Silk Road Sites in India was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010: According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The Silk route was a major trading pathway through the first millennium B.C. It connected the kingdom of Kamboja; todays Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to ancient Pratishthana; Paithan on Godavari towards south, cities and cultural centers in north India up to Tamralipti or Tamluk on the eastern sea coast. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“As regard the northern part of India, the northern highway known as Uttarapatha in Gangetic valley was connecting the great cities of ancient India, which were Taxila, Mathura, Ahichhatra, Sravasti, Saketa, Kausambi, Prayaga, Kasi, Kusinagara, Vaisali, Pataliputra, Rajgreha, Bodhagaya and Tamralipti etc. The importance of this sub-continental route in the Mauryan period is evident from the fact that Chandragupta Maurya from Magadh is supposed to have reached the Indus River where he met Seleucus the Greek envoy in 305 B.C.

“Simultaneously another great trade route of India was Dakshinapatha. The term Dakshinapatha occurs in the sense of a trade route to the south. Buddhist literatures also note a number of merchants going from Pataliputra and Kausambi to Pratishthana on the Godavari. The presence of PGW and other ceramic assemblage at a number of sites in the Morena, Ujjain, Malwa Plateau is indicative of cultural elements travelling from Northern India to this region.

“Silk Road was not only a trade route which existed solely for the purpose of trading of silk but many other commodities were also traded which include gold, ivory, spices, exotic animals and plants. No single route was taken, crossing Central Asia, but several different branches developed passing through different settlements on the northern and southern routes of India.”

History of the Silk Road in India

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Archaeological information bearing on the movement on this trade route with the distribution of Painted Grey Ware (PGW) settlements from the end of first millennium B.C. onwards clearly suggests the presence of a broadly common zone cutting across various sub-cultures of the northern section of the Indian sub continent. Among the most important indications the distribution of the deluxe ceramics called the North Black Polished Ware (NBPW) through the archaeological excavations also helps in amplifying the nature of movement along this route. For instance, lapis lazuli coming from central Asia and Afghanistan is found at the sites like- Taxila, Sravasti, Rajghat, Prahladpur Pandu- Rajar-dhibi etc. from the Gandhara- Kamboja region to Tamralipti. The Asokan inscription (3rd C.BC.) found in the northern India (specially Uttarapatha) also help in defining the trade route in Indo-Gangetic divide. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

This region was taken over by Alexander the Great of Macedon, who finally conquered the Iranian empire, and colonized the area in about 330 B.C., superimposing the culture of the Greeks. Although he only ruled the area until 325 B.C., the effect of the Greek invasion was quite considerable. This 'crossroads' region, covering the area to the south of the Hindukush and Karakorum ranges, now Pakistan and Afghanistan, was overrun by a number of different peoples.

Close on the heels of the Parthians came the Yuezhi people from the Northern borders of the Taklamakan and settled in Northern India. Their descendents became the Kushan people, and in the first century A.D. they moved into this crossroads area, bringing their adopted Buddhist religion with them. The Kushan people were the first to show Buddha in human form. Pliny and other contemporary western historians have mentioned the trade commodities of both import and export in Indo-Roman trade besides referring to the trading stations in India.

Romans had first encountered silk in one of their campaigns against the Parthian in 53 B.C. They reputedly learnt that it came from a mysterious tribe in the east, who they came to refer to as the silk people, 'Seres'. The Romans sent their own agents out to explore the route, and to try to obtain silk at a lower price than that set by the Parthians. This explored route is termed as Silk Road. The Indo- Romans trade flourished both through land and sea routes and the Kushans issued gold coins on the Roman standards. Roman coins are discovered in Indian sites.

The most significant commodity carried along this route was not silk, but religion. Buddhism came to China and central Asian countries from India this way, along the northern branch of the route. The first influences came as the passes over the Karakorum were first explored. This was considerably influenced by the Himalayan Massif, an effective barrier between China and India, and hence the Buddhism in China is effectively derived from the Gandhara culture by the bend in the Indus River, rather than directly from India. Buddhism reached the pastures of Tibet at a rather later period, not developing fully until the seventh century.

