TN History Textbook: The Spread of Indian Culture in Other Asian Countries Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: The Spread of Indian Culture in Other Asian Countries Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

The document TN History Textbook: The Spread of Indian Culture in Other Asian Countries Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation.
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 Page 1


155 154
Sanskrit texts and Buddhist monasteries were found in these places.
Indian cultural influence continued in this region till eighth century.
Indian culture had also spread to Tibet and China through Central
Asia.
India and China
China was influenced both by land route passing through
Central Asia and the sea route through Burma. Buddhism reached
China in the beginning of the first century A.D. A number of Chinese
pilgrims like Fahien and Hiuen Tsang visited India. On the other
side, hundreds of Buddhist monks like Gunabhadra, Vajrabothi,
Dharmadeva and Dharmagupta visited China. Indian scholars
translated many Sanskrit works at the request of Chinese emperors.
This contact with China continued even in the thirteenth century
when the Mongols established their empire in China. Chinese art
had also been influenced by Indian art.
India and Tibet
Tibet was influenced by India from the seventh century. The
famous Buddhist king Gampo founded the city of Lhasa and
introduced Buddhism. The Tibetan alphabet was devised with the
help of Indian scholars. Later, the Indian scholars helped for the
establishment of Lamaism in Tibet. In the eleventh century the Pala
dynasty of Bengal had close contacts with Tibet. When Bengal was
attacked by the Muslim rulers, many Buddhist
monks sought shelter in Tibet.
India and Sri Lanka
Despite having different political history,
Sri Lanka experienced a great cultural influence
from India. Buddhist missionaries had spread
not only the religious faith but also cultural
traditions. The art of stone carving went to Sri
SIGIRIYA PAINTING 
The spread of Indian culture and civilization to the other parts
of Asia constitutes an important chapter in the history of India. India
had established commercial contacts with other countries from the
earliest times. It had inevitably resulted in the spread of Indian
languages, religions, art and architecture, philosophy, beliefs, customs
and manners. Indian political adventurers even established Hindu
kingdoms in some parts of South East Asia. However, this did not
lead to any kind of colonialism or imperialism in the modern sense.
On the other hand these colonies in the new lands were free from
the control of the mother country. But they were brought under her
cultural influence.
Central Asia
Central Asia was a great centre of Indian culture in the early
centuries of the Christian era. Several monuments have been
unearthed in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Khotan and Kashkar
remained the most important centres of Indian culture. Several
LESSON 14
THE SPREAD OF INDIAN CULTURE IN OTHER
ASIAN COUNTRIES
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The spread of Indian culture in central Asia.
2. Indian cultural influence in China, Tibet and Sri Lanka.
3. Indian cultural influence over the South East Asia.
4. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar.
5. Art and architecture in the countries of South East Asia.
Page 2


155 154
Sanskrit texts and Buddhist monasteries were found in these places.
Indian cultural influence continued in this region till eighth century.
Indian culture had also spread to Tibet and China through Central
Asia.
India and China
China was influenced both by land route passing through
Central Asia and the sea route through Burma. Buddhism reached
China in the beginning of the first century A.D. A number of Chinese
pilgrims like Fahien and Hiuen Tsang visited India. On the other
side, hundreds of Buddhist monks like Gunabhadra, Vajrabothi,
Dharmadeva and Dharmagupta visited China. Indian scholars
translated many Sanskrit works at the request of Chinese emperors.
This contact with China continued even in the thirteenth century
when the Mongols established their empire in China. Chinese art
had also been influenced by Indian art.
India and Tibet
Tibet was influenced by India from the seventh century. The
famous Buddhist king Gampo founded the city of Lhasa and
introduced Buddhism. The Tibetan alphabet was devised with the
help of Indian scholars. Later, the Indian scholars helped for the
establishment of Lamaism in Tibet. In the eleventh century the Pala
dynasty of Bengal had close contacts with Tibet. When Bengal was
attacked by the Muslim rulers, many Buddhist
monks sought shelter in Tibet.
India and Sri Lanka
Despite having different political history,
Sri Lanka experienced a great cultural influence
from India. Buddhist missionaries had spread
not only the religious faith but also cultural
traditions. The art of stone carving went to Sri
SIGIRIYA PAINTING 
The spread of Indian culture and civilization to the other parts
of Asia constitutes an important chapter in the history of India. India
had established commercial contacts with other countries from the
earliest times. It had inevitably resulted in the spread of Indian
languages, religions, art and architecture, philosophy, beliefs, customs
and manners. Indian political adventurers even established Hindu
kingdoms in some parts of South East Asia. However, this did not
lead to any kind of colonialism or imperialism in the modern sense.
