It was T.N. Subramaniam who first introduced (discovered in 1956) an inscription from Quanzhou, to non-Chinese readers, according to Noboru Karashima (“Behind China’s Hindu temples, a forgotten history,” July 20). Once a famous port in south China, Quanzhou had flourishing trading ties with south India. Y. Subbarayalu and Noboru Karashima (Ancient and Medieval Commercial Activities in The Indian Ocean: Testimony of Inscriptions and Ceramic Sherds) studied the text of the inscription engraved in two broken parts of a stone. The inscription said that a Tamilian, Champanda Perumal, also known as Thava Chakaravartikal, installed an idol of Shiva as the main deity in a temple he built. He named the temple Thirukaniswaram, after King Chekachi Khan who donated the land.
During my visit to Beijing in 1995, I visited a well preserved Hindu temple in Wuta Si. The temple houses several sculptures similar to those mentioned in the report, as well as Vaishnavite sculptures of fish, boar, etc.
No one was able to say in which century it was built or what the temple meant to the local population. No prayers were offered at the temple.