- Must be built on flat land.
- Cannot be adjacent to another Mahavihara.
With few placement restrictions, the Mahavihara can make for educated pious cities that make Saladin envious. While the housing bonus is also helpful, the biggest bonus of the Mahavihara is the free technology upon initially building one. This alone makes it worthwhile to work for Suzerainty of Nalanda, even if only for a few turns.
A vihara is the Sanskrit and Pali term for a Buddhist monastery; “Maha” simply means “great,” so the “mahavihara” just means a large center for monastic life. Buddhist monks in a vihara are not the stereotype of silent worshippers simply seeking enlightenment via meditation. Rather, many monasteries are places of active learning – devotees are exposed to a wide variety of knowledge and encouraged to debate religious and scientific truths. The mahavihara of Nalanda was a massive complex that brought visitors from all across Asia precisely for this discussion and exchange. It contained within it a library that contained knowledge both of Buddhism as well as literature and science, including several famous texts: Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka, or the doctrine of emptiness; as well as the Four Vedas – Sanskrit texts that are vital to both Buddhism and Hinduism. Vihara are still present today – the terms “wihan” and “vihear” in Thai and Cambodian, respectively, refer to the main functional structure in a Buddhist temple.