History, Buddhist Period
White Huns, Kushans, Balkh, stupas, dominant religion
About the 1st century ad the Kushans, a central Asian people, won control of Aryana. Buddhism was the dominant religion from the 3rd century to the 8th century ad. Ruins of many monasteries and stupas, or reliquary mounds (structures where sacred relics are kept or displayed), from that period still remain. They line what was once a great Buddhist pilgrimage road from India to Balkh, in northern Afghanistan, and on into Central Asia.
Kushan power was destroyed at the end of the 4th century ad by a Turkic people of central Asian origin called the White Huns or Ephthalites. After the Ephthalites, the area was divided among several kingdoms, some Buddhist, some Hindu.
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