On the other hand these colonies in the new lands were free from
the control of the mother country. But they were brought under her
cultural influence.
Central Asia
Central Asia was a great centre of Indian culture in the early
centuries of the Christian era. Several monuments have been
unearthed in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Khotan and Kashkar
remained the most important centres of Indian culture. Several
LESSON 14
THE SPREAD OF INDIAN CULTURE IN OTHER
ASIAN COUNTRIES
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The spread of Indian culture in central Asia.
2. Indian cultural influence in China, Tibet and Sri Lanka.
3. Indian cultural influence over the South East Asia.
4. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar.
5. Art and architecture in the countries of South East Asia.
157 156
peninsula. Numerous Sanskrit inscriptions give us a detailed history
of its kings. A number of Hindu literary works like the Vedas, the
Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Panini’s grammar, Hindu
philosophical treatises were all known to the people of Cambodia.
Like the Pallava kings, they were called V armans. Y asovarman
and Suryavarman II were two well-known rulers. Temples were
built in South Indian style. There are plenty of Sanskrit inscriptions.
The most famous of these temples was the temple (wat) of Vishnu
built by Suryavarman II in his capital city Angkor. It was popularly
called as the Angkorwat Temple. It is standing on top of a terraced
structure. Each terrace is a sort of a covered gallery which contains
numerous relief sculptures. The temple is constructed on the
Dravidian style and the sculptures depict episodes from the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Kambhoja kingdom declined
only in fifteenth century.
Champa
Champa or South Annam is situated to the east of Cambodia.
The first Hindu dynasty was established by Sri Mara in the second
century A.D. A number of Sanskrit inscriptions throw light on the
history of Champa. Twelve Indian dynasties ruled over Champa
and by the thirteenth century Champa was annexed to Cambodia.
Under its Hindu rulers the Hindu religion and culture, customs and
manners were introduced in Champa. Saivism and Vaishnavism
flourished. Buddhism also existed side by side. Various works on
Hindu philosophy, grammar, fine arts and astrology were written.
Siam or Thailand
There were several states in Siam following Indian culture.
Thai script was developed with the help of Indian scholars. The
traditional laws of that country were composed on the model of
Dharmasastras. The temples at Bangkok contain many sculptures
depicting the Ramayana.
Lanka from India. In the fifth century, Buddha Ghosha visited Sri
Lanka and consolidated there the Hinayana Buddhism. The famous
paintings of Sigiriya were modeled on the Ajantha paintings.
Indian Culture in South East Asia
Indian culture had extended its mighty influence in the South
East Asian region consisting of the Malay Archipelago and Indo-
China. They are located across the Bay of Bengal. Being fertile and
rich in minerals, these lands attracted the attention of the Indians.
Moreover, the east coast of India is studded with numerous ports
and Indians undertook frequent voyages to these lands. The ancient
traditions refer to traders’ voyages to Suvarnabhumi, (the land of
gold) a name generally given to all the countries of the East Asia.
Indians began to colonize the East Asia in the Gupta period. It was
further encouraged by the Pallavas. The Indian colonists established
great kingdoms and some of them lasted for more than a thousand
years. A number of dynasties with Indian names ruled in various
parts. Till the arrival of Islam in the fifteenth century, Indian culture
dominated this region.
Cambodia (Kambhoja)
Cambodia was colonised by Indians in the first century A.D.
They influenced the
native people called the
Khemers. The ruling
dynasty was known as
Kambojas and their
country was Kamboja
or modern Cambodia.
Under the early rulers
Saivism and
Vaishnavism made steady progress. The Kamboja empire at its
greatest extent included Laos, Siam, part of Burma and the Malay
ANGKORWAT TEMPLE 
Page 3


155 154
Sanskrit texts and Buddhist monasteries were found in these places.
Indian cultural influence continued in this region till eighth century.
Indian culture had also spread to Tibet and China through Central
Asia.
India and China
China was influenced both by land route passing through
Central Asia and the sea route through Burma. Buddhism reached
China in the beginning of the first century A.D. A number of Chinese
pilgrims like Fahien and Hiuen Tsang visited India. On the other
side, hundreds of Buddhist monks like Gunabhadra, Vajrabothi,
Dharmadeva and Dharmagupta visited China. Indian scholars
translated many Sanskrit works at the request of Chinese emperors.
This contact with China continued even in the thirteenth century
when the Mongols established their empire in China. Chinese art
had also been influenced by Indian art.
India and Tibet
Tibet was influenced by India from the seventh century. The
famous Buddhist king Gampo founded the city of Lhasa and
introduced Buddhism. The Tibetan alphabet was devised with the
help of Indian scholars. Later, the Indian scholars helped for the
establishment of Lamaism in Tibet. In the eleventh century the Pala
dynasty of Bengal had close contacts with Tibet. When Bengal was
attacked by the Muslim rulers, many Buddhist
monks sought shelter in Tibet.
