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Global Hindu Footprint - Spread Beyond India
Quote:Crowds throng restored Hindu temple



By Pamela Chow



[Image: 20100412.094721_rotacrowdsthronghindutemple.jpg]

[Above: President S R Nathan (wearing garland of flowers) at a special consecration ceremony for the restored Sri Mariamman temple yesterday morning.]



YESTERDAY, about 35,000 Hindus and non-Hindus queued under the scorching sun - some for up to four hours - to enter the restored Sri Mariamman Temple after a special consecration ceremony.



But the long wait on this auspicious day was "worth it" for many devotees, like Ms Kamini Silvaguru.



The hotel executive, 25, who queued with her mother and aunt from 7am to 11.30am when she entered the temple, said: "It pays off to see the ceremony upfront. Nothing beats that."



Even Ms Moon Yee, a freethinker and consultant in her late 30s, did not mind her 31/2-hour wait and the heat, because she "just wanted to see the ceremony".



While waiting to be let in, spectators were treated to a view of part of the consecration ceremony, called Maha Kumbabhishekam.



It started with an opening procession, where Hindu priests, including the temple's head priest K. Balachandar, carried sacred vessels of holy water around and in front of the temple to bless it.



Accompanied by a crescendo of music, the head priest proceeded to climb up the scaffolding to the "rajagopuram" - the tower atop the temple's entrance - to pray and praise the goddess Mariamman, whom the temple is built in honour of.



He poured holy water over five golden temple pinnacles, called "kalasams", which are believed to contain the spiritual energy of the temple, and over the entrance itself.



The priest then proceeded into the temple sanctum of the goddess, and poured holy water over a statue of the goddess Mariamman.



He also lit a fire in praise of the goddess, commonly used in Hindu prayers to signify light.



Throughout the entire ceremony, many visitors were seen clasping their palms together in prayer. Also at the ceremony were distinguished Hindus including President S R Nathan.



The 184-year-old Sri Mariamman temple has been undergoing a $4-million renovation since last March. The works are expected to be completed in the middle of this year.



In the main building, cracks on the ceilings have been sealed and the roofs made waterproof, followed by a fresh coat of paint.



All 16 cement statues of deities and ceiling murals have also been re-painted.



Work is still ongoing for ancillary buildings that house the banquet room, staff offices and other facilities.



Visitors were all praise for the ceremony and the temple's new look.



Mr Hiroaki Kobayashi, 34, an assistant manager on a business trip here, said: "I came to look and learn about the culture here... This is very new and interesting to me."



Software salesman Krishnan Jagannathan, 44, said: "The ceremony is very well organised and elaborate... The new interiors are also very fantastic and different from before."



http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BN...09740.html
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General Election 2010: Sarah Brown goes bare foot at Hindu temple

Gordon and Sarah Brown split up on the election campaign trail for the first time on Sunday.



By Holly Watt

Published: 7:30AM BST 12 Apr 2010

Previous1 of 3 ImagesNext



Sarah Brown visits Neasden temple. Photo: BAPS Media

The Prime Minister visited a couple in Hendon, north London while his wife went to a nearby Hindu temple.

Her feet appeared to be suffering from the effects of wearing high heels shoes as she took to the carpet at Neasden Temple in bare feet.

[Image: sarah-brown-neasdo_1613989c.jpg]

[Image: sarah-brown-wide_1613990c.jpg]



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election...emple.html
  Reply
^^^

Is this significant? They are politicians, no?
  Reply
Quote:A Dutchman, he is a devout Hindu

Megha Nayar / DNAFriday, April 23, 2010 9:42 IST



Ahmedabad: He folds his palms into a graceful namaste, followed by a 'Jai Swaminarayan'.



Over the next hour and a half, he elaborates on the niyams he follows, the ekadashis he observes twice a year, and the sadhus who form a significant part of the world he's come to inhabit. However, this 66-year-old gentleman, who is so eloquent about the Hindu religion, is not an Indian by birth or even upbringing.



Han Kop, originally from Holland, has been following the tenets of the Swaminarayan sect for the past 40 years. The Swaminarayans are a significant community within the Hindu religion.



So devout is Kop towards his adopted religion that in 1984, Shri Pramukhswami Maharaj(also referred to as 'Swami Bapa') on his way to Belgium chose to stay at Kop's place before meeting the several hundred eagerly waiting devotees.



"Maharaj and I share a relationship that goes beyond words. We may not be in physical proximity, but I can still feel the bliss I first felt on seeing him. He is my spiritual inspiration, the reason why I have come back to India over 40 times in past 38 years," he says.



Kop's tryst with the religion began in 1972 when he was in Mombasa, Kenya as a teacher of pedagogy. It was here that he first set sight on a picture of Yogiji Maharaj, Swaminarayan sect's religious leader before Swami Bapa.



A later meeting with Bapa ensued. But Kop first felt a real bond with Bapa while he was saved from sharks on a beach in Pakistan. He muttered Bapa's name and saw his image come alive in his mind, underwater.



The incident, he says, connected him to Bapa spiritually, forever.Kop visits India every year around the time of Bapa's birthday. "I am completely at home here. Once I'm done with morning rituals, I spend my time in the company of sadhus. They have taught me all I know about the Hindu religion," he said.



Talking about the reaction back home on his following the Hindu religion, Kop said: "Over the years, different people have had different reactions. Some were very supportive, others sceptical and mocking. People abroad have a skewed image about Hinduism."



He further added, "I eventually found a friend in Janet, my landlady who took an equal interest in the faith. Today, Janet has been to India at least a dozen times. She writes to Bapa every two months, and cries out in joy when he responds to her letters. Women are technically not allowed to come in the vicinity of Swami Bapa, but Janet says she feels his spiritual vibrations all the time. This faith is a way of life for us now."



A bachelor due to his religious preferences, Kop recently adopted an eighteen-year-old, Uday, the nephew of his Nepali trekking guide. "Uday is the reason I shall not be devoting myself to sewa completely for next few years. I am in charge of his education, and we shall both be in Thailand till he finishes his studies."



So what are his plans after that? Says Kop: "I shall be travelling to Kailash Mansarovar, Tibet, the Himalayas. I am writing a book on Nilkanthji Maharaj, and that cannot happen till I know the environs well enough." A massive responsibility this, at his age. "Oh, I totally love it," he ends, walking off to catch up with a sadhu for a discussion on religion.



http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_a-d...du_1374555
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[url="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10401741.stm"]Ghana's unique African-Hindu temple[/url]





[Image: _48160702_ghanananda226.jpg]

Swami Ghanananda Swaraswati
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Quote:The.Miracle.of.Bali.Part1of3.The.Midday.Sun.avi



http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=...5006610706#



The.Miracle.of.Bali.Part2of3..avi



http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=...8883852627



The.Miracle.of.Bali.Part3of3.Recital.Of.Music.avi



http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=...4825211452#

Quote:The Miracle of Bali is a BBC series of cultural documentaries narrated by David Attenborough and first shown in 1969. The series comprises three programs about the culture of Bali. The complete series is available as a special feature on the DVD release of David Attenborough's 1975 series The Tribal Eye...



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracle_of_Bali
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Quote:Odalan of Hindu Bali:A Religious Festival,a Social Occasion,and a Theatrical Event

I Wayan Dibia



The Balinese call their island Pulau Dewata, the Island of the Gods.

Throughout Bali there are thousands of temples (pura), large and small,

dedicated to the Hindu-Balinese religion, the religion of most of Bali's 4.5

million people. Each village has at least three temples: the temple of death

(pura dalem), the temple of origin (pura puseh), and the temple for the gods'

council (pura desa or pura bale agung). Also, every family has its own temple

within the house yard (sanggah or mrajan), and a family-origin temple for

the family clan (pura dadia). There are also great temples at Besakih, Batur,

Uluwatu, Rambutsiwi, and other places, honored by all Hindu-Balinese.



