Revisiting the Sanskrit inscriptions and the architecture of Indo-Khmer Angkorian civilization of Cambodia: 9th-14th centuries AD
Radha Madhav Bharadwaj
(Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, University Of Delhi, India)
Paper short abstract:
This paper, apart from Indian influence, attempts to discuss the neglected history of the role of the genius of the local Khmer people in the Angkorian empire-building and also the taxation of the labouring classes in maintaining them.
Paper long abstract:
The Angkorian Civilization of Cambodia, during the 9th-14th centuries AD, display pervasive Indian influence in the field of language, religion, polity and architecture. Their kings got their inscriptions inscribed in Sanskrit as well as Khmer. The architectural remains of Angkor depict Hindu and Buddhist gods like Siva, Visnu and the Buddha. The brick-built temples, the building designs and the bas reliefs depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata owed much to Indian inspiration. The influence of Indic elements on the language, religion, polity and architecture of the Angkorian state systems is so dominant that many historians have concluded that the flow of Indian culture was at the root of this development. RC Majumdar talked of 'Indian Colonies' in SE Asia, George Coedes said that Indianization involved a steady flow of immigrants who founded Indian kingdoms to a people 'still in the midst of late Neolithic Civilization'. Leonid Sedov said that the Indians 'acquainted the aborigines with various new techniques, including land reclamation, handicrafts and art of war. But these are simplistic explanations of the birth of the great Angkorian civilization and overshadow the contribution of the native Khmers to their own civ. This paper will be a humble attempt at tracing the legacies of the indigenous population, the genius of local men of calibre and also the role of the farming and fishing community in sustaining the grand show that was 'Angor'.
Visuality, connectivity and sustainability of cultural heritage of Cambodia