Notably, the Buddhist faith and the Greco-Buddhist culture started to travel eastward along the Silk Road, penetrating in China from around the 1st century B.C. From the 4th century onward, Chinese pilgrims also started to travel to India, the origin of Buddhism, by themselves in order to get improved access to the original scriptures, with pilgrimage to India (395-414), and later Faxian's/ Xuanzang (629-644). The image of the Buddha, originating during the 1st century in northern India (areas of Gandhara and Mathura) was transmitted progressively through Central Asia and China until it reached Korea in the 4th century and Japan in the 6th century. The Buddhist faith gave birth to a number of different sects in Asia which are still flourishing in Japan.

Silk Road Routes in India

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Initially the route started from Changan, headed up the Gansu corridor and reached Dunhuang on the edge of Taklamakan. The northern route then passed through Yamen Guan, Kumul, Turfan, Kuka and finally arriving Kashgar at the foot of the Pamir. The southern route branched off at Dunhuang passing through Miran, Charkhlik, Cherchen, Niya, Khotan, Karghalik, Yarkand finally turning north again to meet the other route at Kashgar. Another route was branched from Yarkand and it runs through Sheghana, Balkh and onwards. Balkh was also well connected with the Samarkand by a trade route. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“India was well connected with the Silk Road by three probable routes. First route was via Srinagar, Gilgit and Karakoram Range, another was via Purushapur and the last was via Hadda, Kapisa, Bamiyan which finally joins the Silk Road near Balkh. The above mentioned routes were used by the Indians as well as foreign travelers for trade and pilgrimage. Another important route connected to the Silk Road from Uttrapatha via Yunnan and Burma. This route was used for the trade with southwestern China. This is evident by the incident of King Chiang Kein (c. 127 B.C.) who found bamboos and textiles from south western China which were sold in the market of Gandhara. On personal enquiry, he learnt that these goods were brought to eastern India (Bengal) through Yunnan, Burma and then carried all the way from eastern India to Bactria, across India and Afghanistan along the Uttarapatha.” “ The over land routes to Central Asia, and through it to China, were opened for regular trade and commerce purposes following the migrations of the Sakas and Yueh-chih to India and the Imperial Han efforts to establish diplomatic, commercial and cultural links with their western neighbours. Mathura, which was a major trade and commerce center, located on the junction of Uttarapatha and Daksinapatha, was connected with Central Asia and China through a route which passed through Indraprastha (modern Delhi). This route, infact, connected Indraprastha with Taxila, Puskalavati, Purusapura, Kapisa, and Bactria to the Tarim basin where they joined both the branches of the 'Silk-Route' traversing along its southern rim through Kashgar (Sailadesa), Yarkand (Chokkuka) and Khotan (Kustana/Godana, Khotamna) and northern edges through A-k'o-su (Wen-su/Pol-lu-chia, Skt. Bharuka), Ku-chih (Kuchi), Karashahr (Agnidesa). These branches met at Yu-men-kuan or the Jade Gate near Tun-hueng before entering the mainland Chinese. The easier and commercially more popular routes led from Bactria but the ones from Gandhar, Uddiyana, Abhisara and Kasmira, ascended the difficult passes of the Pamir to Tashkurghan on their way to either Kashgar or Yarkand. However, these routes include (a) east through the Wakhan valley;(b) north across the Oxus at Termex either along the Alai valley to Darut Kurghan, "the Sone Tower" of the Silk-Route, and Irkishtam to Kashgar; or (c) continued further north to Merkanda/Carmakhandika (Samarkand) with branches via Ferghana to Kashgar or by a more northerly course via Tashkand and lake Issikkul to A-k'o-su. Out of the routes discussed above, the Alai valley Silk-Route was least formidable. As per the Chinese and Classical sources over land routes to China were in existence from Eastern India, especially from Pataliputra - one by way of Assam and Burma and the other via Sikkim and Tibet.

