Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Hindu Temples of Angkor Wat part.I

               The fabulous city of the Khmers, whose empire covered most of modern Cambodia and Thailand, was only rediscovered in 1860. While its temples still pay tribute to the gods and god kings, they also tell of the daily life of the peasants whose labor created it.

                Today’s Kampucheans trace their origins back to a Hindu people, the Khmers. The Khmers ruled a large area of south East Asia for some 500 years, until the early 15th century Ad when the neighboring Thais drove them from their home in what was then Cambodia. More than 400 years later, in January 1860, a French naturalist making his way along a vine entangled track in the Kampuchean jungle caught sight of five conical towers rising above a canopy of trees. Henri Mouhot had stumbled upon a vast monument of this vanished civilization – the ruined city of Angkor, ancient capital of the Khmers.

                THE Khmer empire flourished between the 9th and 14th centuries across the whole of modern Kampuchea and parts of South Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Its founder, king Jayavarman II, chose a site for his capital near the Angkor plain a vast tract of fertile land watered by tributaries of the Mekong River.

                The city’s people fed well all year round. Making the most of the brief monsoonal wet season, they used a complex system of reservoirs and canals to supply water to their rice paddies during periods of drought.

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