Inexorable Linkages

Everything in the universe is inexorably linked to the other. Apply tiny bit of force on anyone, the entire weave & waft of the fabric gets affected. Be it international relations, study of science or engineering or familial relationships back home, there always are linkages that need be nurtured, not strained.

In my view, everything Angkor is related to many things around. It must have been the case then i nearly a thousand years ago, as it is now. Temples are built close to water lines – river, streams, water springs, islands, oceans. Caves and mountains are yet another places where Temples are built.

In case of Angkor, stone was obtained from The holy Kulen Ranges. It is quite probable that the water from The Kulen river must have been flowing closer to Angkor’s location then in the eleventh century ¬†than it is today thus establishing a closer linkage with Kulen. King Suryavarman got numerous Shiv-ling bases carved out on the bed of the river connecting the spirit of Angkor directly with Kulen.

The other major linkage that, though well established but needs further emphasis is with India. Upon reading about tenets of Temple building, books written by Stella Kramrisch, the style of Indian Temples, especially in Southern India, discussions with renowned authorities in history, it is very easy to establish clean linkage with the Indian kings of that era namely – the Cholas, Pallavas and the Chalukyas. These kings had great influence over Indo-china in that era, were keen patrons of Temple building activities as public works and during those times India had flourishing schools of sculpting, Temple building and Indian traditions run under the aegis of great seers of wisdom.

This is borne by the fact that at Mahabalipuram, there are unfinished sculptures at the Temple sites. Besides, the Temple architecture and art of that era is similar to one employed at Angkor. It, therefore is not difficult to surmise that artists and artisans from India must been employed and seers requested by the then kings to guide the activities at Angkor because they were the only knowlegeable people anywhere on the globe to have undertaken such an onerous task at that age.

Indian Gods Vishnu, Shiva and Gautam Buddha were revered and worshipped by Indians who had settled down in Indo-China as far as Tibet, Laos and Vietnam. This influence was permeated into the societal interactions and even the local people had happily accepted these religions within their fold.

However, certain changes did occur in the acceptance and thinking of the local people who with the changing times incurred a certain philosophical changes in their religious behaviour. But all in all, it is rather accurate to state that Angkor wasn’t the responsibility of one particular set of people. It must have been a national if not an international effort linked with not one or few sections of society. It must have been a crusade to ensure success of such a gargantuan responsibility, especially at a time when the populations were very meagre, everywhere.


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