Indraprastha (Old Fort) in Delhi

Indraprastha (Old Fort) is in present-day Delhi. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Significantly, until the beginning of 12th century, the village named Indapat, obviously derived from Indraprastha of Mahabharata fame, lay within Purana Qila itself. According to popular tradition, the present place - names Bagpat, Tilpat, Sonipat and Panipat are four of five pats or places demanded by Pandavas from the Kauravas and it is significant that all these places have yielded Painted Grey Ware associated with Mahabharata sites which have emerged after the excavations as Hastinapur in the 1950s. The site of Indraprastha ( Purana Qila or old Fort) was excavated from 1969 to 1973 and yielded continued cultural sequence from 4th century B.C. to late medieval period. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

It is beyond any doubt that Indraprastha (modern Delhi) enjoyed strategic geographical position and network of movements, situated on the western periphery of the Gangetic plain, almost on the cross-roads of the principal geo-political and cultural divisions of India. The township was located on the main communication artery leading to the gateway to the rich regions of Gangetic plain and central and southern India as well as to the western sea front. The ethnic migrations from the northwest and their further movements to central, western and southern regions of India could be possible only through the main route on which Indraprastha was sitting. It was well connected with Uttara-patha (northern or northwestern highway) and the Dakshinapatha (southern highway): There is no point in going into detail that the invaders from the northwest, the Indo-Greeks, Sakas, and Kushanas infiltered deep unto eastern, central, western and southern regions of the country mainly through the land route which touched Indraprastha. This route was also used by the traders, pilgrims and missionaries.

“Though the name Indraprastha survives in the later Purana Qila and Tantric works. It's importance seems to have declined roughly about the Gupta period. This is perhaps why we do not find mention of Indraprastha in the Travel Accounts of Chinese traveller Huen Tsang. Even Harsha, who could have chosen Indraprastha for the capital preferred to move from Thaneshwar to Kannauj. This is also perhaps why in the late Jaina Pattavalis and early medieval inscriptions instead of Indraprastha, we find Yognipura mentioned. Yet, Indraprastha was still remembered in the seventeenth and eighteenth century text of the Savtisangam Tantras as one of the five divisions of India, from the Tantric point of view. The discovery of inscription on an outcrop of the Aravallis to the south of Srinivasapuri almost in alignment with other ancient sites in the vicinity stretching from Indraprastha (Purana Qila) to Tilpat - all of them situated on the banks of the Yamuna, suggests the existence of a highway in the pre-Christian era.”

Harwan in Kashmir

Harwan (20 kilometers northeast of Srinagar in Kashmir) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 . According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The archeological site of Harwan was a thriving and a prosperous Buddhist settlement in the early centuries of Christian era. The complex of Harwan consists of a monastery for the monks, prayer hall or Chaitya, and a Stupa dated to fourth or fifth century A.D. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“The most important feature of the site of great archaeological value is the terracotta or baked clay titles, which embellished the Chaitya or Buddhist temple. It is an apsidal Chaitya or horseshoe arched temple in diaper pebble style with a tiled courtyard as circumambulatory passage. These Harwan terracotta floor covering have unique place in the plastic art of India represented beautifully in the Kashmir valley for the first time. The tiles in backed clay are 18'x12'' long and moulded with floral, geometrical, human and animal designs. They reflect a colorful and pulsating life style of the contemporary society.

“Some tiles have dancing girls, and musician beating the drums lovers chatting on the balconies a favorite theme depicted on them. There are rams and cocks fighting, geese running, ducks and pheasants within a floral pattern. The geometric design consists of wary lines, frets and fish bone patterns lotus and aquatic plants and various types of flowers adequately represented. The site represents a unique tradition of Kashmir which was connected with the Silk Road in its architecture and art, particularly in the decorated patterns of terracotta tile-pavements in the apsidal stupa which became a symbol of the art of Kashmir.

Nala Sopara: Near Mumbai (Bombay)

Nala Sopara (30 kilometers north of Mumbai) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The site represents a Buddhist settlement which came up around the trading mart or maritime silk route. The cultural center developed on the sea coast at a safer and secured place where Buddhist relics were enshrined in a mahastupa. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“Nala Sopara finds mention in the Mahabharata (1400 B.C.) as a very holy place that the Pandavas rested enroute from Gokarn in north Kanara to Prabha or Verval in Kathiawad and was also an important and one of the oldest ports and ship building yards. Also known as or Shurparaka, it was also an important province and a cultural center in the Satavahana period. One of the first Buddhist centers in western India, the remnants of its original antiquity survive over here in the form of Stupa which has yielded Buddhist relics in excavation and inscriptions belonging to Maurya period, and archival records mention a rich and architectural vibrant town with fine details. The most significant monuments of this region are the Buddhist stupa or relic mound about a quarter mile west of Sopara town.