India and Sri Lanka
Despite having different political history,
Sri Lanka experienced a great cultural influence
from India. Buddhist missionaries had spread
not only the religious faith but also cultural
traditions. The art of stone carving went to Sri
SIGIRIYA PAINTING 
The spread of Indian culture and civilization to the other parts
of Asia constitutes an important chapter in the history of India. India
had established commercial contacts with other countries from the
earliest times. It had inevitably resulted in the spread of Indian
languages, religions, art and architecture, philosophy, beliefs, customs
and manners. Indian political adventurers even established Hindu
kingdoms in some parts of South East Asia. However, this did not
lead to any kind of colonialism or imperialism in the modern sense.
On the other hand these colonies in the new lands were free from
the control of the mother country. But they were brought under her
cultural influence.
Central Asia
Central Asia was a great centre of Indian culture in the early
centuries of the Christian era. Several monuments have been
unearthed in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Khotan and Kashkar
remained the most important centres of Indian culture. Several
LESSON 14
THE SPREAD OF INDIAN CULTURE IN OTHER
ASIAN COUNTRIES
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The spread of Indian culture in central Asia.
2. Indian cultural influence in China, Tibet and Sri Lanka.
3. Indian cultural influence over the South East Asia.
4. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar.
5. Art and architecture in the countries of South East Asia.
157 156
peninsula. Numerous Sanskrit inscriptions give us a detailed history
of its kings. A number of Hindu literary works like the Vedas, the
Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Panini’s grammar, Hindu
philosophical treatises were all known to the people of Cambodia.
Like the Pallava kings, they were called V armans. Y asovarman
and Suryavarman II were two well-known rulers. Temples were
built in South Indian style. There are plenty of Sanskrit inscriptions.
The most famous of these temples was the temple (wat) of Vishnu
built by Suryavarman II in his capital city Angkor. It was popularly
called as the Angkorwat Temple. It is standing on top of a terraced
structure. Each terrace is a sort of a covered gallery which contains
numerous relief sculptures. The temple is constructed on the
Dravidian style and the sculptures depict episodes from the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Kambhoja kingdom declined
only in fifteenth century.
Champa
Champa or South Annam is situated to the east of Cambodia.
The first Hindu dynasty was established by Sri Mara in the second
century A.D. A number of Sanskrit inscriptions throw light on the
history of Champa. Twelve Indian dynasties ruled over Champa
and by the thirteenth century Champa was annexed to Cambodia.
Under its Hindu rulers the Hindu religion and culture, customs and
manners were introduced in Champa. Saivism and Vaishnavism
flourished. Buddhism also existed side by side. Various works on
Hindu philosophy, grammar, fine arts and astrology were written.
Siam or Thailand
There were several states in Siam following Indian culture.
Thai script was developed with the help of Indian scholars. The
traditional laws of that country were composed on the model of
Dharmasastras. The temples at Bangkok contain many sculptures
depicting the Ramayana.
Lanka from India. In the fifth century, Buddha Ghosha visited Sri
Lanka and consolidated there the Hinayana Buddhism. The famous
paintings of Sigiriya were modeled on the Ajantha paintings.
Indian Culture in South East Asia
Indian culture had extended its mighty influence in the South
East Asian region consisting of the Malay Archipelago and Indo-
China. They are located across the Bay of Bengal. Being fertile and
rich in minerals, these lands attracted the attention of the Indians.
Moreover, the east coast of India is studded with numerous ports
and Indians undertook frequent voyages to these lands. The ancient
traditions refer to traders’ voyages to Suvarnabhumi, (the land of
gold) a name generally given to all the countries of the East Asia.
Indians began to colonize the East Asia in the Gupta period. It was
further encouraged by the Pallavas. The Indian colonists established
great kingdoms and some of them lasted for more than a thousand
years. A number of dynasties with Indian names ruled in various
parts. Till the arrival of Islam in the fifteenth century, Indian culture
dominated this region.
Cambodia (Kambhoja)
Cambodia was colonised by Indians in the first century A.D.
They influenced the
native people called the
Khemers. The ruling
dynasty was known as
Kambojas and their
country was Kamboja
or modern Cambodia.
Under the early rulers
Saivism and
Vaishnavism made steady progress. The Kamboja empire at its
greatest extent included Laos, Siam, part of Burma and the Malay
ANGKORWAT TEMPLE 
159 158
bas-reliefs (small  carved stone figures) illustrating various incidents
in the life of the Buddha. The lower parts are rich in decoration
while the upper portions are plain and unadorned. Borobudur is
described as an epic in stone, the most wonderful Buddhist stupa in
the world.