An odalan is the anniversary or birthday of a Hindu-Balinese temple.

It is a festival that signifies the day the temple was initially completed

and the day the gods, the sanghyang widhi wasa, were first invited to attend.

An odalan celebration is held every 210 days, which is a year in the Balinese

calendar. As there are so many temples in Bali, several odalan are celebrated

on almost any day.



There are different kinds of odalan that last different lengths of time.

The usual odalan celebration, called odalan madudus agung (large odalan), lasts

four days. A small odalan (odalan alit) lasts only one day. A very few special

odalan continue longer than a week. Two of these are the odalan madana and

the odalan ngusaba, celebrated in village temples. The odalan eka dasa rudra, at

Bekasih, the biggest temple in Hindu Bali, is so important it is held only

once every 100 years.



The Balinese regard the odalan as a very special festival, not only a

religious celebration but also a social occasion and a major theatrical event.



As a religious event, the people of the whole village work to fulfill the

religious obligations necessary to the success of the festival. They make

offerings, build temporary altars, decorate the whole temple area, and

pray. Besides religious activity, people have the opportunity to enjoy

performances, given in conjunction with the ceremony, and they can meet

friends and eat good food.



During the odalan festival the people are excited. They are highly

dedicated participants in the festival. Although the odalan needs days of

preparation and monetary as well as other material contributions, no one

complains about working hard or grumbles about the amount of the

donation. In fact, people are happy to be involved in the festival, and to be

able to devote their time to working in the temple. The odalan is for the

benefit of the entire community.



For the duration of the odalan, the temple is the focus and center of

village activity. During the day, people of the village come to the temple to

work together, creating the offerings, cooking food, decorating the temple

area, and doing anything else needed for the celebration. At night they

come to the temple to pray to the primary deities of the Hindu-Balinese

religion, and to be entertained by performances of music, dance, and

theatre. For as long as the celebration lasts, the village is filled with the

mixed aroma of flowers, incense, and food, and with the beautiful sound of

music.



Odalan as a Religious Event



The Balinese regard the odalan as a holy day and a religious festival.

Odalan is a time for Hindu-Balinese people to pray and to thank their gods

through religious services, offerings, and performances. It is a ceremony

held for the temple and dedicated to gods who are believed to be the holiest

of spirits, living in a perfect but invisible world. Everything that will be

used and presented during the festival must be purified-the temporary

bamboo structures, flowers, clothing, and fruit offerings. All these are

blessed by the pamangku, the low-caste temple priest, or the padanda, the

Brahmin priest, with holy water (tirta). An odalan can only be carried out

when nothing bad or impure is happening in the village. A death, for

instance, may result in the annual odalan ceremony being cancelled.



Three parts of the odalan ceremony are integral to the religious

order and ritual of Hindu Bali. First is the ngayab ayab, when the priest

blesses the ritual offerings by chanting a mantra, burning incense, and

sprinkling holy water with a flower blossom. While the priest gives the

blessing, groups of men or women sing a holy song (kakidung) and some of

the men play the gamelan (a musical ensemble of metalophone instruments).

Second is makecan kecan, the part of the ceremony when two traditional religious dances are performed: a female dance, either rejang orgabor, and the baris pendet, a warrior dance by men. Third are the prayers(muspa) which climax the ceremony. When it is time to pray, all of theodalan attendants kneel on the ground. When the prayer is over, everyone is

given holy water by the priest. After receiving the holy water, the peopletake their blessed food offerings home and eat them with their families.



Odalan as a Social Occasion



The odalan celebration brings people together. Day and night the

whole village works together to build the bamboo structures, to make

offerings and food, and to put up the needed decorations. People from

different castes and different social statuses interact closely, sharing whatever

work has to be done for the celebration. Men, women, children, and

the elderly are all happy to participate in the festival. They believe that by

their participation they receive blessings from the gods as well as higher

prestige from the people in the community.



Balinese life has a strong communal pattern, and almost all work in

the village is done collectively. People work together in cooperative

organizations known as banjar, or ward associations. There are several

banjar in each village or desa. The odalan is organized either by a single banjar

or, when an odalan is for one of the village temples, by the whole desa. The

success of the odalan is important to the prestige of the banjar or desa; its

members will be unhappy if the festival is not done well.



During the odalan festival, people are divided into working groups

according to their abilities or skills. For example, those who have mastered

the art of making offerings are grouped into the juru banten (offering

specialists), those who are good at cooking are put in the juru ebat (food

specialists), those who can play the gamelan are part of the juru gambel or

sekaa gong (music specialists), and dancers are part of the pragina group

(performers of dance and drama). A number of young boys and girls will be

chosen to do jobs like finding flowers and getting palm leaves for offerings.

They will be members of the juru suci (offering assistants). The people in

each group are selected by the members of the banjar, under the direction of

the elected leader (kelian). These groups begin working at the sign of the

beating of the kulkul, a large wooden slit-drum.



The odalan is a special time of interaction between old and young.

For the old people, it is an opportunity to transfer important cultural and

religious information to the young, and to teach them the skills required for

the odalan. Some activities are done, and therefore learned, only at the time

of odalan, singing kakidung and dancing the rejang, for example. Only at

odalan is it possible to learn to perform these two art forms or to learn to

make offerings and ceremonial foods.



Odalan is a time to socialize. Old people use the festival as a chance

to meet friends. They are happy to talk with each other while babysitting

their grandchildren. For young people the odalan is a time of dreams, a time

to meet with friends and to find romance. To impress members of the

opposite sex, young people dress up in their finest clothes, work hard to do a

good job, and try to excel in performing music and dance.



Odalan as a Theatrical Event



The temple becomes a theatrical center of a village for as long as the

odalan celebration is taking place. Not just people from that village, but

people from neighboring villages and visitors gather in the temple area to

be entertained by many music, dance, drama, and shadow-play performances.

But the theatre of the odalan celebration also exists separately from

these formal performances. The entire ceremony is done artistically, with a

tremendous sense of theatre. In a sense, the festival as a whole can be

considered a kind of theatrical event.



For an odalan, the temple itself is decorated with extraordinary

elaborateness. Along the road to the temple, tall decorated bamboo poles

(penjor) are erected. Every corner of the temple-pavilions, altars, and

stage area-are hung with beautiful ornamentations: lamak are made from

sugar palm leaf; tamiang, symbolic of weapons, are cut from young coconut

leaf; and from ferns are made decorations called pakupipid. The shrines and

statues surrounding the temple are "dressed" with colorful clothes, usually

checks in white, black, red, and yellow. Ceremonial implements such as

umbrellas, flags, banners, and lances are placed in prescribed locations

around the temple. All this serves to give the odalan a very special

atmosphere.



Procession (mapaed) is a powerful moment in the odalan ceremony,

both from a religious and a theatrical standpoint. A procession leaves the

temple when the holy and sacred statues (arca) are taken to a spring for

purification, and a procession enters the temple when villagers bring their

family offerings. Thousands of people are involved, beautifully dressed in

both traditional and ceremonial costumes. This tremendous group walks

in a spectacular line along the road to the spring or the temple. At the front

are the priest, the village head, and high-caste participants followed by

bearers of ceremonial umbrellas, lances, and banners. Then come villagers

carrying offerings, on both sides of whom are ten to fifteen men or women

singing sacred kakidung. At the end of the procession, musicians play in a

kind of marching gamelan ensemble, called galanganjur. The wooden kulkul

sounds continually. A huge, glorious moving theatre is formed, using the

road to the spring or temple as a stage.



The performing arts-gamelan music, dance, drama, and shadow-puppet theatre-are never absent from any kind of festival in Bali. In fact,parts of every festival ceremony must be accomplished through music,

dance, and other performing arts. In the Hindu-Balinese religion, music,

dance, and shadow-puppet theatre are sacrificial offerings. Performances

are primarily presentations to the gods. At the same time they are entertainment

for the people; everyone is welcome to watch and to enjoy them.



There are different categories of art performances at an odalan

celebration. Sacred and religious (wali) styles are usually performed in the

temple's most sacred, inner courtyard (jeroan). Dances like the rejang,

pendet, baris, and gabor are performed at the same time the priest makes the

ritual offering. They are therefore a necessary and integral part of the odalan

religious ceremony. In some areas of Bali, sanghyang trance-dance and

wayang lemah (the shadow-puppet theatre that does not use a screen) are

also sacred wali arts. Additional performances that complete the ceremony,

but are not a sacred part of it, are known as babali. They are usually given in

the outer courtyard of the temple (jaba tengah), although in some cases they

will be in the temple's inner courtyard. Babali arts include some of Bali's

most elaborate dramatic forms: gambuh, the ancient and formal dancedrama

whose hero is the fourteenth-century Javanese ruler, Prince Panji;

wayang wong, the classical dance-drama that does plays based on the

Ramayana;t he solo masked dance-drama, topengpajegana; nd the group wardance,

baris gede. The third category (balih balihan) is made up of secular

dances and plays staged during the festival as popular entertainment,

usually in an area outside the temple. Among these are kebyar (a solo dance

created in the twentieth century), arja (an operatic dance-drama), topeng

panca (a masked dance-drama with five dancers), and topengprembon(t openg

and arja combined). (The three categories are fully described by I Made

Bandem and Fredrik Eugene deBoer in Kaja and Kelod: Balinese Dance in

Transition [Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1981].)



In conclusion, the odalan is not just a Balinese religious ceremony. It

is also a social event and an important theatrical occasion. The odalan

ceremony brings people together to work, pray, and learn from one another.

People of the village are entertained by the music, dances, and plays

performed during the odalan. Yet basically, the whole odalan festival is a

sacrificial offering to the gods (dewayadnya), and the most sacred of theatrical

performances are a part of that offering. For the Balinese, the odalan is a

joyous event, integrating the religious, communal, and artistic lives of the

Hindu-Balinese people.



I Wayan Dibia, Balinese dancer and choreographer, is Instructor of Dance at the Indonesian Dance

Academy (ASTI) in Denpasar, Bali. He has performed extensively in Indonesia, West Germany, the

United States, and Asia.
  Reply
Hinduism Under Indenture: Totaram Sanadhya's Account of Fiji



http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YYSNIHJ2
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Check the following links about contempoary Hindu resistance to Muslim colonialism in Bali:



http://www.insideindonesia.org/edition-9...ali-strong

http://www.insideindonesia.org/edition-8...ing-strong

http://www.thiscenturyreview.com/ajeg-bali.html

http://eprints.utas.edu.au/918/1/IMW_article.pdf



Ignore the snide remarks about Hindu "fundamentalism" by the leftist goras who wrote the above, to them any sort of Hindu defense is fundamentalism.



Also check pg's 55 to 57 here:



http://books.google.ca/books?id=hvrUBvGK...bali+satri\

ya+naradha&source=bl&ots=nD_kNIoEvx&sig=I7Nd3DeY5QVfv9dKL84pYGXmeoY&hl=en&ei=ilA\

-TZfbOYL_8Ab26fzqCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=one\

page&q&f=false



113 to 125:



http://books.google.ca/books?id=H0PXkzgc...g+bali+sat\

riya+naradha&source=bl&ots=m-1Fb2XdiO&sig=1sUEy9GL9xhv3VAkpwUy9leXNe0&hl=en&ei=i\

lA-TZfbOYL_8Ab26fzqCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAg#v=o\

nepage&q&f=false



359:



http://books.google.ca/books?id=N3XU7eUM...g+bali+sat\

riya+naradha&source=bl&ots=zKrKVORv1F&sig=fPBcCITUuDarKY5BM3YqRu-V74E&hl=en&ei=i\

lA-TZfbOYL_8Ab26fzqCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAA#v=o\

nepage&q&f=false



As you can see one man's (Satria Naradha) initiative to create awareness using his newspaper Bali Post and TV channel Bali TV made a lot of differnece.



Some Balinese Hindus have rightly concluded that Ajeg Bali is not enough(referred to in the 113 to 125 pg's lin) and what is needed is Ajeg Hindu because Ajeg Bali could mean inclusion of Muslims and Christians of Bali whereas Ajeg Hindu will automatically protect Balinese culture because as long as Hindu Agama remains strong Balinese culture remains strong.



Others (a woman no less i.e if a man tells these facts he is declared a chauvunist) have identified the demographic warfare of Muslims and the need to counter it by stopping the demographic suicide known as family planning:

Quote:Pendatang are not the only reason for the decreasing number of Hindu Balinese in Bali. The problem lies also in the fact the Balinese are having fewer children, according to the Balinese psychiatrist Luh Ketut Suryani in her book Perempuan Bali Kini (2003). In this book (published by Bali Post), after a gloomy description of a contemporary Bali which has lost its way, with a young generation focused on alcohol, drugs, free sex and love of western culture, Suryani instructs Balinese women on how to save Bali. They have to bear in mind

their main role, which is to be a mother able to produce a great new generation of Hindu Balinese who will save Balinese culture from all the destructive outside

negative influences. In one chapter

of this would-be `manual' for modern Balinese women, Suryani tells readers that the destiny

of Bali is in their hands. Because of the birth control programme very few Balinese couples

have more than two children, which has led to a decrease in the Hindu Bali population. In Suryani's view, having more children and educating them as good Balinese Hindus will obviate the danger that they could become a minority in their own home and will

save Balinese culture (Suryani 2003: 99).



http://eprints.utas.edu.au/918/1/IMW_article.pdf

Hindus in India have to learn from them.
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US scholar brings ancient Balinese scripts to digital age

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Fri, 01/14/2011 10:23 AM | Bali A | A | A |



A theatre professor from Wesleyan University in New York, Ron Jenkins, is leading a team of workers in transcribing ancient Balinese scripts written on lontar palm leaves at the library of Bali Cultural office in Denpasar on Thursday.



Page by page, the lontar scripts were recorded using a DSLR camera and a computer.



“We will digitalize the entire lontar script collection and translate the contents of the scripts into three languages, Balinese, Indonesian and English, and enable people to read them from the Internet,” Jenkins said.



The dried and treated leaf of the lontar palm (Borassus flabellifer) was widely used for centuries in Java, Lombok and Bali and is still in use in Bali.




Inscriptions were mostly in the old Javanese language of Kawi and ancient Balinese. The lontar inscriptions contain old works including the famous Ramayana and Mahabharata Hindu epics, kakawin (ancient poetry) and ushada (traditional Balinese medicine).



Jenkins, who has studied Balinese culture for 35 years and written several books on it, said that the digital lontar project was made possible by the support of the Internet Archive Foundation based in the United States.



The foundation works to digitize ancient inscriptions and cultural activities from around the world.



There are around 3,000 ancient lontar inscriptions at Denpasar’s library, from 50-years-old to centuries-old.



Jenkins is working with two members of the Internet Archive Foundation and two from the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI) Denpasar.



“After the project is completed, all of the lontar inscriptions will be uploaded onto the foundation’s websites at www.archive.org and available to the public — especially professors and students who study Balinese culture,” said Jenkins who speaks fluent Indonesian.



