Nestled in the heart of Quanzhou, Chindian emerges as a treasure trove of Hindu heritage, with its Xingji Pavilion showcasing stone carvings dating back to the Song and Yuan dynasties. Thought to be the remnants of a thriving Indian community during that era, Chindian holds unique artifacts, including sculptures of Hindu deities like Shiva and Narasimha.

Wang Liming, Vice-Director of the Quanzhou Maritime Museum, has been diligently unravelling the mysteries of Chindian's cultural past. The maritime museum houses an exceptional collection, featuring stone engravings of elephants garlanding Shiva lingams, exquisite Vishnu statues, and well-preserved temple pillars reminiscent of South Indian architecture. The ancient relics, forgotten in the annals of history, offer insights into a prosperous Indian community that once thrived in Quanzhou.

Despite the challenges faced by Chindian, its villagers have valiantly preserved this rich heritage, possibly making it the last surviving Hindu shrine of its kind in China. The village's historical significance is underscored by the efforts of locals to safeguard the deity, even as the wave of urbanization transforms the surrounding areas.

As Wang Liming embarks on further research, supported by renewed interest and funds from China's "Maritime Silk Road" initiative, the enigma of Quanzhou's Hindu past beckons collaboration with Indian scholars. Unanswered questions about the origin, craftsmanship, and symbolism of these artifacts add an air of mystery to this unique chapter in China's cultural customs and traditions.

Source / Image Credit: India Today , TheJuggerNaut