While the empires of the western world were expanding eastward, explorers from the Chinese Empire were venturing west. The first motive of the Chinese was to establish contacts in the Middle East and India for alliances and trade.
But a second motive emerged after A.D. 400, religion. Buddhism emerged in India in the sixth century B.C. and spread to China. Later, Chinese pilgrims would travel to India to discover more about the Buddha and his teachings.