The team will also work to digitize 7,000 other lontar inscriptions stored at Gedong Kirtya Library, home of the largest lontar collection, in Singaraja, Buleleng in North Bali.



“We have set a target to complete the project within one year,” the professor said.



Digitizing lontar inscriptions is crucial to preserving the island’s precious cultural heritage, he said.



“This cultural wealth must be passed on to younger generations.”



He added that many young people could not read lontar inscriptions. “I am so worried that the knowledge and wisdom contained in lontar inscriptions will go nowhere. Therefore it is very important to preserve this heritage.”



Jenkins elaborated that the lontar inscriptions contain valuable knowledge and information.



The Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana, for instance, teaches how to develop a harmonious relation among the creator, mankind and nature. Rwa Bineda teaches how to distinguish good and bad deeds.



Ketut Suastika, head of the cultural office, said that the project aimed at both preserving and delivering messages written in the many ancient inscriptions.



“The project will enable common people to learn, read and understand the contents of the inscriptions,” Suastika said.



He called on people to inform the office if they had ancestral heritage pieces at their homes.



“Many people have lontar inscriptions inherited from their old men. If they cannot keep these lontar leaves in proper ways, they can keep them in our library,” Suastika said.



http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/...ali.html-0
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Border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand damages famous 9th-11th century Hindu Kovil (completed a century before Angkor Wat) - a World heritage site - located in Cambodia.



1. www.aolnews.com/story/thai-cambodian-clashes-resume-at-disputed-border/762350/?cid=10

Quote:Damage to temple on Thai-Cambodia border minimal

Updated: Feb 8, 2011 - 7:53AM



Todd Pitman

AP

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia -A historic temple that was the scene of artillery battles between Cambodia and Thailand appears to have suffered minimal damage, as journalists used a fragile truce Tuesday to inspect the site.



Four days of shelling in the disputed border region blackened hillsides surrounding Preah Vihear temple and shrapnel from the blasts chipped away at some of the sanctuary's ancient walls, but the damage was light and the structure remained intact.



Cambodian officials said over the weekend that Thai artillery collapsed "a wing" of the temple, but Thai officials dismissed the account as propaganda. Tuesday was the first day journalists were able to visit the temple since Cambodia made the claim.



The two nations have clashed several times in the area since 2008, when the U.N. declared Preah Vihear a World Heritage site. But the latest skirmishes were the most intense yet, marking the first time artillery and mortars have been used, according to soldiers and locals.



At least seven people have died in the clashes that began Friday. One civilian and one soldier from Thailand have been killed, and another 25 Thai soldiers have been wounded. Cambodia's says five Cambodians have been killed, including at least two soldiers, and 45 people wounded.



Cambodian troops used a shaky cease-fire Tuesday to dig fresh positions and stack sandbags around the temple, which was awarded to Cambodia in a 1962 World Court ruling that many Thais dispute.



"It's quiet now, but fighting could start again at any time," said Pho Suong, a Cambodian soldier deployed at Preah Vihear. "We're on high alert. We will not fire first, but if we are attacked, we will fire back."



Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, whose country holds the current chairmanship of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said in Bangkok on Tuesday that both sides "are committed to ensure that the situation stabilizes." Natalegawa spoke after talks with his Thai counterpart.



The temple — located just several hundred feet (meters) from the border with Thailand — has fueled nationalism in both countries for decades. The latest fighting comes as Thailand's embattled government faces protests from ultranationalists at home who say it hasn't done enough to protect Thailand's sovereignty in the border region.



While the World Court ruled on the temple's ownership, some of the tree-lined border around it has yet to be demarcated.


(In reality, it belongs to any remaining Hindus of the region (there are still Hindus in Thailand; no clue about any last vestiges in Cambodia - but I'm sure they can share). The Kovil isn't some 'museum' to be claimed by others; it belongs to a living religion.)



Built between the 9th and 11th centuries, the temple sits atop a 1,722-foot (525-meter) cliff in the Dangrek Mountains about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of the Cambodian capital.



It is dedicated to the Hindu diety Shiva, but it was later used as a Buddhist sanctuary.

(Unless I'm confusing myself - I don't think I am - the 2nd half of the statement would be a reference to how some Cambodian Buddhists ended up seeking refuge there from the Khmer Rouge?)

The temple is revered partly for having one of the most stunning locations of all the temples constructed during the Khmer empire — the most famous of which is Angkor Wat.
Repeat: all the oldest temples in Cambodia were Hindu.





2. uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20110204/tts-uk-thailand-cambodia-temple-factbox-ca02f96.html

Quote:Preah Vihar and Thai-Cambodian tensions

Friday, February 4 10:39 am



(Reuters) - Fighting broke out between Thai and Cambodian soldiers on Friday along a disputed stretch of their border, near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple. Skip related content



Following are facts about the site:



-- Completed in the 11th century, Preah Vihear pre-dates Cambodia's more famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 100 years. Many say its stunning setting atop a jungle-clad escarpment overlooking northern Cambodia also eclipses its celebrated cousin as the finest of all the ruins left by the mighty Khmer civilisation.



-- Officially part of Cambodia since a 1962 World Court ruling, Preah Vihear, or Khao Phra Viharn as the Thais call it, has been accessible mainly only from Thailand. From Cambodia, landmines and Khmer Rouge guerrillas kept it off-limits for decades. Even after Pol Pot's forces surrendered in 1998, the track up the 600 metre Dangrek escarpment is so steep and pot-holed it's passable only by motorbike or heavy-duty four-wheel drive. After rain, you can forget it altogether.



-- The temple has stirred nationalist passions on both sides for generations. In the run-up to the 1962 World Court ruling, Thailand's military government organized a fundraiser in which every citizen donated 1 baht to pay for Bangkok's legal team at The Hague. It was Cambodia's bid last year to list the ruins as a World Heritage Site that sparked a flare-up in tensions. One Thai and three Cambodian soldiers died in a firefight last October.



-- Preah Vihear has witnessed its fair share of bloodshed. The Khmer Rouge occupied the site for years, and rusting artillery pieces can still be found lying amid the ruins. In June 1979, Thai soldiers forced 45,000 refugees from Pol Pot's "Killing Fields" to descend the heavily mined escarpment back into Cambodia. "Several thousand died, either shot by Thai soldiers to prevent them trying to cross back, or blown up in the minefields," British historian Philip Short wrote in a seminal biography of Pol Pot.



(Editing by Jason Szep)

Unlikely that if it had been a Buddhist temple, either side would have dared to damage it.

But now it's only a museum piece to both nations, I guess.





3. Background to the territory dispute



www.eturbonews.com/20984/preah-vihar-issue-damages-not-only-temple-also-mutual-understand

Quote:The Preah Vihar issue damages not only the temple but also mutual understanding



[color="#800080"][Image caption:][/color] No destruction for this [color="#FF0000"]copy[/color] of Preah Vihar temple exposed during the ATF in Phnom Penh / Photo: LC

[Image: DSCF2300.JPG]





By Luc Citrinot, eTN | Feb 07, 2011



BANGKOK (eTN) - This is a sad story about a beautiful Khmer temple from the 11th century perched on a plateau, which dominates a valley. With Angkor temples complex, Wat Pho in Southern [color="#0000FF"]Laos[/color], as well as Phimai and Phnom Rung in [color="#0000FF"]Thailand[/color], the temple belongs to the most beautiful sites from the once-mighty Khmer empire. But instead of remaining a symbol of peace and serenity, Preah Vihar temple is, for more than century, an object of dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.



