India affected other countries through Asia with the spread of Hinduism, the influential religion practiced in India. The earliest signs of the Hindu religion in Southeast Asia are seen in Borneo.Continue Reading
In Borneo, fourth-century Sanskrit inscriptions were found that describe the Vedic sacrifices made by the local chiefs. The form of Hinduism that made its way to Southeast Asia was known as Shaivism, though it was not the only form of Hinduism to cross into Asia.
It is unknown how the spread of Hinduism happened, but it seems it was either through the slow immigration and settlement of people from India or through the visits to India that many Asians made. What is known is that the Asian people started to adopt the Hindu teachings, texts, rituals, social organization and even the Hindu architectural styles.
Many 20th and 21st century scholars argue about the true influence of Hinduism on Southeast Asia, because although many temples and iconography are there, other religious temples and iconography exist as well. These scholars argue that the influence was limited to the social elite and ruling classes, because they were the ones with direct access to the influential great leaders of India. Royalty and divine beliefs were interconnected in Asian societies.Learn more about Modern Asia