History and Sources

Were there ever Hindu kingdoms outside of India?

Hindu kingdoms, mostly Shaivite in orientation, had significant influence on parts of southeast Asia, giving rise to the names Indo-China and Indonesia. The kingdom of Champa held sway over most of Vietnam from 150 to 1471 C.E., while several other dynasties arose in Cambodia in the second century and expanded their control over Laos and Thailand from 800 to 1200 C.E. During that same period, Hindu monarchies took root in Java and Sumatra, the principal islands of Indonesia, as well as in Malaysia. For nearly two centuries, Hinduism was a major influence throughout Indonesia, until its political patrons succumbed to Muslim invasions in the early sixteenth century.

The remnants of the southeast Asian Hindu kingdoms took refuge on the island of Bali, where many still practice Hinduism.

Date Event
5500-2500 B.C.E. Growth of civilization in the Indus Valley
1700-1100 B.C.E. Composition of the Vedic Samhitas
900-500 B.C.E. Composition of later parts of the Samhitas, of the Brahmanas and early Upanishads
500-200 B.C.E. Epic poems: Mahabharata (Bhagavad Gita), Ramayana
327-325 B.C.E. Alexander the Great invades India
322 B.C.E. Chandragupta founds Mauryan Empire
100-100 C.E. Rise of bhakti literature
300-600 C.E. Composition of some Puranas in their present form
647 C.E. Fall of Gupta Empire
680 C.E. Flourishing of Tamil bhakti movement
788-820 C.E. Shankara, theology of non-duality (advaita)
1017-1138 C.E. Ramanuja, theology of qualified non-duality (vishisht-advaita)
1175 C.E. First Muslim empire in India
1486-1533 C.E. Chaitanya, saint of Krishna-bhakti
1498 C.E. Vasco da Gama visits India
1526 C.E. Rise of Muslim Mughal Dynasty
1653 C.E. Taj Mahal completed by Mughal Shah Jahan
1657 C.E. Muslim Dara Shikoh translates Upanishads into Persian
1690 C.E. British found Calcutta, East India Company
1707 C.E. Mughal power into decline
1836-1886 C.E. Ramakrishna, “All religions can lead to God” realization
1857 C.E. British put down rebellion, inaugurate British Raj
1869-1948 C.E. Mohandas Karmachand “Mahatma” Gandhi
1885 C.E. Indian National Congress
1947 C.E. Indian Independence, partition of West and East Pakistan
1971 C.E. Separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan, both Muslim states

Champa kingdom ruins in Vietnam showing linga-yoni in foreground, indicating that the complex was dedicated to Shiva.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App