In the twelfth century, eastern Java with Kadiri as its capital
developed into the leading kingdom of Java. In the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries which marked the golden age of Javanese
culture, Majapahit became the capital of the far-flung Javanese
empire which included the neighbouring islands. Indian art and
literature flourished in Java to an extent unknown elsewhere. Still,
ruins of hundreds of temples and manuscripts based on the Sanskrit
language are found in Java. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata
were popular and even today furnish the theme for their popular
shadow-play. The fall of Majapahit brought to an end all artistic
activity in Java.
Bali
Bali came under the rule of Hindu dynasties as early as the
sixth century. I-Tsing refers to the prevalence of Buddhism there in
the seventh century. The stone and copper plate inscriptions from
that island show that it was colonised directly from India. Later it
became subordinate to Java. Its people continue to be Hindus and
even today we find the prevalence of the caste system there.
Myanmar
The cultural contacts between India and Burma (now
Myanmar) dates back to the period of Asoka, who sent his
missionaries there to preach Buddhism. Many Hindu kingdoms
existed in Burma. Pali and Sanskrit were the languages of Burma till
thirteenth century. Both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism were
followed by the Burmese.
Sumatra and Java
The Malay Archipelago had remained an important link
between India and the Far East. Several Hindu kingdoms existed
here between fifth to fifteenth centuries A.D. The most important
Hindu kingdom in the big island of Sumatra was Sri Vijaya. It was a
great centre of trade and culture in the seventh century. Subsequently,
the Sri Vijaya kingdom developed into a powerful maritime and
commercial power known as the Sailendra empire extending its sway
over the neighbouring islands of Java, Bali, Borneo and over Cam-
bodia. The Sailendra rulers were Mahayana Buddhists and
maintained cordial relations with the Indian kingdoms of the Palas
of Bengal and the Cholas of Tamil Nadu. Rajaraja Chola allowed
the Sailendra king Maravijayottungavarman to build a Buddhist
monastery at Nagapattinam. His son Rajendra conquered the
Sailendra kingdom for sometime. Later they became independent.
The Sailendra empire continued intact till the eleventh century A.D.
A Hindu kingdom was established in Java as early as the fourth
century A.D. In Central Java arose the kingdom of Mataram which
became a strong centre of Hindu religion and culture. It was
conquered by the Sailendras of Sumatra. Till the ninth century Java
continued to be a part of the Sailendra empire. Later it regained its
independence. Java attained greatness and splendour in art under
Sailendra rule.
The greatest monument of Indo-
Java art is the Borobudur which was
built during A.D. 750-850 under the
patronage of the Sailendras. It is
situated on the top of a hill. It consists
of nine successive terraces, crowned
by a bell-shaped stupa at the centre of
the topmost terrace. The open galleries in the terraces contain 2000
BOROBUDUR
MONUMENT
Page 4


155 154
Sanskrit texts and Buddhist monasteries were found in these places.
Indian cultural influence continued in this region till eighth century.
Indian culture had also spread to Tibet and China through Central
Asia.
India and China
China was influenced both by land route passing through
Central Asia and the sea route through Burma. Buddhism reached
China in the beginning of the first century A.D. A number of Chinese
pilgrims like Fahien and Hiuen Tsang visited India. On the other
side, hundreds of Buddhist monks like Gunabhadra, Vajrabothi,
Dharmadeva and Dharmagupta visited China. Indian scholars
translated many Sanskrit works at the request of Chinese emperors.
This contact with China continued even in the thirteenth century
when the Mongols established their empire in China. Chinese art
had also been influenced by Indian art.
India and Tibet
Tibet was influenced by India from the seventh century. The
famous Buddhist king Gampo founded the city of Lhasa and
introduced Buddhism. The Tibetan alphabet was devised with the
help of Indian scholars. Later, the Indian scholars helped for the
establishment of Lamaism in Tibet. In the eleventh century the Pala
dynasty of Bengal had close contacts with Tibet. When Bengal was
attacked by the Muslim rulers, many Buddhist
monks sought shelter in Tibet.
India and Sri Lanka
Despite having different political history,
Sri Lanka experienced a great cultural influence
from India. Buddhist missionaries had spread
not only the religious faith but also cultural
traditions. The art of stone carving went to Sri
SIGIRIYA PAINTING 
The spread of Indian culture and civilization to the other parts
of Asia constitutes an important chapter in the history of India. India
had established commercial contacts with other countries from the
earliest times. It had inevitably resulted in the spread of Indian
languages, religions, art and architecture, philosophy, beliefs, customs
and manners. Indian political adventurers even established Hindu
kingdoms in some parts of South East Asia. However, this did not
lead to any kind of colonialism or imperialism in the modern sense.
