim from the Tang Dynasty believe that the district got its name from the term Nalanda meaning no end in gifts or charity without intermission. Yijing, another Chinese traveller said that the district was named after a snake called Nanda in the naga, a local tank. In ancient Magadha, Nalanda was acclaimed as a Buddhist monastery. It was a prominent centre of learning. The Gupta kings definitely patronized Nalanda and it flourished and grew in stature. King Harsha did a great deal to establish its superiority over other such centres of learning. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. However it is said that it was ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Muslim Mamluk Dynasty under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1200 CE.
Geographically, the district lies at 25°12'N latitude, 85°46'E longitude and 67 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 1.64% forest area of total geographical area. The district occupies a geographical area of 2,355 sq. kms. and it is bounded by Patna district on the north and north east, Nawada district on the south, Sheikhpura district on the south east, Jehanabad district on the west and Gaya district on the south west. The natives of the district experiences extreme hot during the summer. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1308.0 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district has 3 sub-divisions namely Bihar Sharif, Rajgir and Hilsa which are further divided into 20 development blocks. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 7 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 6 towns and 1,055 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 28,77,653 out of which 14,97,060 are males and 13,80,593 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 949 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 21.39% including 20.87% were males and 21.97% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 92.78% of the total population. The population density in the district is 1,222 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 93.59%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 79,203 out of which 40,540 were males and 38,656 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 13,074 out of which 8,139 were males and 4,933 were females.
More than half of the population in the district are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products grows in the district are paddy, potato, onion, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from its agricultural products. The district is not industrially well developed only a few mills of handloom weaving can be found which also helps in its economy to some extent. The Ministry of Defence setup a new Ordnance Factory to manufacture artillery shells in the Nalanda district. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Nalanda as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 5,45,850 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,26,331 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. In the year 2011-12 the net domestic product in the district was Rs. 4,92,834 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,90,612 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district is well known as a great seat of learning. Nalanda University, founded on 25th November, 2010 is situated at Rajgir in the district. Some of the reputed colleges in the district are affiliated to this university. Some of its reputed educational institutions are Nav Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda College, Maha bodhi College, Nalanda Collegiate School, Adarsh High School, Ras Bihari High School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 64.43% including 74.86% are males and 53.1% are females. The number of literates in the district is 15,19,933 including 9,19,558 are males and 6,00,375 are females.
Kaushalendra Kumar, an eminent Indian politician and the present Member of Parliament for the Nalanda constituency was born on 5th November, 1959 at Haidarchak village in the Nalanda district. He was also elected in the Indian general election held in 2009. He is a member of Janata Dal (United) political party.
The district has a variety of tourist spot which allures numerous travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Rajgir, Nalanda and Pawapuri are the most admired tourist destinations of the district. The district is full of historical places. Nalanda University situated at Rajgir created as a revival of an ancient centre of learning. Griddhkuta peak, located in Rajgir is renowned for Mahaparinirvan of Lord Mahavira. Every year the Malmas mela held in Rajgir attracts a huge number of people from across the country. Brahma kund and Makdum kund are the two distinguished kunds in the district draws a lot of tourists from far distance place. Hieun-Tsang memorial is as well the foremost centre of attraction. Every year, the district administration and tourism department in the first week of December organize the Rajgir Dance Festival. Pant wild life sanctuary, situated in Rajgir is an abode of rich flora and fauna.