KARAKORAM HIMALAYAS AND CENTRAL ASIA. THE BUDDHIST CONNECTION

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Abstract


The Karakoram-Himalayan region is the cradle from where ancient Indian culture including Buddhism spread to different directions in Central Asia, East Asia and South East Asia. Gilgit, Chilas, Chitral, Baltistan, Ladakh, Zanskar and other frontier areas have been important mileposts on the famous Silk Route. Buddhist savants from India contributed to the spread of Buddhism in Central Asia and East Asia. One of the eminent scholars was Kumarajiva (344-413 AD) who broke political, geographical, cultural and linguistic barriers for propagation of Buddhism. Hieun Tsiang mentions four important centres of Buddhism in Central Asia - Shan-shan (Kroraina), Khotan, Kucha and Turfan. Kashmir played an important role in introducing Buddhism to Khotan, which in turn played a key role in the transmission of Buddhism to China. Several important places on the Silk Route system such as Kucha, Balkh, Bamiyan, Khotan, Kashgar etc. developed into important centres of Buddhism when parts of Central Asia and north-western India were integrated into a single kingdom under the Kushans.)


About the authors

K Warikoo

Jawaharlal Nehru University

Author for correspondence.
Email: kwarikoo@gmail.com
New Delhi 110067, INDIA

Phd., Professor at Centre for Inner Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, INDIA).

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