Pratapaditya Pal, Evidence of Jainism in Afghanistan and Kashmir in Ancient Times

A Socle of a Jain Image, Gujarat, 12th century.
A Socle of a Jain Image, Gujarat, 12th century.



Of the three religions that originated in India–Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism–Jainism is the only faith that does not seem to have traveled abroad until modern times. Certainly, there is no evidence of any sea-borne migration of Jainism to Sri Lanka or Southeast Asia, where both Hinduism and Buddhism were entrenched religions from early times. In this article, however, both material—in the forms of metal images—and literary evidence are presented to demonstrate that the Jains did travel north by land as far as Kashmir and Afghanistan in pre-modern times.