Takshila (Pronounced as Takshashila in Sanskrit) is located in the Rawalpindi District of the Punjab province in Pakistan which was once a part of ancient India. Takshashila University is supposed to be dated back to 700 BC, the University flourished from 600 BC to 500 AD, in the kingdom of Gandhar. It was known as a center of learning for centuries before Christ, and attracted students from around the ancient world until its destruction in the 5th century CE. Though many historians claim that Takshashila is the oldest University in the world the Guinness world record attribute this record to University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The Guinness world record considers only continually operating educational institution which is not the case with Takshashila faced the brunt of attacks and invasions and the university was shut down.
Oldest or not Takshashila University has played a crucial role in educating not only the people of India but also of Babylonia, Greece, Syria, Arabia, Phoenicia and China and other parts of world. It was so famous that it is considered that only 3 out of 10 students applying for the University got selected. Takshashila’s famous researchers and teachers include: Panini (the great grammarian of Sanskrit, to whom Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT attributes the origin of linguistics); Kautilya, also known as Chanakya (king-maker, astute political advisor, and author of ArthaShastra, c. 300 BCE, deemed by social and economic historian Max Weber as one of the greatest political state-craft books of the ancient world); Charaka (the distinguished physician, whose research on the region’s flora and fauna described in his CharakaSamhita strengthened the development of Ayurveda); and Jivaka (the great physician to Gautama Buddha and his followers).