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Passages to India: Saka and Kusana migrations in historical contexts

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Chapter Summary

During middle of the second century B.C, groups of Śakas and Kuṣāṇas began to migrate from different areas of Central Asia to the frontiers of South Asia. A synthesis of literary references, historical inscriptions, and archaeological material helps to trace their paths to India between the second century B.C. to second century A.D. Stray finds, petroglyphs, and graffiti inscriptions from the Upper Indus region of the Northern Areas of Pakistan illuminate early migration patterns and interactions between Central Asian, Iranian, Indian, and indigenous peoples. The cultural impact and religious patronage of the foreign migrants to South Asia stimulated the transmission of Buddhism along many of the same routes beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and China.

Keywords: Bactria; Gandhāra; Kuṣāṇas; migration routes; Sakas; second century B.C.



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