A 1,700 year old Chinese connection!

A 1,700 year old Chinese connection!

Mamallapuram Was A Gateway For Trade With China, The Monk Bodhidharma Set Sail For China From The Ancient Port Town

Tipped to host the proposed second edition of the India-China informal summit between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mamallapuram has had historical defence and trade ties with China that are more than 1,700 years old.

The ancient port town, 50 km south of Chennai, had a defence pact between Pallavas and the Chinese that was aimed at securing Chinese territory from Tibet. Mamallapuram also flourished as a massive business hub on the Bay of Bengal transforming into a gateway for exports and imports from China to Tamil Nadu for eight centuries till 1,000 years ago.

“The agreement between Chinese rulers and Pallava king Narasimhavarman II during the early 8th century was the first strategic pact on security between the two kingdoms. Chinese declared him as the general of South China to take on Tibet as the latter had emerged a strong power and a threat to China,” said Kayal Barabhavan, author of ‘Bodi Dharma’, a four-part Tamil novel based on the Pallava dynasty.

Barabhavan said references to trade and defence links between two dynasties found a place in the book on the history of South India by K A Nilakanta Sastri. “Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, an icon in China, was the third prince of a Pallava king. He travelled from Kancheepuram through Mamallapuram to China in 527AD and became the 28th patriarch of Buddhism succeeding Prajnatara,” he said.

The tourism industry has been stressing on a tourism circuit centred on Bodhidharma. “It will attract numerous Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists to Tamil Nadu,” said TN Tour Travel and Hospitality Association president V K T Balan.

Historians said the Chinese ties that were expanded by Pallavas continued till the Chola period, though the latter chose ports in Nagapattinam and Tanjore for trade. Archaeologist and secretary of Madurai-based Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research C Santhalingam said Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Kancheepuram in 7th century.

The ancient trade centre is battling a range of woes today — from civic amenities to infrastructure. South India Hotels and Restaurants Association honorary secretary T Nataraajan said promoting tourism was a challenge. “Due to the atomic power station at Kalapakkam, water sports activities are banned. Sea erosion is eating into sand dunes that disappear for two months every year,” he said. Stone carving has taken a hit. V Balasundaram, a master sculptor, said the art was on the wane. “Youngsters are no more showing interest. There is shortage for manpower,” he said.

Courtesy : TOI, Chennai


Leave a Reply / உங்களது கருத்தை பதியுங்கள்: