India to Cambodia connection goes back to several hundred years of shared history between the two great nations.
Cambodia is an Asian country, lying to the south of Thailand with its ancient capital city, Angkor Thom located at its heart. Oriental culture is the common feature that connects India to Cambodia. Just as India was a colony of Britain, Cambodia was colonized by France. 94 per cent of the population practice Buddhism that has the roots from India.
Huge idols of Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha and many deities, mostly extracted from Angkor Wat and displayed in the National Museum in Phnom Penh stand witness to these chords of Indo-Cambodian connectivity. Legend has it that Cambodia was a rich trading hub for both China and India. Hence, the Hindu as well as the Buddhist culture impacted the nation’s character
India to Cambodia connection
Indian connection to Cambodia is basically mythical and dates back to the period 1112-52 when Angkor Wat was built by a Hindu King Suryavarman II, an Indian king who migrated to Cambodia. This temple is believed to be the earthly incarnation of the Hindu mythical Mt Meru, the abode of ancient gods. This mount was used as a churner of the sea to decide the fight between gods and demons. Another religious connection is that it was primarily a tomb, and is viewed in an anti-clockwise direction. This practice has its precedent in ancient Hindu funerary rites.
Thus, Angkor Wat represents a temple to worship Hindu Lord Vishnu and also as a mausoleum for Indian king, Suryavaraman II. Hinduism is the major religion practiced in India and hence Indian connection with Cambodia is established.
Angkor Thom, also known as Nokor Thom, literally means and is the Great City of Cambodia. It is the last capital city of the Khmer empire that was established by King, Jayavarman VII. It is stretched over an area of 9 square km. The word Nokor (Khmer) is derived from Sanskrit word Nagara which means city. Thom means big or great. With the root of Sanskrit in India, the Indo-Cambodian connection is greatly established.
The name Ankor Thom was used after the 16th century. Prior to that, the name with Indian origin, “Yasodharapura” was used to refer to a part of the Khmer Capital. Later to 1295, the capital was relocated southeast to Phnom Penh during the regime of Khmer King PonheaYat. Angkor Thom now contains the remains of many temples, one of which is Prasat Chung that was dedicated to the Bodhisattava Lokeshara
Buddhism, having its root in India is the religious connectivity between India and Cambodia. Mahayana Buddhism existed in Cambodia since the 5th century. Presently; Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, with more than 95% of the population practicing Buddhism that entered Cambodia via two streams.
The first stream entered the kingdom of Funan through Hindu merchants. The second stream entered, when Cambodia absorbed different Buddhism tradition of the Mon kingdoms of Haripunchal and Dvaravati. Both the words “Hari” and “Vati” are of Hindu origin, thus establishing the connection of India to Cambodia. Hinduism and Buddhism co-existed during the tolerant auspices of Hindu kings. Besides AngkarWat, Angkor Thom stands a mute witness to the Indian connection to Cambodia.
Angkor wat is the biggest temple in the world built by an Indian Origin King-Suryavarman II, dedicated to Vishnu. The architecture is of 12th Century Khemer architecture with use of sand stone. The original name of this temple was known as: Vrah Viṣṇuloka or Parama Viṣṇuloka. This is an UNESCO Heritage building.
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