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Rediscovering the ancient Chinese traveler


Xuanzang arrived in Taxila, having crossed a river with “venomous dragons and evil animals”. There he visited an important Buddhist monastery of the Sautrantika school. From there, after traveling some 2200 li, he crossed the country of Simhapura (Kalabagh), Urasa (now Hazara), then Kashmir

It was in 631 that he reached Kashmir and was received by the king, Durlabhavardhana of the local Karkota dynasty at the Buddhist monastery of Ushkar, now Baramullah. He traveled almost all the Buddhist monasteries in this land and recorded in his travel notes about 100 monasteries with 5,000,000 monks. Jayendra vihara was the most important vihar and it is widely believed that it is in this vihar that this Chinese traveler spent most of his time. The identity of this site is unclear, some identify the remains of Ushkar site with Jajendra vihara, while others are unsure and say it was located somewhere in Srinagar, either Zaindar Mohallah or Reyazet Taing Raniwari. He spent his time in Ushkr or Srinager doesn’t matter, but what is interesting is his travelogue and historical description of this land, which needs to be explored. In his travelogue, while describing this land in one place, he writes;