“It was an important holy city and trade point in Aparanta (Ancient name of Konkan) from 250 B.C. to A.D. 1500A.D.This is evidenced by the different religious Buddhist, Jain and Brahminical old literature classical literature of Greek and Rome and also by the epigraphical records. It was an important Buddhist center on the west coast where Buddha himself is said to have visited. Sopara remained the place for cultural evolution of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in different periods.”

Arikamedu: Ancient Roman Site in India

Arikamedu, Early Historic Site (Pondocherry)was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 . According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Arikamedu is one of the biggest ancient Roman trade centers in India (appro-34 acres). Unlike many other Roman trade centers including those on India's Malabar coast, Arikamedu has been properly identified and is to a large extent, well-documented. The site of Arikamedu enjoys the distinction of being the first site in the whole of India to provide evidence, through archaeological digs, for the export of variety of Indian objects, viz Glass beads, Shell, Terracotta objects, besides Muslin cloths . Most of the other roman trade sites of India have been dated on the basis of the chronology of Arikamedu. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“Identification of Arikamedu with Poduke emporium mentioned in the Periplus maris Erythraei is accepted by historians, as the excavation at Arikamedu yielded all the features of Port town. .The literary records also makes its clear that Indo-Roman trade remained brisk until long after the middle of the first century A.D through sea.

“Among all the Roman trade sites in India, Arikamedu has yielded the largest number of Mediterranean amphora jars,terra sigillata and Rouletted ware. Arikamedu is the only site in India that has yielded pottery with inscriptions in atleast four different languages-Prakrit, Tamil, Old Sinhalese and Latin.

Kushinagar, Where The Buddha Died

Kushinagar (50 kilometers south of the Nepal border, 35 kilometers east of Gorakhpur and 165 kilometers northwest of Patna) is where tradition says The Buddha, lying on a bed under two trees, died between 486-483 B.C. When he died, his body was cremated, as was customary in India. Traditional accounts relate that he died at the age of eighty after ingesting a tainted piece of either mushroom or pork. His remains were distributed among groups of his followers. These holy relics were enshrined in large hemispherical burial mounds, a number of which became important pilgrimage sites. In Kushinagar there is a gilded statue that commemorates the spot where Buddha is said to have died. A brick monument has been built in a field to mark the spot where he was cremated. reports: “In his eightieth year the Buddha and a group of monks arrived in this small place. Ananda described it as 'a wattle and daub town'. Exhausted and sick the Buddha was unable to go on and he laid down to rest between two sal trees. His final hours and the events that filled it are movingly described in the last part of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. which you will find in the Long Discourses. The Nirvana Temple and stupa later built over the site of the parinivana as well as the ruins of several monasteries are set in attractive and well maintained gardens. The tall slender trees on the right of the path as you enter are sal trees. A little further down the road is the ruins of the stupa marking the place where the Buddha's body was cremated. A new museum had recently been built in Kusinara but it has a very modest collection of exhibits.

Kushinagara was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 . According to a report submitted to UNESCO:“The Monuments of Kushinagara are situated in three distinct groups: 1) The main site, comprising the Main Stupa and Nirvana temple with the other surrounding monuments, 2) the Shrine called Matha-Kuar to its south-west and 3) the Cremation Stupa (Rambhar). The Main Site comprising the Main Stupa which is a huge mass of brick work inclusive of its pinnacles may once have reached the height of nearly 45.72m. The plinth on which the Stupa and the temple were erected was 2.74 mtr. higher than the ground level. Above it stood the cylindrical neck of the Stupa to a height of 5.49m fringed along its top with the remnants of a row of decorative and miniature pilasters. The Nirvana Temple stands on the same plinth as the stupa behind it. A reclining Nirvana Statue lies inside the temple. The statue measures 6.1m in length and is executed out of one block of sandstone. This statue had originally been installed in the fifth century A.D. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]


Sravasti (100 kilometers northeast of Lucknow, west of Lumbini, in India near the Nepal border) is the Place of the Twin Miracle, where The Buddha emitted flames and water from his body, and a place where Buddha spent the largest amount of time, being a major city in ancient India during his time. The Buddha gave some famous sermons in Jetavana Grove.