The quarrel dates back exactly from 1904, when both Siam and the French colonial authorities ruling Cambodia formed a joint commission to demarcate their mutual border. By then, Preah Vihar went to the French with the Siamese government acknowledging the new border. It was later again contested by Thailand until a ruling from the International Court of Justice determined in 1962 that the temple was effectively on Cambodian territory. However, a 4.2 square kilometer piece of land surrounding the temple belongs to Thailand, restricting, in part, access to the temple.



The registration of Preah Vihar on the UNESCO World Heritage List has not helped. Yje [color="#800080"](The)[/color] temple has turned into a nationalist issue. In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen has used the Preah Vihar temple as a means to stir up national fervor. In Thailand, the Abhisit Vejjajiva government is prisoner of conservative nationalist movements, which are actively supported by the “Yellow Shirts” political group. Despite speeches announcing to look for a solution, both governments will not bow and retrocede an inch of their claimed sovereignty over the temple location and its surroundings.



Since the UNESCO inclusion in 2008, incidents and casualties involving both Cambodian and Thai armies have multiplied. Thailand has vowed to block a UNESCO plan to restore the temple, as it would eventually encroach into the infamous 4.2 square kilometers of Thai territory. Cambodia has been prompt to raise Cambodian flags everywhere including on Thailand’s side. Military clashes have followed with the most violent happening over the last four days. According to the Bangkok Post, casualties between both armies claimed already the life of at least 5 Cambodian soldiers, while on Sunday night, 15 Thai soldiers and two villagers were wounded.



Not only lives are lost over the temple issue. Cambodia announced on Monday that a wing of the sacred, unique architectural complex has been destroyed by Thai artillery shooting. Another damaging consequence is the permanent suspicion among Cambodians and Thais. Boh [color="#800080"](Both)[/color] people never liked each other, but the Preah Vihar issue is adding fuel to the flames. Mistrust takes now its toll on behavior on both sides of the border. Talking to Cambodian artist Em Riem about a visit to Bangkok on his way to a show in Paris, he replied that he feared being arrested if leaving the airport’s international perimeter. And some Thai students admitted to feeling angry and insecure, if they would go to Cambodia. It will be a hard task to build up a sense of community among Southeast Asians, as is wanted by ASEAN officials.



4. www.trust.org/alertnet/news/qa-preah-vihar-temple-and-thai-cambodian-tensions/

Quote:Q+A-Preah Vihar temple and Thai-Cambodian tension

06 Feb 2011

Source: reuters // Reuters



[color="#800080"][Photo caption:][/color] This 2010 photo shows Cambodian Confederation of Unions members at a rally in Phnom Penh marking two years since Thai troops were deployed to disputed land surrounding the Preah Vihear temple, along the Cambodia-Thailand border. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

[color="#800080"](Wish someone would tell the pretty Cambodian holding the placard saying "Preah Vihear is the Spirit of Cambodia Forever" - and not just her, but Cambodians and Thais in general - that the Kovil is of greater significance than just an empty heirloom; that it meant far more to their Khmer ancestors who built it than just being a piece of architecture/art.)[/color]



BANGKOK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Thai and Cambodian soldiers exchanged fire on a disputed stretch of their border on Sunday, witnesses said, the third flare-up in three days in an ancient feud over territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu temple.



The latest fighting occurred despite Thailand's announcement of a ceasefire on Saturday following clashes in the area that killed at least five people on Friday and Saturday.



For main story, click on )



Below are some facts about the temple, the territorial dispute and possible political ramifications in Thailand.



WHAT'S THE HISTORY OF PREAH VIHEAR?



Preah Vihear, or Khao Phra Viharn as the Thais call it, was completed in the 11th century and predates Cambodia's more famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 100 years.



Many say its stunning setting atop a jungle-clad escarpment overlooking northern Cambodia also eclipses its celebrated cousin as the finest of all the ruins left from the mighty Khmer civilisation.



The temple has in recent years been accessible mainly from Thailand. Landmines and Khmer Rouge guerrillas kept it off-limits from the Cambodian side for decades.





WHY THE DISPUTE?



Both sides have historically laid claim to the temple but a 1962 World Court ruling awarded it to Cambodia.



Thailand and Cambodia have squabbled ever since over demarcation of the border and jurisdiction over 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of land around Preah Vihear, which was not covered by the ruling.



For generations, the temple has stirred nationalist passions on both sides. Before the court in The Hague made its ruling, Thailand's government organised a fundraiser in which every citizen donated 1 baht to pay for the legal team.





HAS THERE BEEN VIOLENCE OVER THIS IN THE PAST?



Cambodia's bid since March 2008 to list the ruins as a World Heritage Site sparked an exchange of gunfire in October that year in which one Thai and three Cambodian soldiers were killed.



There have been sporadic flare-ups since then, the most recent in April last year.



Relations with Cambodia have become a bone of contention in long-running hostility between Thai political factions with pro-establishment "yellow shirt" activists accusing their main rival, ousted former populist premier Thaksin Shinawatra, of colluding with Cambodia to Thailand's detriment.



The temple dispute has been back in the headlines since the end of last year, when a group of activists allied with the "yellow shirts" was arrested for allegedly encroaching into Cambodian territory.



A Cambodian court sentenced two of them on Feb. 1 to jail terms of six and eight years for trespass and spying.



"Yellow shirt" protesters demonstrating over the territorial dispute near the Thai prime minister's office since Jan. 25 have threatened to step up their protests as a result, putting pressure on the government to take a tougher line.





HOW IS THE DISPUTE BEING RESOLVED?



The two countries routinely pledge cooperation over the temple, give guarantees their border troops will not engage in hostilities and agree to delineate the border once and for all, but the quarrelling never seems to stop.



Thailand wants joint development and supervision of the Hindu temple, which could one day be a lucrative tourist site.



However, the temple debate is often used in both countries as a tool to gain popular support or to distract the public from other issues. (Compiled by Martin Petty and Alan Raybould; Editing by Jason Szep and Robert Birsel)





5. On the current clash:

www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Thailand-and-Cambodia-Border-Uneasy-Calm-After-Clashes-Villagers-Wait-to-Return-Home-115558629.html

Quote:Thailand and Cambodia Border Uneasy Calm After Clashes

Daniel Schearf | Si Sa Ket, Thailand February 08, 2011




[image caption:]Thai residents evacuate from the Thai-Cambodian border, at Kantharalak in Si Sa Ket province,Thailand, February 7, 2011.



Thai say they have resumed discussions with Cambodia to try to establish a ceasefire in a disputed border area. Military clashes over the weekend left at least seven people dead and sent thousands of villagers fleeing the area.



Thai and Cambodian authorities say there has been no new fighting in their disputed border area for more than a day after four days of heavy shooting.



Thai officials in Si Sa Ket province say the two sides also resumed talks and have agreed to stop the fighting.



Colonel Chinnakaj Rattanajitti is a Thai military spokesman for the area.



He says they had talks and agreed to stop the shooting. To avoid [further] violence, both parties will think twice before taking any actions. Before doing anything, he says, they will consult and coordinate with supervisors at all levels.



Cambodian authorities were not immediately available to confirm any agreement.



Colonel Chinnakaj added despite what he called an oral agreement to stop fighting, there is no formal ceasefire.



Cambodian and Thai soldiers exchanged artillery fire during the weekend in territory surrounding the 900-year-old Hindu temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Prah Vihar in Thailand.

(1100 years old. Started in 9th century)



At least seven people on both sides were killed and scores injured in the worst fighting there in years. Both sides blamed the other for starting the fighting.



The border line was never settled and both Thailand and Cambodia claim the area around the temple and have soldiers stationed near it, leading to occasional shoot-outs.



