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Day 10 : Ancient India : RS Sharma Notes


Chapter 26 : India’s Cultural Contacts with the Asian Countries


Page 223 :

  • Medieval law givers + commentators = told that no one should cross seas ; but India maintained contacts since Harappan civilisation ; traders went to Mesopotamia (2400 B.C and 1700 .B.C.)

  • From Christian era – India maintained commercial relations with China, S-E Asia. West Asia and Roman Empire (connected through silk route ) + sent missionaries, conquerors and traders to Neighbouring countries who founded settlements there.

Propagation of Buddhism :

  • Propagation of Buddhism was with – SL, Myanmar . China and Central Asia.

  • To SL – during the reign of Ashoka (3rd century B.C.) + Short Brahmi inscriptions found there (at 2nd and 1st century B.C.) + acquired permanent hold there.

  • Early centuries of Christian era – Buddhism spread to Burma - where Theravada Form of Buddhism was developed.

  • Rich literature in Burma + SL on Buddhism in Pali texts.

  • Kanishka sent missionaries to China, Central Asia and Afghanistan.

  • From china, it spread to Japan + korea ; Fahien + Hsuan Tsang – came in search for Buddhist doctrines and Texts + cultural exchange (India learnt art of making silk and Chinese learnt – art of Buddhist painting)

Page 224 :

  • Other two Great centres of Buddhism - Afghan and Central Asia.

  • AFGHANISTHAN - Many statutes of Buddha and Monasteries – found.

  • Begram – (famous for ivory work) ; Bamiyan - Possess the tallest Buddha sculptured in early Christian era + 1000s of Caves (Natural + Artificial) where monks lived.

  • Buddhism was there until 7th century before Islam came.


  • Buddhist monasteries + stupas + inscriptions + manuscripts – Found.

  • Due to Kushan rule – Kharoshthi script in Prakirt language (used in inscriptions and manuscripts ) – Found.

  • Written Language - used for official and day-2-day correspondence and preservation and propagation of Buddhism.


  • Indian culture – spread to S-E Asia – not through Buddhism but rather through the Brahmanical cults. (Except for Burma)

  • Burma : Use of name Suvarnabumi + Buddhist remains (during G.E).

Page 225 :

  • Close relationship with Java, Indonesia – known to be Surarnadivpa /Island of Gold. (Visit of chinese -à Pallavas à Kingdom of Sri Vijaya)

  • Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – Indians setup two powerful Kingdoms ( Kamboja - devotes of shiva, centre of Sanskrit learning and Champa – also a shaiva + Sanksrit was official language )

  • Indian settlements in Indian ocean continued until 13rd century after that happt commingling with local peoples followed.

  • Largest Buddhist temple in Borobudur (Indonesia) and Temple of Ankorvat (larger thanBorobudur) but belongs to medival times (twin epics- written on the walls of the temple)

Page 226 :

  • Beautiful paintings – found in SL + Tun Huang caves (of china ) than in Ajanta.

  • Spread of Indian culture – was not only due to religion but also due to Traders and Conquerors.

  • Suvarnabumi + Surarnadivpa – Indicative of Indians search for Gold.

  • It was two-way traffic : India – from roman (Minting gold coins ) ; China (Silk growing) ; Indonesia (Growing betel leaves) - they learnt the art of growing rice from India.

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