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CONTACTS WITH SOUTH-EAST ASIA : ADDITIONAL NOTES

SOURCES :

(1) LITERARY EVIDENCE:

(A) Chinese records refer to an Indian belonging to Kaundinya gotra - corroborated by later iscriptions - some of the Chinese sources are in the form of narration of diplomatic missions, or cultural literature.

(B) INDIAN LITERATURES : Jataka stories talk of golden lands and islands (Suwaranadeep and Suwaranbhumi) - the Ramayana mentions Java and Sumatra - the Kathasaritasagara talks of ships sailings to the port of Kataha or modern keda in Malaysia.

(C) WESTERN LITERATURE : (Ptolemy of the second century talks of brisk trade - refers to the direct route from Ganjam to Malaysia. This route to Malaysia is confirmed by recent reseaches.

(2) WESTERN EVIDENCE : This constitutes the earliest material evidence - B uddhist imagef rom the school of Amaravati - later in Thailand , combodia, Annam, Sumatra, Java and Celebes.

(3) EPIGRAPHIC EVIDENCE : The oldest Vo-Canh inscription on the Vietnamese coast (third century A.D.) referring to one king Srimara -Sanskrit inscriptions form the 5th century found in Borneo - Borneo inscriptions talk of evidence sacrifices and the cult of Shiva while the oc-eo inscriptions talk of trade relations inscription in south Vietnam and excavations at Oc-eo in modern Combodia - from the 7th century, epigraphicall sources became more numerous (Borneo, Java Sumatra, Malayan Peninsula and Indo-China Peninsula) - Combodia has more than 1,000 inscriptions both in Sanskrit and Khmer language.

(4) ARCHEOLOGICAL SOURCES : The Khmer remains the marvelous the city of Oc-eo was the nucleus of the later Khmer kingdom. The two Khmer temples are Angkor Vat and Beyon - close to modern Jakarta is Baraboudur wherein we have got a Buddha temple.

(5) SIGNIFICANCE : The history of South East Asia lets in a fresh breeze into the repetitive revents of ancient Indian like rise and fall of empires, foreign invascions weak successors and so on. By the end of the fifth century, Mekong Valley, Malaya peninsula and the Indonesian islands were dotted with Hindu principalities. Particularly the kingdom of Funan attained eminence.

South-East Asian history bearn witness to the youthful vigour of Indian civilizations, primarily the pioneerings and adventurous zeal of Indians in the swamps and jungles of the East, Commercial zeal of merchant class, and exceptional missionary zeal of Hindus. Probably Hindus were great navigators as borne out bythe Agastya lenged.

Political expansion of south-East Asia was motivated partly by a desire on the part of the enterprising princes driven by misfortune to find new homes and kingdoms for themselves are partly to spread Indian culture. A few adventurous men like kaundinya settled down in the kingdoms explored by them, where they were accepted by the local population as their rulers. Also the march of Indian culture in south-East Asia was the outcome of the thirst for reaching the eastern El Dorado-kanakapuri -the land of gold. Merchants and adventures or banished princes, seeking to try their luck in the unknown land, embarked either at the ports of Tamralipti and Paloura or took the land route through dense forests and mountains noticed a Chinese traveler and also mentioned in Burmese chronicles.

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