The Kushana age was a period of great literary activity. Asvaghosha was
the author of Buddhacharita, Saundarananda and Sariputraprakarana. It was
also a period of intense religious activity and witnessed the development of
Mahayana form of Buddhism, the cults of Siva, Kartikeya and Krishna and
saw the introduction of Buddhism into China by Kasyapa Matanga (AD 61–
67).
    The Kushanas also fostered trade and commerce with the outside world
and especially with the Roman emperors who, in view of their hostile
relations with the Parthians, leaned heavily towards the Kushanas. The
Roman coins were current throughout western India and were initiated by the
Kushana kings. They sent an embassy to the Roman emperor, Trajan.
    The people seemed to have been happy economically as most of the
dedications at Mathura were made by the ordinary men and women. The
trade guilds enjoyed stability and confidence. It is not certain as to what
extent Indian traders contributed in the famous silk trade between China and
Rome which passed through the extreme north-western part of the Kushana
empire. The initiation of the Roman aurei by the Kushana rulers—especially
Kujula Kadphises (in design and weight)—was very probably for facilitating
trade.
COMMERCIAL CONTACTS WITH THE
OUTSIDE WORLD
Main Features
There was an extraordinary expansion and elaboration of trading activities
and corresponding increase in the range of exports and imports, opening up
of new markets, elaboration of urban settlements and consequent
improvements in the level of prosperity.
    The period was also marked by the opening up of the remote parts of the
country and the discovery of new channels of communication. The discovery
by Hippalus of the monsoon searoute to India from West Asia and the
establishment of the silkroute from China to Europe through India and the
searoute to South-east Asia from    India were the main developments in this