Hey guys, many of you have messaged me about why the Indian Prime Minister Modi has chosen Mahabalipuram to meet the Chinese President Xi Jinping. This meeting is happening today. Mahabalipuram is a very ancient site, and these 2 big powers meeting in this area has sparked a great interest. Why are they meeting here? Because of the history between India and China which spans for more than 2000 years. This area around Mahabalipuram was ruled by a dynasty called the Pallava, and let us take a look at this ancient temple built by Pallavas called Tiruparameswara Vinnagaram.
And here, the walls are adorned with thousands of Hindu Gods and human beings, but here you can find something very strange. A chinese figure. He must be a very important figure, because this is a big size carving and it is flanked by plenty of helpers. He is in a seated position and his moustache is pointing down along with a slim, narrow beard – these are classic features showing that he is chinese. Who is he? And why is he carved in this ancient temple? This is a Chinese traveler by the name of Faxian also known as Fa-Hien in India. He visited India around 400 A.D, yes that is 1600 years ago. And we are looking at this historical carving in this same area – Mahabalipuram, and this temple belongs to same Pallava dynasty . The place where the Indian leader and Chinese leader are meeting now is less than 40 miles from this temple. And Faxian did not come alone, because we can see more carvings of Chinese people carved in the same temple. Here is a thinner chinese figure. You can see that he has a long beard and a pointy moustache. You can see his sharp nose, and he carries a typical chinese umbrella. This is a clear trademark of Chinese travelers. He is shown pointing his finger to a Giant Hindu God. Of course that is a mystery which needs to be solved.
But, there must be a reason why both leaders are specifically meeting in Mahabalipuram. The reason is this. Mahabalipuram area is considered the birthplace of Bodhidharma, which even has a carving of him. Bodhidharma was Pallava prince who renounced his Royal life, and went to China, also around 400 or 500 A.D, about the same time as Faxian. He is considered the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu, and respected as a great philosopher who is widely worshiped in China.
So, who traveled first? Did Indians go to China first? Or did Chinese come to India before them? It appears that Indians went to China first, specifically for spreading Buddhism. Remember, Buddhism was born in India and then gradually spread to a lot of a Asian countries. In fact Buddhism is now much more popular in China than India. Buddhist missionaries from India went to China even 2000 years ago, to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha.
The very first recorded Chinese travelers like Faxian and Xuanzang came to India to learn about the origin of Buddhism, which means Buddhism had already spread far and wide in China before them. But in the last 1500 years, there must have been plenty of trade and commerce going back and forth between China and India. Ancient Hindu temples show a lot of Chinese figures in their carvings. The Indian word ‘Cheeni’ meaning white sugar, clearly shows that it originally came from China. Not only do temples like Brihadeeswara temples show Chinese figures, plenty of Chinese artifacts were found even in palaces of Indian kings from 10th century. And most of these historical and archeological evidences are found in the southernmost state of Tamil Nadu, around the Mahabalipuram area.
So now you know why Mahabalipuram was selected for the meeting between the Indian and Chinese leaders. History just repeats itself and we can expect more trade and commerce to flow between the 2 countries, just like the last 2000 years. China is currently India’s largest trading partner and this will probably continue in the future, just like the past.