On the other hand these colonies in the new lands were free from
the control of the mother country. But they were brought under her
cultural influence.
Central Asia
Central Asia was a great centre of Indian culture in the early
centuries of the Christian era. Several monuments have been
unearthed in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Khotan and Kashkar
remained the most important centres of Indian culture. Several
LESSON 14
THE SPREAD OF INDIAN CULTURE IN OTHER
ASIAN COUNTRIES
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The spread of Indian culture in central Asia.
2. Indian cultural influence in China, Tibet and Sri Lanka.
3. Indian cultural influence over the South East Asia.
4. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar.
5. Art and architecture in the countries of South East Asia.
157 156
peninsula. Numerous Sanskrit inscriptions give us a detailed history
of its kings. A number of Hindu literary works like the Vedas, the
Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Panini’s grammar, Hindu
philosophical treatises were all known to the people of Cambodia.
Like the Pallava kings, they were called V armans. Y asovarman
and Suryavarman II were two well-known rulers. Temples were
built in South Indian style. There are plenty of Sanskrit inscriptions.
The most famous of these temples was the temple (wat) of Vishnu
built by Suryavarman II in his capital city Angkor. It was popularly
called as the Angkorwat Temple. It is standing on top of a terraced
structure. Each terrace is a sort of a covered gallery which contains
numerous relief sculptures. The temple is constructed on the
Dravidian style and the sculptures depict episodes from the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Kambhoja kingdom declined
only in fifteenth century.
Champa
Champa or South Annam is situated to the east of Cambodia.
The first Hindu dynasty was established by Sri Mara in the second
century A.D. A number of Sanskrit inscriptions throw light on the
history of Champa. Twelve Indian dynasties ruled over Champa
and by the thirteenth century Champa was annexed to Cambodia.
Under its Hindu rulers the Hindu religion and culture, customs and
manners were introduced in Champa. Saivism and Vaishnavism
flourished. Buddhism also existed side by side. Various works on
Hindu philosophy, grammar, fine arts and astrology were written.
Siam or Thailand
There were several states in Siam following Indian culture.
Thai script was developed with the help of Indian scholars. The
traditional laws of that country were composed on the model of
Dharmasastras. The temples at Bangkok contain many sculptures
depicting the Ramayana.
Lanka from India. In the fifth century, Buddha Ghosha visited Sri
Lanka and consolidated there the Hinayana Buddhism. The famous
paintings of Sigiriya were modeled on the Ajantha paintings.
Indian Culture in South East Asia
Indian culture had extended its mighty influence in the South
East Asian region consisting of the Malay Archipelago and Indo-
China. They are located across the Bay of Bengal. Being fertile and
rich in minerals, these lands attracted the attention of the Indians.
Moreover, the east coast of India is studded with numerous ports
and Indians undertook frequent voyages to these lands. The ancient
traditions refer to traders’ voyages to Suvarnabhumi, (the land of
gold) a name generally given to all the countries of the East Asia.
Indians began to colonize the East Asia in the Gupta period. It was
further encouraged by the Pallavas. The Indian colonists established
great kingdoms and some of them lasted for more than a thousand
years. A number of dynasties with Indian names ruled in various
parts. Till the arrival of Islam in the fifteenth century, Indian culture
dominated this region.
Cambodia (Kambhoja)
Cambodia was colonised by Indians in the first century A.D.
They influenced the
native people called the
Khemers. The ruling
dynasty was known as
Kambojas and their
country was Kamboja
or modern Cambodia.
Under the early rulers
Saivism and
Vaishnavism made steady progress. The Kamboja empire at its
greatest extent included Laos, Siam, part of Burma and the Malay
ANGKORWAT TEMPLE 
159 158
bas-reliefs (small  carved stone figures) illustrating various incidents
in the life of the Buddha. The lower parts are rich in decoration
while the upper portions are plain and unadorned. Borobudur is
described as an epic in stone, the most wonderful Buddhist stupa in
the world.
In the twelfth century, eastern Java with Kadiri as its capital
developed into the leading kingdom of Java. In the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries which marked the golden age of Javanese
culture, Majapahit became the capital of the far-flung Javanese
empire which included the neighbouring islands. Indian art and
literature flourished in Java to an extent unknown elsewhere. Still,
ruins of hundreds of temples and manuscripts based on the Sanskrit
language are found in Java. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata
were popular and even today furnish the theme for their popular
shadow-play. The fall of Majapahit brought to an end all artistic
activity in Java.
