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==Goddess-worship (c.600 on), as the Met notes: "The rise of the shakti cult in the east introduces worship of the female principle to Indian religions. The cult is thought to derive from ancient mother-goddesses and is closely associated with devotion to Shiva. The glory of the goddess is first extolled in text in the "Devimahatmaya," a portion of the "Markandeya Purana" (5th-7th c.)." An excellent presentation on the cult of the Goddess: *Sackler Gallery*.
==Harshavardhana of Kanauj (r.c.606-47) builds a large kingdom that eventually includes most of northern and eastern India, until he is defeated by the Chalukyas in Malwa (Central India). Renowned for his patronage of Buddhism and scholarship, Harsha is also a Sanskrit poet himself. Under his protection, Nalanda becomes an internationally known center for Buddhist travelers and monks. He inspires the "Harsha-charita," a laudatory Sanskrit work by Bana: *MSSU*.
==Harsha and Tai-Tsung get along extremely well (641): Harsha sends an envoy to the Chinese emperor Tai-tsung (4.626-49) (*silk road*), and establishes the first diplomatic relations between India and China. Thereafter, Tai-tsung sends ambassadors to Harsha's court on at least two occasions, in 643 and 647. The second time, the ambassador, Wang Hsuan-tse, finds Harsha dead and the kingdom in the hands of the unpopular Arunashva. He gathers reinforcements in Tibet, Nepal, and Assam, captures Arunashva, and carries him off to China, where Arunashva is detained at the Tang court till his death. 
==Hsuan Tsang and his travels (627-43): The Chinese Buddhist scholar Hsuan Tsang (Xuan Zang) travels through India, seeking Buddhist manuscripts to take home and translate into Chinese. He is welcomed by Harsha, and most of what we know about Harsha comes from him. He studies at Taxila, and also spends much time at Nalanda. When he returns to China with over 600 Sanskrit manuscripts, he writes an account of his travels,"Record of Western Lands," an invaluable source of information about South and Central Asia (*wiki*).
==Barlaam and Joasaph (c.630?): A collection of European folk fables translated from the Greek, this text is apparently based on versions of the Jatakas (*IGNCA*), the stories of the Buddha's earlier births. "Joasaph" is probably a rendering of "Bodhisattva": one translation: *Univ. of California*; another version: *sacred texts*; see also *Project Gutenberg*.
==The first coins of Muslim rulers (c.652-60): As Islam (*Univ. of Georgia*) develops from the 7th century onwards, the Arabs in the coastal South Asian trading communities tend to be Muslims. As early as the 8th century, there are references to trading communities of Muslim Arabs as far east as the Bay of Bengal, and as far south as Sri Lanka.
==Mamallapuram (c.630-728), also called "Mahabalipuram," is founded by the Pallavas, who rule in Kanchipuram (itself a temple center: *DSAL*;  *Berger*), in order to commemorate their defeat of the Chalukyas. As a seaport town, Mamallapuram plays an important role in transmitting Indian culture to Southeast Asia. It is also known for its unique and spectacular bas-relief sculptures and the "Shore Temples." Images: *DSAL*; *Berger*; discussion: *art and archaeology*. [*Routes*]
==Aihole, in Bijapur, Karnataka (c.634-800's): Aihole offers a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu temples of all types that keeps getting richer over several centuries, with the best ones from the early Chalukya period and later. Images: *DSAL*; *Berger*. Discussion: *art and archaeology*; *India Nest*.
==Ellora (c.650-800). Rock-cut temples dedicated to Shiva are built at Ellora and Aurangabad in Maharashtra; they become the high points of a site that is full of Buddhist and Jain rock-cut temples as well. Images: *DSAL*; *Berger*. Ellora marks the supreme level of achievement of early medieval rock-cut temples. Discussion: *art and archaeology*. [*Routes*].
==Tamil literature flourishes (especially c.600–700): Tamil poetry, music, and art flourish, and the classic Tamil epic poems "Shilappadikaram" and "Manimekalai" are composed (*wiki*).

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