Cambodian authorities say the temple, a United Nations World Heritage site, was hit by Thai shells and damaged. The exchange of artillery fire also damaged homes and schools near the border and sent thousands of villagers fleeing for safety.



At the Kantharalak district office a camp is set up for villagers who fled the fighting.




Fifty-eight-year-old Juntee Patthapin says she and her children have been here since Friday when shrapnel rained down on her village, damaging houses and setting a rubber plantation on fire.



She says her husband goes back to the village daily to feed their fish and chickens and guard their home, but she and the children will go back only when Thai authorities say it is safe.



She says it is risky to go back because they do not know when the Cambodian military is going to start shooting.



Like many of the Thai villagers she supports Thailand's claim to the disputed territory, but also wants the fighting to stop.



For now, villagers welcome the uneasy calm and express hope that it will last so they can return to normal life.
  Reply
On this bit from an earlier post:

Quote:[size="5"]Hindu Heads of Nations [/size]

List updated to include New Zealand. Members see if I missed any names.



[...]



New Zealand

Governor General Anand Satyanand, represents official Head - Queen Elizabeth II (since August 2006)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anand_Satyanand

Quote:Satyanand was born and raised in Auckland to an Indo-Fijian and Anglo-Indian family. His grandparents arrived in Fiji from India in 1911, and were married on Nukulau Island. His father, Mutyala Satyanand, a medical doctor, was born in Sigatoka in 1913 and arrived in New Zealand in 1927 to attend high school.[3] His mother Tara Tillak was a nurse from Suva. She married his father after moving to New Zealand.

[...]



Satyanand married Susan Sharpe in Auckland in 1970. She was born in Sydney, Australia in 1947 and moved to New Zealand with her family in 1955. He and his wife have three adult children. [7]



[...]

Governor-General of New Zealand



Satyanand was appointed by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand,[9] on the advice of Prime Minister Helen Clark. He replaced Dame Silvia Cartwright as Governor-General of New Zealand on 23 August 2006. His appointment was welcomed by every Parliamentary party leader.[10] He is the first Governor-General of Indian descent and the first [color="#FF0000"]Roman Catholic[/color] Governor-General.[1]



[...]

^ a b "Queen approves Catholic for new Kiwi GG". Catholic News. 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2007-08-22.

(An incident as noteworthy as the catholic Kennedy being allowed in power in the US.)



By the way, it's apparent that wasn't "opportunism" that made him or his parents catholic. A late 80s/early 90s German-translated Czechoslovakian book in my possession on country demographics says clearly that, while Australia is predominantly Lutheran, New Zealand is predominantly Anglican. (I can't bother getting out the book to work out what exact percentages the word "predominant" refers to, but clearly it means it's not a catholic country.) So if Satyanand merely wanted to get him accepted or get to the top fast, he'd have chosen something that wouldn't have made the Anglican church/Anglican British-origins as uncomfortable as catholicism does.

And this in turn would imply that Satyanand is very much a believer.





Why the "catholicism" of an appointed person is relevant to the british queen/monarchy/UK (i.e. what it has to do with the psychology of Britain).
  Reply
Filipino Dance with Indian Influence: the neglected Heritage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS2Rqw0K_-c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf2Ib8Vi5Gs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R_EWyqu_ck
  Reply
[url="http://www.meppublishers.com/online/caribbean-beat/archive/index.php?pid=6001&id=cb18-2-76"]The Temple in the Sea[/url]

by Niala Maharaj



Niala Maharaj tells the story of a man who was determined to build a temple despite every obstacle thrown his way



Quote:[Image: cb18-1-76_img3_fs.jpg][Image: cb18-1-76_img1_fs.jpg]

Renovated and restored, the temple was re-opened at the end of last year



Quarter of a mile off the west coast of Trinidad there stands an extraordinary monument to the human spirit: a magnificent Hindu temple, completed and consecrated at the end of 1995, standing in the sea. It bears the name Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir, and its history goes back far beyond the celebrations of last December.



For many years, an earlier Hindu temple, at the end of a causeway, withstood tides, breezes and neglect. It was the creation of one man -- alone, unaided and ridiculed, his largest tool an ordinary bicycle.



"Engineers does want to know how he did it," said a resident of the nearby village of Waterloo. "He got oil drums from Lever Brothers, filled them up with concrete and tied them together with steel. That was how he made the foundation."



But the real foundation was tenacity. It led Sewdass Sadhu, a poor indentured labourer from India, to defy not only the elements but the authorities in colonial Trinidad in order to create a place of worship.



"That man went to jail for that temple," a villager known as Mr Sheik declared. Mr Sheik -- whose real name was Ibrahim Khan -- died some years ago, in his eighties; but when I met him, he was still full of admiration for Sewdass Sadhu.



Sadhu was the least jail-going type in the village, a hardworking sugar-worker born in 1901 in the holy city of Benares on the River Ganges. "He was not a talker," Mr Sheik recalled. "If you and he stay together for hours you would hardly hear him talk. You had to do all the talking. He neither smoked nor drank."



The one thing that made Sadhu noticeable was that he saved his meagre wages and went back to India every few years to worship at the holy shrines there. "I once asked him why he went back so often," said Mr Sheik. "He said he had made a promise to Bhajiwan (God) to return."



But as the years passed, the cost of the trip rose. It became more difficult for a labourer working for around $20 a month to keep up this regular pilgrimage. So he decided to create a holy place in Trinidad instead, by the calm Gulf of Paria. "I believe the sea here was like the Ganges to him," one of the villagers said.



Sadhu chose a piece of unused swamp land close to the shore and began construction. It continued month after month.



"Seven days a week he used to pass my house on his bicycle," Mr Sheik recalled. "I used to call out to him Salaam, salaam' and he used to reply, 'Ram, Ram.' He wasn't the kind of man to stop and blag, you know."



But Sadhu finished his temple, and the result was a place of renowned beauty.



"You know that flower, gaandar kapoor?" Mr Sheik asked. "He planted so much of it that you could smell the temple from a distance. He planted eleven kinds of flowers, and vegetables too. And that garden used to be full of the most beautiful butterflies. All kinds of butterflies that you don't see anywhere else. You didn't have to be one of the Hindu faith to feel the beauty of the place."



"Especially for Kartik (the festival of the sea), we used to have crowds of people here," another villager remembers. "They used to have three day- festivals. People used to come and stay and cook and sing ... "



Sadhu had finally created a place of pilgrimage for Hindus in Trinidad, which had few public temples at the time.



That was in the late 1930s. But then the management of the sugar company, who owned all the land in that area, noticed that a building had been constructed on their property. Though the swampy ground had no commercial value, they demanded that Sadhu demolish the temple.



That was asking him to commit a sin. No matter what threats they used, all he would say was, "I cannot break down that."



They took the matter to the court in Port of Spain. Sadhu was fined $500, more than two years' wages, and was sentenced to 14 days in prison for trespassing. He had to pay the fine in instalments.



"He make a jail." Just thinking of it, Mr Sheik burst into tears. "Sadhu was such a soft man, and he make an honourable jail rather than break the temple."



The sugar company was granted a court order to demolish the temple. But since they could not persuade any local person to undertake this task, a British overseer named Gunn, "a large red-faced man" according to Mr Sheik, drove the bulldozer that finally wiped Sadhu's creation from the face of the earth.



According to some accounts, Sadhu warned Gunn, "Just as you break that temple with that bulldozer, so you too will be broken." Others say he just pleaded quietly with the overseer. Whatever the truth, within a month, Gunn was dead. As he was bulldozing a tree some distance away, it fell on him and broke his back. In addition, stated Ramnarine Binda, a former local government councillor for the area and a sugar company official, the Englishman who had given the order for the demolition died suddenly of disease soon after.