Bali
Bali came under the rule of Hindu dynasties as early as the
sixth century. I-Tsing refers to the prevalence of Buddhism there in
the seventh century. The stone and copper plate inscriptions from
that island show that it was colonised directly from India. Later it
became subordinate to Java. Its people continue to be Hindus and
even today we find the prevalence of the caste system there.
Myanmar
The cultural contacts between India and Burma (now
Myanmar) dates back to the period of Asoka, who sent his
missionaries there to preach Buddhism. Many Hindu kingdoms
existed in Burma. Pali and Sanskrit were the languages of Burma till
thirteenth century. Both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism were
followed by the Burmese.
Sumatra and Java
The Malay Archipelago had remained an important link
between India and the Far East. Several Hindu kingdoms existed
here between fifth to fifteenth centuries A.D. The most important
Hindu kingdom in the big island of Sumatra was Sri Vijaya. It was a
great centre of trade and culture in the seventh century. Subsequently,
the Sri Vijaya kingdom developed into a powerful maritime and
commercial power known as the Sailendra empire extending its sway
over the neighbouring islands of Java, Bali, Borneo and over Cam-
bodia. The Sailendra rulers were Mahayana Buddhists and
maintained cordial relations with the Indian kingdoms of the Palas
of Bengal and the Cholas of Tamil Nadu. Rajaraja Chola allowed
the Sailendra king Maravijayottungavarman to build a Buddhist
monastery at Nagapattinam. His son Rajendra conquered the
Sailendra kingdom for sometime. Later they became independent.
The Sailendra empire continued intact till the eleventh century A.D.
A Hindu kingdom was established in Java as early as the fourth
century A.D. In Central Java arose the kingdom of Mataram which
became a strong centre of Hindu religion and culture. It was
conquered by the Sailendras of Sumatra. Till the ninth century Java
continued to be a part of the Sailendra empire. Later it regained its
independence. Java attained greatness and splendour in art under
Sailendra rule.
The greatest monument of Indo-
Java art is the Borobudur which was
built during A.D. 750-850 under the
patronage of the Sailendras. It is
situated on the top of a hill. It consists
of nine successive terraces, crowned
by a bell-shaped stupa at the centre of
the topmost terrace. The open galleries in the terraces contain 2000
BOROBUDUR
MONUMENT
161 160
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. The Chola king who permitted the Sailendras to build
monastery in Nagapattinam
(a) Vijayalaya (b) Rajaraja
(c) Kulottunga (d) Rajendra
2. The Hindu Kingdom in Sumatra Island was
(a) Khamboja (b) Sri Vijaya
(c) Champa (d) Annam
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The city of Lhasa was founded by ……
2. The capital of eastern Java ……
III. Match the following.
1. Angkorwat temple a) Sailendras
2. Borobudur b) Sri Lanka
3. Sigiriya c) South Annam
4. Champa d) Suryavarman II
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Borobudur is the greatest monument of Indo-Java art.
b) Borobudur was a Vashnavite temple.
c) Sailendra rulers were Saivites.
d) The scenes from Ramayana are carved in Borobudur.
Thus for nearly fifteen hundred years Hindu kings were ruling
over numerous islands of the Malay Archipelago and over the Indo-
China peninsula. Indian religions and Indian culture moulded the
lives of the primitive inhabitants of these regions who were elevated
to a higher plan of civilization.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. India’s influence over Central Asia.
2. Cultural contacts between India and China.
3. India and Sri Lanka through the ages.
4. Spread of Indian culture in the Countries of South East
Asia such as Indo-China, Malay Archipelago and
Myanmar.
5. Hindu temples in South East Asia and their architecture.
Page 5


155 154
Sanskrit texts and Buddhist monasteries were found in these places.
Indian cultural influence continued in this region till eighth century.
Indian culture had also spread to Tibet and China through Central
Asia.
India and China
China was influenced both by land route passing through
Central Asia and the sea route through Burma. Buddhism reached
China in the beginning of the first century A.D. A number of Chinese
pilgrims like Fahien and Hiuen Tsang visited India. On the other
side, hundreds of Buddhist monks like Gunabhadra, Vajrabothi,
Dharmadeva and Dharmagupta visited China. Indian scholars
translated many Sanskrit works at the request of Chinese emperors.
This contact with China continued even in the thirteenth century
when the Mongols established their empire in China. Chinese art
had also been influenced by Indian art.
India and Tibet
Tibet was influenced by India from the seventh century. The
famous Buddhist king Gampo founded the city of Lhasa and
introduced Buddhism. The Tibetan alphabet was devised with the
help of Indian scholars. Later, the Indian scholars helped for the
establishment of Lamaism in Tibet. In the eleventh century the Pala
dynasty of Bengal had close contacts with Tibet. When Bengal was
attacked by the Muslim rulers, many Buddhist
monks sought shelter in Tibet.