Sravasti was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 .According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The ancient city of Sravasti, which is now represented by groups of remains known as Saheth-Maheth together with adjacent sites- Orajhar, Panahiajhar and Kharahuwanjhar is located in the newly created district of Sravasti while a portion of it falls in district Balrampur U.P.

“The earliest references of the city are available in Ramayana and Mahabharata as a prosperous city in the kingdom of Kosala. Panini in his Astadhyayi makes a mention of Kosala while Pali Budhist literature also makes numerous references to Kosala, its history and society. In the Puranas, it is described as the capital of North Kosala. It is said to have derived its name from a legendary king Srvasta of solar race who is stated to have founded the city. In later times, it was also known as 'Chandrikapuri' and 'Champakpuri'. It is referred to as 'Sravasti' by Kalidasa. Anguttara Nikaya mentions Kosala as one of the sixteen great Janapadas. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]


Vaishali (40 kilometers north of Patna) is site of several legends regarded the Buddha. It is said to have been the place where The Buddha received an offering of honey from a monkey and where the beautiful courtesan Amrapail, gave him a gift of a mango grove. Vaishali was the capital of the Vajjian Republic of ancient India. Vaishali was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 .

Reputed to be the first democratically elected republic in the world, Vaishali is an archaeological site spanning a thousand years over four periods beginning from 500 B.C., as evidenced by a huge collection of terracotta objects, coins, seals, shrines and stupas. The most important tourist attraction in Vaishali is Kolhua, where you can find a huge iron pillar, believed to have been constructed by emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty. Located right next to a brick stupa, the pillar was raised to commemorate Lord Buddha's sermon here.

There is a ruined a monastery, where, it is said, Lord Buddha used to reside. The Vaishali Museumdisplays a wide range of artefacts that were discovered at various archaeological sites in Vaishali. Right next to the museum, a circular tin shed covers the remains of the stupa, which is believed to have once housed the ashes of Lord Buddha. A major highlight near the museum is the coronation tank of the Licchavi rulers known as Abhishek Pushkarani.

Vikramshila Ancient University

Remains of Vikramshila Ancient University (in Bhagalpur, 150 kilometers east of Patna) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 . Vikramshila University was an ancient Indian university. It is located in Bhagalpur, which also is famous for its silk.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Vikramshila was a famous seat of learning. It flourished from the last quarter of the A.D. 8th Century to the beginning of the 13th Century A.D. In the beginning it was a prime center of science, philosophical and religious discussion and after sometimes. Vikramshila was developed into a university. The celebrated university was founded by Pala King Dharmapala in late 8th or early 9th Century A.D. It prospered for about four centuries before it collapsed in the beginning of 13th Century A.D. Vikramshila was one of the largest Buddhist University having more than one hundred teachers and about one thousand students. It produced eminent scholars who were of often invited by foreign countries to spread Buddhist learning, culture and religion and the most distinguished and eminent was Atisa Dipankara, the founder of Lamaism in Tibet in 11th Century A.D. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“Meticulous excavation has revealed a huge square monastery with a cruciform stupa in its center, a library building and cluster of votive stupas. To the north of monastery a number of scattered structures including a Tibetan and a Hindu temple have been found. The monastery or residence for the Buddhist monks is a huge square structure, each side measuring 330 meters having a series of 208 cells, 52 on each of the four side. The entire spread is over an area of more than hundred acres. On the walls are decorated with mouldings and terracotta plaques which testify the high excellence of terracotta art of flouring in the region during Pala period (8th-12th Century A.D.). Over the plaques are depicted many Buddhist, Brahminical deities and human figures and animal and birds are also depicted. A rectangular structure identified as library building was air conditioned by cooled water of the adjoining reservoir through a range of vents in the back wall.