As soon as Sadhu was released from prison, say village reports, he was back at the site of his former temple, dejected but not broken. He set about purchasing a truck. He began to collect broken bricks from a nearby brick factory. He dumped them on the shore, day after day, load after load, in a straight line out to sea. Flattening them down by hand, he inched his way into the ocean with the truck. After several weeks, he had created an extended walkway into the water.



[Image: cb18-1-76_img2_fs.jpg]

Sadhu's daughter Indrawati stands beside the statue of her father, erected last year as part of the celebrations making the 150th anniversary of the first Indian arrivals in Trinidad: the dome of the original temple in the background

Photo: Sean Drakes



Visitors were intrigued. "I used to have two fishing trawlers," Mr Sheik said, "and I used to be at the same spot in the evening waiting for them to come in. I used to watch Sadhu working for three-four hours out there in the sea."



One day the tide came up while Sadhu was still working. The truck was trapped and couldn't be moved till next morning. It was so badly damaged it couldn't be repaired.



"You would have thought that would stop Sadhu." Mr Sheik raised his eyebrows. "But no. He just continued working. He would put two buckets onto the handlebars of his bicycle. In one he would have cement, in the other, sand. And he would wheel those buckets out along the walkway he had made, day after day. That is how he built that mandir. I am talking about one man, not six men. He did that for more than a year.



Sadhu was building, not just a temple, but an entire prayer complex, with three mandirs, a kitchen, a dining room, a restroom and another room. Around the whole thing ran a verandah.



"We used to say the sea will wash away everything," Binda said. "Sometimes I used to pass and see him up to his waist in water, building. We all laughed at him, I included."



But once the project was completed, it became the focus of admiration for visitors from far and wide. Hundreds of people came for days and weeks at a time, especially at Kartik and other important Hindu occasions. The sea rang with music and prayer.



"I used to go down the islands with my trawlers," said Mr Sheik. "And quite from the Bocas I could see Sadhu's kootiah, white and beautiful in the distance. You could use it as a guide to go home."



Sadhu, too, finally went home, on his last pilgrimage in India before he died in 1970 of a heart attack. But before that, villagers say, he spent many happy hours in his temple.



For a while, the fruit of his faith was left in the hands of the sea, a fact that grieved Waterloo villagers of all faiths and races. Not only Hindus felt strongly about it. "I am a Muslim," thundered Mr Sheik, "and this is a Hindu business. But it is hurting me to see the destruction. A man make an honourable jail for that temple. You mean to say we can't keep it up".



But Mr Sheik got his wish. In 1994, work on reconstructing Sadhu's temple began, restoring it as a place of worship, a place of beauty and dedication, a shrine and monument to the spirit of a remarkable man. Eighteen months later, on December 10, 1995, the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir was consecrated, with Sadhu's remaining family among the large crowds.



In a sense, Sewdass Sadhu himself watched the festivities: for a handsome statue of him now stands upon the shore.



Research assistance by Sean Drakes and Floyd Homer
  Reply
Heathen Hindu Cambodians of about a millennium back.



theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/11/lost-city-medieval-discovered-hidden-beneath-cambodian-jungle



Quote:Revealed: Cambodia's vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle

Lara Dunston in Siem Reap

Saturday 11 June 2016 04.05 BST

[vidcaption] New technology reveals hidden cities in the Angkor region

Exclusive: Laser technology reveals cities concealed under the earth which would have made up the world’s largest empire in 12th century





Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat, the Guardian can reveal, in groundbreaking discoveries that promise to upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history.



The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.



Some experts believe that the recently analysed data – captured in 2015 during the most extensive airborne study ever undertaken by an archaeological project, covering 734 sq miles (1,901 sq km) – shows that the colossal, densely populated cities would have constituted the largest empire on earth at the time of its peak in the 12th century.



Evans said: “We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there – at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and, it turns out, we uncovered only a part of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen [in the 2012 survey] … this time we got the whole deal and it’s big, the size of Phnom Penh big.”



A research fellow at Siem Reap’s École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and the architect of the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative (Cali), Evans will speak at the Royal Geographic Society in London about the findings on Monday.



Evans obtained European Research Council (ERC) funding for the project, based on the success of his first lidar (light detection and ranging) survey in Cambodia in 2012. That uncovered a complex urban landscape connecting medieval temple-cities, such as Beng Mealea and Koh Ker, to Angkor, and confirmed what archaeologists had long suspected, that there was a city beneath Mount Kulen. It was not until the results of the significantly larger 2015 survey were analysed that the size of the city was apparent.



That survey uncovered an array of discoveries, including elaborate water systems that were built hundreds of years before historians believed the technology existed. The findings are expected to challenge theories on how the Khmer empire developed, dominated the region, and declined around the 15th century, and the role of climate change and water management in that process.

(Hindu kingdoms in Bharatam of this period had elaborate water systems too.* In fact, didn't Harrappa as well?

* E.g. Hindus' step wells that date from at least the 4th century CE in Bharatam:

mentalfloss.com/article/80510/indias-ancient-stepwells-are-sunken-architectural-masterpieces )






“Our coverage of the post-Angkorian capitals also provides some fascinating new insights on the ‘collapse’ of Angkor,” Evans said. “There’s an idea that somehow the Thais invaded and everyone fled down south – that didn’t happen, there are no cities [revealed by the aerial survey] that they fled to. It calls into question the whole notion of an Angkorian collapse.”



(Oh no, not the Thai Invasion Theory. What is it with the west that they conclude that "cities/civilisations are abandoned" because of "invasions".)



The Angkor temple ruins, which sprawl across the Unesco-protected Angkor archaeological park, are the country’s top tourist destination, with the main temple-city, Angkor Wat, appearing on the Cambodian national flag. Considered the most extensive urban settlement of pre-industrial times, and boasting a highly sophisticated water management system, Angkor’s supposed decline has long occupied archaeologists.



The new cities were found by firing lasers to the ground from a helicopter to produce extremely detailed imagery of the Earth’s surface. Evans said the airborne laser scanners had also identified large numbers of mysterious geometric patterns formed from earthen embankments, which could have been gardens.



Experts in the archaeological world agree these are the most significant archaeological discoveries in recent years.



Michael Coe, emeritus professor of anthropology at Yale University and one of the world’s pre-eminent archaeologists, specialises in Angkor and the Khmer civilisation.



“I think that these airborne laser discoveries mark the greatest advance in the past 50 or even 100 years of our knowledge of Angkorian civilisation,” he said from Long Island in the US.



[imgcaption to overgrown elephant statue:] There is an undiscovered city beneath Mount Kulen. Photograph: Terence Carter



“I saw Angkor for the first time in 1954, when I wondered at the magnificent temples, but there was nothing to tell us who had lived in the city, where they had lived, and how such an amazing culture was supported. To a visitor, Angkor was nothing but temples and rice paddies.”



Charles Higham, research professor at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the leading archaeologist of mainland south-east Asia, said it was the most exciting paper he could recall reading.



“I have been to all the sites described and at a stroke, they spring into life … it is as if a bright light has been switched on to illuminate the previous dark veil that covered these great sites,” Higham said. “Personally, it is wonderful to be alive as these new discoveries are being made. Emotionally, I am stunned. Intellectually, I am stimulated.”



David Chandler, emeritus professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, the foremost expert on Cambodian history and the author of several books and articles on the subject, said the work was thrilling and credited Evans and his colleagues with “rewriting history”.



Chandler said he believed it would open up a series of perspectives that would help people know more about Angkorian civilisation, and how it flourished and eventually collapsed.



