During the time of the Second World War, Nalanda was split into two separate institutions. One was moved to Maharagama and the other to Minuwangoda. Though Nalanda was restored, once the insecure period was over, Ven. Hinatiye Dhammaloka registered the institution that started in Minuwangoda as a separate school. It was also named "Nalanda".
Nalanda College, Colombo an icon in the education system of Sri Lanka is a prestigious institute in the forefront of holding out the nation's rich cultural heritage. Inspired by Buddhism and Cherished by Scholars Nalanda College has set the standards for independent national education. "Nalanda" was a university in India at the time of Lord Buddha (650BC); long lost and forgotten by the decay of time it's name somehow lived on. Even after 2000 years of human evolution, the morals and social etiquette taught by Buddhism still remained true as ever. It almost seemed as if education had to wait 2000 years for the finished product.
At a time of cultural renaissance in an exotic tropical Island in 1923, Nalanda was reincarnated as an educational institute. It was fate that brought Colonel Henry Steel Olcotte, the founder of Nalanda to Sri Lanka on his quest to find the ultimate truth. Upon his arrival from America, he became a Buddhist, and devoted his life to preserve it. Long before Sri Lanka won it's independence in 1948 from the British Empire, The founders of Nalanda College had to work within the limits set by the government. It was pure will power, patriotism and personality shown by men like venerable Sri Sumangala thera and Anagarika Dhamapala that has made Nalanda the crown jewel of Sri Lankan schools today.
At the beginning, Nalanda was nothing more than a classroom in a humble bamboo shaded hut. We started out with about 20 students and a few volunteers as teachers. Everything was done with the help of generous public donations to the Buddhist Theosophical society set up by Colonel Olcotte. Negligence of Buddhism and Buddhist culture in the early 20th century made Nalanda a godsend to the people. The opportunity to get equally good education without going to a missionary school to have Christianity imposed upon themselves was a liberty they never had before. Despite the strains of British colonial rule in Sri Lanka at that time Nalanda never looked back on it's course in providing independent national education for the children of tomorrow. From the very beginning the "Buddhist Theosophical Society" headed by colonel Henry Steel Olcotte was facing a trivial problem in fighting to to keep up with the influential missionary program sponsored by the government. However, Nalanda had the one thing that it will ever need; the blessing of the common people.
As we step into the new millennium it is only right that we honor the efforts of the pioneers of the Nalanda The name "Nalanda" was given to us by the late venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya thera. The Pali word "Nalanda" means "the place which gives strength". History will teach the next generation that the land they walk on is rich with the blood & sweat of our brothers and that Nalanda was the strength of independent Sri Lanka.