I'd like to propse another one under "Individual People Connections": Xuanzang
Xuanzang, born Chen Hui / Chen Yi, was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who traveled to India in the seventh century and described the interaction between Chinese Buddhism and Indian Buddhism during the early Tang dynasty.
- Ajanta Caves
- Xuanzang visited Ajanta.
- Bamiyan Valley
- In Bamyan, Xuanzang met the king and saw tens of non-Mahayana monasteries, in addition to the two large Buddhas of Bamiyan carved out of the rockface.
- Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur
- After Nalanda, Xuanzang traveled through several kingdoms, including Pundranagara, to the capital of Pundravardhana, identified with modern Mahasthangarh, in present-day Bangladesh. He also visited Somapura Mahavihara at Paharpur in the district of Naogaon, in modern-day Bangladesh. The modern-day vihara however dates from the 8th century AD, after Xuanzang.
- Grand Canal
- The Grand Canal passes through Luoyang, where Xuanzang was ordained as a śrāmaṇera (novice monk) at the age of thirteen.
- In 636, Xuanzang traveled through Terai in the southern part of modern Nepal, where he found deserted Buddhist monasteries, and thence to Kapilavastu, his last stop before Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. In 637, he set out from Lumbini to Kusinagara, the site of Buddha's death.
- Mahabodhi Temple Complex
- Xuanzang visited Bodh Gaya in 637.
- After Bodh Gaya, Xuanzang went to Nalanda, the greatest Indian university of the Indian state of Bihar, where he spent at least the next two years.
- Xuanzang crossed the desert from Tashkent further west to Samarkand. In Samarkand, the party came across some abandoned Buddhist temples and Xuanzang impressed the local king with his preaching.
- Silk Roads
- The Silk Road passes through Luoyang, where Xuanzang was ordained as a śrāmaṇera (novice monk) at the age of thirteen. / After his return to China in AD 645, Emperor Gaozong of Tang ordered to install two stele stones in celebration of Xuanzang's extraordinary achievement at the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. There is also a statue of Xuanzang at that pagoda.
- Xuanzang visited Taxila, which was desolate and half-ruined, and found most of its sangharamas still ruined and desolate.
- Xinjiang Tianshan
- In 629, Xuanzang traveled across the Gobi Desert to Kumul (modern Hami City) and then followed the Tian Shan westward to arrive in Turpan in 630. The hottest mountain in China, the Flaming Mountains, is located in Turpan and was depicted in the "Journey to the West", a Chinese novel that is an extended account of the legendary pilgrimage of Xuanzang.