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Mṛgaśikhāvana, near to Nalanda in Northern India, was the site of a Buddhist temple built for Chinese pilgrims by Sri Gupta, the first monarch of the Gupta Empire. Evidence for the temple's existence comes from the account written by the Chinese monk Yijing (I-tsing) around 690 CE, who said that Śri Gupta endowed it with the revenue from 40 villages.[1]

Historian A.K. Narain (1983) noted that contemporary scholarship is unaware of Śri Gupta's religious affiliation, due to the lack of surviving evidence. Narain suggested that because he constructed a temple for Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Sri Gupta might have been a Buddhist himself, or a member of the Hindu sect of Vaishnavism who was tolerant of Buddhist activity in his kingdom.[1] This latter scenario would have been comparable with the later Gupta monarchs, who were predominantly Vaishnavites, but under whose regimes heterodox religious movements such as Buddhism and Jainism were allowed to flourish.[2]



  1. ^ a b Narain 1983, p. 35.
  2. ^ Narain 1983, p. 44.


  • Narain, A. K. (1983). "Religious Policy and Toleration in Ancient India with Particular Reference to the Gupta Age". In Smith, Bardwell L. Essays on Gupta culture (1 ed.). Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books. pp. 17–52. ISBN 9780836408713.