The Ancient Tea Horse Road

The Tea Horse Road or chamadao (simplified Chinese: 茶马道; traditional Chinese: 茶馬道), now generally referred to as the Ancient Tea Horse Road or chamagudao (simplified Chinese: 茶马古道; traditional Chinese: 茶馬古道) was a network of caravan paths winding through the mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet in Southwest China. This was also a tea trade route. It is also sometimes referred to as the Southern Silk Road or Southwest Silk Road, and it is part of a complex routes system connecting China and South Asia.

There are numerous surviving archaeological and monumental elements, including trails, bridges, way stations, market towns, palaces, staging posts, shrines and temples along the route. Besides the route’s importance for commercial activity, more significantly it was crucial for cultural exchange between the Indian subcontinent, Tibet and Southwest China. Especially, it was vitally important for the interchange of Buddhism between China and South Asia.