Posted on October 11, 2019, 1:43 PM IST
PM Modi had made it clear to his administration that the second informal Chinese summit must be held far away from Delhi. Since President Xi Jinping takes special interest in historic monuments and culture, Mamallapuram seems to be the natural fit. The sleepy coastal city in Tamil Nadu has a specific connection with China, a historical city dating back to 1,200-1,300 years. During the age of Pallava dynasty, Mamallapuram or popularly known as Mahabalipuram was one of the chief trading ports in South India connecting with China. Many articles including pottery have been found in Mamallapuram and the neighbouring areas establishing close trade relation with the Chinese.
A legend also rules this city, it is about a Tamil prince who is revered in China by millions as Bodhidharma. His real name remains unknown, but he is believed to have been a Pallava prince and was the third son of the king.
At an early age, he mastered the art of "Dhyan", a form of meditation that was once taught by Gautam Buddha. He mastered traditional weapon-less warfare of South India. He rose to become the 28th patriarch of the Buddhist monastery. Chinese texts honour him in direct chain beginning from Gautam Buddha.
It has been said that Bodhidharma travelled to China as a messenger of Buddhism in the year 527 A.D. He remained, according to customary legend, particularly ascetic for nine years during which he did not speak to the people who were fascinated with his Dhyan meditation and display of martial arts.
Another popular legend notes a Chinese king named Wu summoned him to his palace hoping to receive blessings, but he expelled the Buddhist monk after he did not speak positively of the king.
However, Bodhidharma’s preaching’s grew popular and he gathered a huge following. He also started imparting physical training to monks from the Shaolin temple. This has said to have lead to the foundation of Shaolin martial arts, the most revered in martial art circles as Shaolin Kung Fu.
His form of teachings came to be known as Chan (corrupt form of Sanskrit word dhyan) Buddhism. It reached Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and other parts of Far East. As it spread, it came to be known as Zen Buddhism.
With this mega event like Modi-Xi summit, the BJP wants to make a positive impact on the minds of people in Tamil Nadu. Through Mamallapuram, the BJP hopes, to prove itself as a gateway to enter the Tamil political theatre and set tone for the 2021 assembly election.
Just before the summit a statue of Buddha has been installed at the Shore Temple to commorate the friendly cultural and historic significance of this political alliance between two powerful countries.