Kaushambi was carved from the city of Allahabad in 1997 but has a history that stretches back much further than that. It was mentioned in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata but was once a popular center for Buddhist learnings as well. In fact, during the time of Lord Buddha, Kaushambi was one of the six important and flourishing towns in India. It played host to Lord Buddha twice when he came to deliver discourses.The texts of the Puranas, however, narrate a different story. According to that, Nicaksu, a ruler of the Bharata kingdom, transferred his capital from Hastinapur to Kaushambi after the former was washed away in a flood. An old fort, an Ashokan pillar, large number of figurines, cast coins, terracotta objects, sculptures and a grand monastery were unearthed here during excavation that reflect its rich history.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Kaushambi, the capital of Vatsa, with Udayana as the king, was one of the six important cities of northern India in the time of Buddha. It was mainly through the efforts of the three leading bankers of the city- Ghoshita, Kukkuta and Pavarika- that the religion found a strong footing here. On one occasion when Buddha was staying at Jetavana, these three merchants went in a body to invite Buddha to their place. When Buddha agreed, each of them built a retreat to receive him with his following. Thus came into existence Ghoshitarama, Kukkutarama and Pavarikambavana (Pavarika's mango grove). A fourth lodging in or in the vicinity of Kaushambi was the Badarikarama, while a fifth, a vihara, was erected by Uttara, a wood-carver of Udayana. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“The king, at first hostile towards the new religion, became later friendly towards Buddha at the instance of one of his queens, Samavati, a foster-daughter of Ghoshita and a lay devotee of Buddha. His son Bodhi was a firm believer in the faith. Asoka is credited by Hiuen Tsang with the construction of a stūpa inside the Ghoshitarama and a second near the Dragon's cave in the neighbourhood of Kaushambi. In the third year of the reign of Kanishka, Buddhamitrā, a nun and a disciple of the monk Bala, installed images of Bodhisattva of the Mathura workshop at this place.


Kaveripattinam (75 kilometers southeast of Bangalore) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Silk Road Sites in India in 2010 . According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The town now existing at Kaveripattinam was once a busy trade and commerce center from Pre-Sangam period to medieval times. The excavation revealed evidences of continuous levels from Pre-sangam period to Vijayangara period as evidenced from the structures which include Wharf at Kiliyur dated to 1st-2nd c.A.D, Inlet sluice at Vanagiri dated to 2nd-3rd c.A.D and Buddhist vihara and temple dated to 5th-6th c.A.D and antiquities like Buddhapadha of early historic period and the coins of Chola, Vijayanagar and Setupati dynasties. This evidence exhibits an important development in the life cycle and culture of the port city, over a span of time human values, over a span of time, within a cultural area. [Source: Archaeological Survey of India]

“The excavated structure of Buddha Vihara , temple site at Pallavanesarm and antiquities like bronze Buddha and lime Buddha pada are, confirm that Buddhism was prevailing during Early historic period in Kaveripattinam and it was also patronized by Kings. The discovery of a Buddhist monastery confirmed the literary evidence found in the Tamil epics - Silappatikaram and Manimekhalai which records that Kaveripattinam was a center of Buddhist faith. The creation of structures of brick, stucco, tile and wood as a regular feature in the Sangam period finds an echo in the brick Buddhist temple found at Pallavanesvaram. The numerous terracotta of the Saiva and Vaishnava faith found at the Vellayaniruppu site show rise of worship of Saivism and Vaishnavism. This place was a reflection of the cultural and cult environment recorded in the twin epics - the Silappathikaram and Manimekhalai.

“The excavated structures at Kaveripattinam reveal that the highest technology of construction adapted during Chola period. This is evidenced from the rectangular or 'L' shaped as well as the small square voids in the foundation, together with the large central squarish void, at Buddhist Vihara which would seem to suggest that the structure stood in more than one storey height and perhaps the shrine was erected by a astylar corbelling principle with staircases suggested by 'L' shaped voids leading to the upper floor from all the three sides except the east. The construction of wharf with two stages and inlet sluice with an inlet drop into the depressed land, the sluice also had a discharge channel including widening curved mouth and a drip course of bricks to prevent erosion also are witness to the technological development of building activity of early period.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: India tourism website (, India’s Ministry of Tourism and other government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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