Primary Documents in South Asian History
Periodization of Indian and South Asian History 300-1750 AD
- Powerful Regional States after the Fall of the Gupta Empire (ca. 500-1000 CE)
Interactive Map to Cultural and Political Sites in India http://www.learn.columbia.edu/courses/indianart//flash/sea_map.htm
Ghaznavid Invasions and Rise of the Delhi Sultanate and Tughlug Empires and Dynasties (1200-1500 CE)
The Sultanate's central and southern Indian provinces were weaker and strongly resisted by a counter reaction among Hindus and other groups. This included the success of the Vijayanagara Empire that emerged in Southern India 1346 and lasted until the military defeat at Talikota in 1565. The Vijayanagara continued in local power until about 1646.
- Mughal Empire (1500-1750)
Among the earliest of Buddhist monastic complexes are found at the 2nd c. BC Ajanta Caves in India. After the development of spread of Buddhism, and the larger branch of Mahayana Buddhism into China and other parts of Asia, we find texts of traveling Chinese Buddhist monks on pilgrimage to India. Faxian (alternately transliterated as Fa-Hien or Fa-Hsien) ca. 337-422 CE, was a Chinese Buddhist monk, who, between 399 and 414 travelled to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures. The full text is Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. A description of the Buddhist shrine complex of Bodh Gaya is found in this ecerpt from "A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms," There is a Google Map linked itinerary with annotations of Faxian's travels.
The spread of Buddhism along trade routes into China is materially manifest in the Mogao Cave complexes (or caves of the thousand Buddhas) that were constructed between the 4th and 15th centuries. Another important site is the Longmen Caves complex that was begun in 492 AD. The Global Heritage Network provides links to a number of important sites of Buddhist complexes of these early centuries. For a collection of traveling Buddhist monks of a later period see the article by Tansen Sen, "The Travel Records of Chinese Pilgrims, Faxian, Xuanzang, and Yijing," here.
The Silk Road Society has useful links for resources. Another good resource is the University of Miami Silk Road Project.