India and Sri Lanka
Despite having different political history,
Sri Lanka experienced a great cultural influence
from India. Buddhist missionaries had spread
not only the religious faith but also cultural
traditions. The art of stone carving went to Sri
SIGIRIYA PAINTING 
The spread of Indian culture and civilization to the other parts
of Asia constitutes an important chapter in the history of India. India
had established commercial contacts with other countries from the
earliest times. It had inevitably resulted in the spread of Indian
languages, religions, art and architecture, philosophy, beliefs, customs
and manners. Indian political adventurers even established Hindu
kingdoms in some parts of South East Asia. However, this did not
lead to any kind of colonialism or imperialism in the modern sense.
On the other hand these colonies in the new lands were free from
the control of the mother country. But they were brought under her
cultural influence.
Central Asia
Central Asia was a great centre of Indian culture in the early
centuries of the Christian era. Several monuments have been
unearthed in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Khotan and Kashkar
remained the most important centres of Indian culture. Several
LESSON 14
THE SPREAD OF INDIAN CULTURE IN OTHER
ASIAN COUNTRIES
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The spread of Indian culture in central Asia.
2. Indian cultural influence in China, Tibet and Sri Lanka.
3. Indian cultural influence over the South East Asia.
4. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar.
5. Art and architecture in the countries of South East Asia.
157 156
peninsula. Numerous Sanskrit inscriptions give us a detailed history
of its kings. A number of Hindu literary works like the Vedas, the
Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Panini’s grammar, Hindu
philosophical treatises were all known to the people of Cambodia.
Like the Pallava kings, they were called V armans. Y asovarman
and Suryavarman II were two well-known rulers. Temples were
built in South Indian style. There are plenty of Sanskrit inscriptions.
The most famous of these temples was the temple (wat) of Vishnu
built by Suryavarman II in his capital city Angkor. It was popularly
called as the Angkorwat Temple. It is standing on top of a terraced
structure. Each terrace is a sort of a covered gallery which contains
numerous relief sculptures. The temple is constructed on the
Dravidian style and the sculptures depict episodes from the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Kambhoja kingdom declined
only in fifteenth century.
Champa
Champa or South Annam is situated to the east of Cambodia.
The first Hindu dynasty was established by Sri Mara in the second
century A.D. A number of Sanskrit inscriptions throw light on the
history of Champa. Twelve Indian dynasties ruled over Champa
and by the thirteenth century Champa was annexed to Cambodia.
Under its Hindu rulers the Hindu religion and culture, customs and
manners were introduced in Champa. Saivism and Vaishnavism
flourished. Buddhism also existed side by side. Various works on
Hindu philosophy, grammar, fine arts and astrology were written.
Siam or Thailand
There were several states in Siam following Indian culture.
Thai script was developed with the help of Indian scholars. The
traditional laws of that country were composed on the model of
Dharmasastras. The temples at Bangkok contain many sculptures
depicting the Ramayana.
Lanka from India. In the fifth century, Buddha Ghosha visited Sri
Lanka and consolidated there the Hinayana Buddhism. The famous
paintings of Sigiriya were modeled on the Ajantha paintings.
Indian Culture in South East Asia
Indian culture had extended its mighty influence in the South
East Asian region consisting of the Malay Archipelago and Indo-
China. They are located across the Bay of Bengal. Being fertile and
rich in minerals, these lands attracted the attention of the Indians.
Moreover, the east coast of India is studded with numerous ports
and Indians undertook frequent voyages to these lands. The ancient
traditions refer to traders’ voyages to Suvarnabhumi, (the land of
gold) a name generally given to all the countries of the East Asia.
Indians began to colonize the East Asia in the Gupta period. It was
further encouraged by the Pallavas. The Indian colonists established
great kingdoms and some of them lasted for more than a thousand
years. A number of dynasties with Indian names ruled in various
parts. Till the arrival of Islam in the fifteenth century, Indian culture
dominated this region.
Cambodia (Kambhoja)
Cambodia was colonised by Indians in the first century A.D.
They influenced the
native people called the
Khemers. The ruling
dynasty was known as
Kambojas and their
country was Kamboja
or modern Cambodia.
Under the early rulers
Saivism and
Vaishnavism made steady progress. The Kamboja empire at its
greatest extent included Laos, Siam, part of Burma and the Malay
ANGKORWAT TEMPLE 
159 158
bas-reliefs (small  carved stone figures) illustrating various incidents
in the life of the Buddha. The lower parts are rich in decoration
while the upper portions are plain and unadorned. Borobudur is
described as an epic in stone, the most wonderful Buddhist stupa in
the world.
