Cultural Contacts between India and Cambodia: Architecture, Sculptures and Inscriptions

India Foundation’s Center for Soft Power hosted a collaborative discussion on the theme “Cultural Contacts between India and Cambodia: Architecture, Sculptures and Inscriptions” on 16.07.2019. The main speaker of the event was Dr. Chithra Madhavan. The round table was attended by numerous esteemed guests.

“India’s imprints have travelled to Southeast Asia primarily through trade and culture in what is described today as soft power. Cambodia is one of the rare countries which has a temple on its flag”, said Dr. Madhavan. She also said “Mount Kulen in Cambodia is made of sandstone. It is considered sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists. It truly symbolises India’s shared heritage with Cambodia.”

Dr. Madhavan said “A lot of Indian thought is discernible in the architecture of temples in Cambodia. Inscriptions in Sanskrit can be found too. In Banteay Srei temple, close to 11 inscriptions have been found in Sanskrit.” “There is ample proof for links between South Indian temples and Cambodian temples”, Dr. Chithra Madhavan said.

Dr. Madhavan alsop said “The tradition of depicting Karaikal Ammaiyar along with Nataraja is ingrained in Chola-period architecture. Ammaiyar belonged to the list of 63 Nayanmar saints. And this tradition has been duly transported across the sea to Cambodia.” “The names of the Khmer kings like Jayavarman, Suryavarman, Yashovarman and their cities Shambupura, Ratnagiri, Mahendraparvata have roots in Sanskrit.”

“Panels on some important scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Samudra Manthan can be seen at the famous Angkor Wat temple”, she explained. Dr. Madhavan said that Ta Prohm is one of the finest Buddhist temples in Cambodia. It was used as a location for the film, Tomb Raider. The interaction ended with CSP felicitating Dr. Madhavan for the interactive session.

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