“It will take time for their game-changing findings to drift into guide books, tour guides, and published histories,” Chandler said. “But their success at putting hundreds of nameless, ordinary, Khmer-speaking people back into Cambodia’s past is a giant step for anyone trying to deal with Cambodian history.”

(Who in their right mind thought that Khmer-speaking Cambodians didn't have great history? All heathens knew it. I guess the west didn't credit them and merely dismissed them as - what's that phrase - "small dark and rice-eating" heathens.)



David Kyle, an archaeologist and ecological anthropologist has conducted projects at Phnom Kulen, the location of the biggest findings, the massive city of Mahendraparvata, the size of Phnom Penh, beneath the forest floor.



He said the “survey results have revolutionised our understanding and approaches. It’s impossible not to be excited. It facilitates a paradigm shift in our comprehension of the complexity, size and the questions we can address.”



While the 2012 survey identified a sprawling, highly urbanised landscape at Greater Angkor, including rather “spectacularly” in the “downtown” area of the temple-city of Angkor Wat, the 2015 project has revealed a similar pattern of equally intense urbanism at remote archaeological ruins, including pre- and post-Angkorian sites.



Glimpses of a medieval metropolis

[img caption:] Lidar technology filters out vegetation to model hidden surface detail as seen near the Banteay Srei temple where evidence of Angkorian cultivation was obscured by modern agriculture

[img caption:] A previously unknown major city built around a temple at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and connected by road to Angkor was revealed by the Lidar scan

[img caption:] The survey revealed unexplained linear patterns near temple cities like Beng Mealea. Formed from earthen embankments, they may have been gardens



Dr Peter Sharrock, who is on the south-east Asian board at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies and has a decades-long connection to Cambodia, said the findings showed “clear data for the first time of dense populations settled in and around all ancient Khmer temples”.



“This urban and rural landscape, linked by road and canal networks, now seems to have constituted the largest empire on earth in the 12th century,” Sharrock said.



Evans, whose domain is an air-conditioned room full of computers at the French archaeological centre in Siem Reap, rather than dirt trenches at far-flung digs, is modest about his achievements and quick to credit his colleagues on the Cali project.



[img caption:] A fight scene depicted in detail in the bas-reliefs at the Banteay Chhmar temple complex. Photograph: Terence Carter



He said he believed the discoveries would completely upend many assumptions about the Khmer empire. He also hoped it would bring the study of people back into the picture.



Coe, who has been to many of the places covered by the survey and has seen the imagery, said that while the 2012 survey of Phnom Kulen demonstrated what the technology could do – “it could look through the dense jungle covering these hills and reveal an unexpected city which predated Angkor itself” – the 2015 survey took this into new dimensions.



This view was shared by Dr Mitch Hendrickson, the director of the industries of Angkor project and assistant professor in the department of anthropology at the University of Illinois. He said the initial survey had been “an incredible leap forward” in archaeologists’ ability to see everything for the first time and had been “a major game-changer” in understanding how the Angkorian Khmer people built, modified and lived in their cities. But he was “stunned” by the second survey.



“The results for Preah Khan of Kompong Svay are truly remarkable and are arguably the jewel in the crown of this mission. The lidar shows us that there was much, much more,” Hendrickson said, referencing a full-blown community layout that was previously unknown. “It’s both humbling and exciting. There are so many fantastic new discoveries.”



“We knew that Preah Khan of Kompong Svay was significant before the lidar – it’s the largest complex ever built during the Angkorian period at 22 sq km, it is connected to Angkor directly by a major road fitted with infrastructure, and likely played a role in facilitating iron supply to the capital.



[img caption:] The team at Siem Reap’s École Française d’Extrême-Orient look at a map of the site. Photograph: Terence Carter



“The new results suggest that it may have been more important than many temples built in Angkor and that it had a decent-sized population supporting it.”



Dr Martin Polkinghorne, a research fellow in the department of archaeology at Adelaide’s Flinders University who is conducting a joint research project on Longvek and Oudong, the post-Angkorian capitals, said his team would use the data during excavations scheduled until 2019 to understand the cities.



“The decline of Angkor is among the most significant events in the history of south-east Asia, but we do not have a precise date for the event,” Polkinghorne said. “By using lidar to guide excavations on the capitals of Cambodia that followed we can determine when the kings of Angkor moved south and clarify the end of Angkor.



“Cambodia after Angkor is customarily understood in terms of loss, retreat and absence; a dark age,” he said. “Yet, Cambodia was alive with activity after Angkor. South-east Asia was the hub of international trade between east and west. Using the lidar at Longvek and Oudong in combination with conventional archaeology we will reveal the dark age as equally rich, complex and diverse.”





What is a lidar survey?



An airborne laser scanner (ALS) is mounted to a helicopter skid pad. Flying with pre-determined guidelines, including altitude, flight path and airspeed, the ALS pulses the terrain with more than 16 laser beams per square metre during flights. The time the laser pulse takes to return to the sensor determines the elevation of each individual data point.



The data downloaded from the ALS is calibrated and creates a 3D model of the information captured during the flights. In order to negate tree foliage and manmade obstacles from the data, any sudden and radical changes in ground height are mapped out, with technicians who have models of the terrain fine-tuning the thresholds in processing these data points. Once completed, the final 3D model is handed over to the archaeologists for analysis, which can take months to process into maps.






(Noticed two more items - not related to Hinduism or Cambodia - that were linked off the above:

- theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/may/15/drowned-worlds-egypts-sunken-cities

- theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/may/17/british-museum-sunken-cities-review-archaeology-indiana-jones-hyperbole

The images are worth the look.)
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Quote:#HinduDialogues: Did Indians Fail to Understand Islam's Nature | Shankara B | Rahul D | #SangamTalks

This insightful conversation between Rahul Dewan and Shankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli digs deep into the savage warfare tactics of Islamic invaders vs Dharmic Indian rulers and the latter's response to these unseen savage tactics of warfare by the Afghans, Turks and Mongols invading in succession.
The difference between paganism which is inherently nationalist and Abrahamism which is inherently trans-national is also discussed here alongwith the Caliphate's Islamic ideologic reign and its geo-political savage capturing/invading thrusts to propagate Islam across the world.
Also discussed in this talk is the myth of Akbar's so called 'syncretism' and 'secularism' and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's response to Islamic terror via Hindavi Swaraj.
Sadly, Hindus have never been given credit of civilizing these barbaric Islamic invaders to a great extent, rather we have only been fed an invader centric history.
The need is to establish Dharma-Rajya in order to eliminate the Colonial hangover looming large and embedded in every public/govt. institution and document in our country today.

My comment on Sangam Talks:
Quote:Bappa Rawal
We need to urgently remove this myth that India never invaded another country.We were never passive but people think that and have become passive.
[LS]
This myth of passivity and nonviolence which began with Ashoka has been developed extensively during the British Raj. It worked for Ashoka in a subtle expansion, spreading Buddhism outside peacefully and more recently for the British (and the secular state which we've inherited) to keep us reined in.


Wars were fought between Indian kingdoms of the same culture, but Bharata never conducted imperialism/colonialism. Afghanistan/Central Asia and Southeast Asia were all part of the greater Indian culture since time immemorial. Fractious tendencies to separate from Bharatiya culture were only introduced with monotheism, which is alien to Bharata. There were however some expeditions conducted into former Hindu Lands; these were part of the "fight-back" against Islam, and thus do not constitute colonial wars of aggression.  Because they cannot withstand to be superseded, the monotheists want to portray Hindus as wanton barbarians (with a civilized veneer) just like they are. Let's not fall into their trap. I agree with you though that we were not passive, but neither were we demonic. We were Dharmic through and through.
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