In the twelfth century, eastern Java with Kadiri as its capital
developed into the leading kingdom of Java. In the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries which marked the golden age of Javanese
culture, Majapahit became the capital of the far-flung Javanese
empire which included the neighbouring islands. Indian art and
literature flourished in Java to an extent unknown elsewhere. Still,
ruins of hundreds of temples and manuscripts based on the Sanskrit
language are found in Java. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata
were popular and even today furnish the theme for their popular
shadow-play. The fall of Majapahit brought to an end all artistic
activity in Java.
Bali
Bali came under the rule of Hindu dynasties as early as the
sixth century. I-Tsing refers to the prevalence of Buddhism there in
the seventh century. The stone and copper plate inscriptions from
that island show that it was colonised directly from India. Later it
became subordinate to Java. Its people continue to be Hindus and
even today we find the prevalence of the caste system there.
Myanmar
The cultural contacts between India and Burma (now
Myanmar) dates back to the period of Asoka, who sent his
missionaries there to preach Buddhism. Many Hindu kingdoms
existed in Burma. Pali and Sanskrit were the languages of Burma till
thirteenth century. Both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism were
followed by the Burmese.
Sumatra and Java
The Malay Archipelago had remained an important link
between India and the Far East. Several Hindu kingdoms existed
here between fifth to fifteenth centuries A.D. The most important
Hindu kingdom in the big island of Sumatra was Sri Vijaya. It was a
great centre of trade and culture in the seventh century. Subsequently,
the Sri Vijaya kingdom developed into a powerful maritime and
commercial power known as the Sailendra empire extending its sway
over the neighbouring islands of Java, Bali, Borneo and over Cam-
bodia. The Sailendra rulers were Mahayana Buddhists and
maintained cordial relations with the Indian kingdoms of the Palas
of Bengal and the Cholas of Tamil Nadu. Rajaraja Chola allowed
the Sailendra king Maravijayottungavarman to build a Buddhist
monastery at Nagapattinam. His son Rajendra conquered the
Sailendra kingdom for sometime. Later they became independent.
The Sailendra empire continued intact till the eleventh century A.D.
A Hindu kingdom was established in Java as early as the fourth
century A.D. In Central Java arose the kingdom of Mataram which
became a strong centre of Hindu religion and culture. It was
conquered by the Sailendras of Sumatra. Till the ninth century Java
continued to be a part of the Sailendra empire. Later it regained its
independence. Java attained greatness and splendour in art under
Sailendra rule.
The greatest monument of Indo-
Java art is the Borobudur which was
built during A.D. 750-850 under the
patronage of the Sailendras. It is
situated on the top of a hill. It consists
of nine successive terraces, crowned
by a bell-shaped stupa at the centre of
the topmost terrace. The open galleries in the terraces contain 2000
BOROBUDUR
MONUMENT
161 160
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. The Chola king who permitted the Sailendras to build
monastery in Nagapattinam
(a) Vijayalaya (b) Rajaraja
(c) Kulottunga (d) Rajendra
2. The Hindu Kingdom in Sumatra Island was
(a) Khamboja (b) Sri Vijaya
(c) Champa (d) Annam
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The city of Lhasa was founded by ……
2. The capital of eastern Java ……
III. Match the following.
1. Angkorwat temple a) Sailendras
2. Borobudur b) Sri Lanka
3. Sigiriya c) South Annam
4. Champa d) Suryavarman II
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Borobudur is the greatest monument of Indo-Java art.
b) Borobudur was a Vashnavite temple.
c) Sailendra rulers were Saivites.
d) The scenes from Ramayana are carved in Borobudur.
Thus for nearly fifteen hundred years Hindu kings were ruling
over numerous islands of the Malay Archipelago and over the Indo-
China peninsula. Indian religions and Indian culture moulded the
lives of the primitive inhabitants of these regions who were elevated
to a higher plan of civilization.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. India’s influence over Central Asia.
2. Cultural contacts between India and China.
3. India and Sri Lanka through the ages.
4. Spread of Indian culture in the Countries of South East
Asia such as Indo-China, Malay Archipelago and
Myanmar.
5. Hindu temples in South East Asia and their architecture.
162
V. State whether the following statements are True or
False.
1. The first Hindu dynasty of Champa was established by Sri
Mara.
2. The kingdom of Bali was influenced by Buddhism.
VI. Write short notes (Any three points).
1. Angkorwat
2. Borobudur
3. Cultural contacts between India and Myanmar
4. India and Bali.
VII. Answer briefly (100 words).
1. Trace the cultural contacts between India and China.
2. Write a short note on Indo-Java Art.
VIII. Answer in detail (200 words).
1. Give an account of the spread of Indian culture in South East
Asia.
2. Assess the impact of Indian cultural influence in other parts of
Asia
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