Friday, November 26, 2010

The Hindu Temples of Angkor Wat part.III


                 The walls could have contained the whole of ancient Rome, but most people lived in the suburbs outside. The walled area was almost exclusively a royal, religious, and administrative centre. Beyond the suburbs, villages were scattered along the canals- the arteries which carried water, the nation’s lifeblood, to the paddy fields.

                IN 1992, THE RUINS OF Angkor became a world heritage site. Under the guidance of UNESCO, archaeologists began to investigate, preserve, and restore its unique monuments; the carvings on its stones have left many clues to the pattern of everyday life in ancient Kampuchea. Each peasant built his own house, following a design that remains unchanged to this day- a hut on stilts with a pitched roof, woven bamboo walls, and a planked floor. Inside, a single large room was divided by partitions. At night, the peasant tied his animals to the stilts and claimed inside the house using a crude wooden ladder, which he drew up behind him. Outside, piles of smouldering straw sent smoke wafting between the stilts to ward of insects.

                The Khmer peasant usually produced enough from his well irrigated plot to pay his takes and feed his family. He fished, and reared cattle, water buffaloes, pigs and fowl to barter for other goods in the local market. The women gathered cotton and kapok, kept silk warms, and wove the family’s clothes. Thought the peasants controlled their own land, the king remained the legal landowner. During the dry season, as part of their duty to their landlord, the peasants left their small holdings to erect public monuments and build dams, working together for the good of all and for the glory of their leader.

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