Showing posts with label angkor wat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label angkor wat. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cambodia's Vast Medieval Cities Hidden Beneath the Jungle


Revealed Undocumented Medieval Cities – Temple City of Angkor Wat

Cambodian archaeologists have discovered various earlier undocumented medieval cities near the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat. The Guardian can reveal in revolutionary discoveries which tend to turn overkey assumption regarding the history of the south-east Asia. Dr Damian Evans, the Australian archaeologist, whose discoveries had been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science recently, would be announcing that cutting edge airborne laser scanning technology has exposed several cities between 900 and 1,400 years old below the tropical forest ground, some of which tend to oppose the size of the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.

Some of the experts are of the belief that the recently studied data, taken in 2015 at the time of the extensive airborne study that was undertaken by an archaeological project over a span of 734 sq. km indicates that the massive thickly populated cities could have founded the biggest empire on earth during the time of its peak in the 12th century.Evans has informed that they have entire cities discovered below the forest which no one is aware of, at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and it seems that they have uncovered only a section of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen and this time they have got the whole deal which is big, the size of Phnom Penh.

European Research Council – ERC Funding

For the project, Evans had attained European Research Council – ERC funding, based on the success of his first light detection and ranging survey in 2012, in Cambodia which had discovered a difficult urban landscape linking medieval temple-cities like Beng Mealea and Koh Ker, to Angkor and had confirmed what the archaeologist had long ago assumed that there seems to be a city below Mount Kulen.

 It was till the results of the bigger survey of 2015 had been analysed that the size of the city was obvious. The survey had discovered a collection of findings, inclusive of intricate water systems which were built hundreds of years before the historians had believed that the technology prevailed. These discoveries are projected to challenge theories on how the empire of Khmer had been established, dominated the region and decline towards the 15th century as well as the role of climate change together with the water management in the process.

Highly Refined Water Management System

The temple ruins of Angkor that stretches across the UNESCO protected Angkor archaeological park seem to be the country’s highest destination for tourists, with the main temple city, Angkor Wat seen on the national flag of Cambodia.

The presumed decline of Angkor has long engaged the archaeologists, taking into account the most extensive urban settlement of pre-industrial times as well as boasting on the highly refined water management system. The new cities have been discovered through firing lasers to the ground from helicopter in producing tremendously detailed imagery of the surface of the Earth.

 Evans has mentioned that the airborne laser scanners had also recognized huge numbers of enigmatic geometric pattern that had been formed from earthen mounds that could have been gardens. Emeritus professor of anthropology at Yale University and one of the distinguished archaeologist, Michael Coe, specialising in Angkor and the Khmer civilization has stated from Long Island in the US, that he thinks these airborne laser findings symbols the greatest progress in the past 50 or even 100 years of knowledge of Angkorian civilization.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hindu Temples of Angkor Wat part.v

              The most of the vivid account of Khmer society comes not from the bas reliefs but from the writings of the Chinese diplomat. In 1296, Zhou Daguan was sent to Angkor by Kublai Khan’s grandson and successor, Timur Khan. His impressions survive in his notes on The Custom of Cambodia.

                As a diplomat, Zhou Daguan observed the Khmer king at close quarters during royal audiences, and described the pomp and circumstances of the court: ‘The king either wears a gold diadem on his head or simply warps his hair in a garland of flowers that reminds me of jasmine… large pearls hang from his neck, and on his wrists, ankles, and arms he wears gold bracelets and rings set with tiger’s eyes. He goes about barefoot, and the soles of his feet and the palms of his hands are stained red with sandalwood.

                ‘When the king goes out, his escort is led by soldiers. Then come the standards, the flags, and music, followed by his wives, and concubines in palanquins, carts, and on horseback. Finally, the king arrives, standing on an elephant with a precious gold sword in his hand. Everyone who sees him has to prostrate himself and touch the ground with his forehead.

                In contrast to his splendor, Zhou Daguan paints a sorry picture of the prisoners of war or captured savages who were forced into slavery they were a separate class with no privileges, ’bending the head while they are beaten, without daring to make a small movement…

Despite the blaze of royal splendor described by Zhou Daguan, Angkor’s days were numbered. The reign of Jayavarman VII had turned out to be the city’s final burst of temple and empire building. During the 300 years of construction, many changes in architectural style had occurred. Towards the end, the buildings displaced a gradual move away from the Hindu cult of the god Siva

The Khmers had come increasingly under the influence of the Buddhist sect which stressed austerity and self denial. The old state religion headed by the supreme god king may have faded out, the kings authority fading with it, bringing the close cooperation between sovereign and subjects to an end.

In the 15th century, when the armies of the neighboring Thai kingdoms sacked the city, the Khmers moved to a new site near Phnom Penh. Angkor could not survive for long. The irrigation network on which the remaining peasants depended fell into disrepair, and gradually the jungle reclaimed its land. All that was left were creeper infested ruins, and the memory of  a unique culture living under the protection of a living god.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Hindu Temples of Angkor Wat part.IV

In the bas-reliefs which decorate the Bayon temple built by Jayavarman VII, the Khmers recorded their day to day activities. The carvings show people bartering and hunting. Other prepare feasts, watch cockfights, or marvel at amazing acrobatic feats. 

                 The bas- reliefs in the Bayon also depict vivid battle scenes commemorating the victory of the Khmers over the Chams, which tell something of the army that extended the power of the empire throughout southern Indo China.

                 The king and his generals rode into battle on elephants trained for war. The animals were armed- sharp metal points were fitted to their tusks. On a platform on each elephant’s back stood a fierce warrior brandishing a bow and arrow. The Carnac, or the driver, perched in the animal’s neck. In battle, clashes between elephants-bore warriors often took the form of the duel. The winning warrior would leap on to his opponent’s animal to press home his victory.

                 Lighted torches were waved to enrage other elephants, which were then used as battering rams to break through enemy defenses. They went into battle alongside sabre-rattling horsemen, riding without stirrups, and well ordered ranks of infantry. After an initial exchange of arrows, the troops fell into hand to hand combat. When the battle ended, the wounded on both sides were usually killed to put them out of their misery.

                 The Khmers soldiers seem to have worn only loincloths and leather jerkins. For protection they carried wooden shields. They attacked their enemies with lances, pikes, sabres, bows, knives, javelins, and sometimes ballistas- large catapults operated by teams of soldiers, which hurled rocks a deep into the ranks of the opposing arm.

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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Hindu Temples of Angkor Wat part.II

                Jayavarman declared himself; a god king- a link between mankind and the spirits. He began a grand tradition of temple building that was to be kept alive by future Khmer rulers. The god kings, most of who were Hindus, marked their link with the divine by adorning their temples with statues of the principal gods made in their own likenesses. The duty of the god king was to win the favor of the other gods for the benefit of his subjects. While the temples paid tribute to the generosity of these gods, who helped to swell the city’s rice harvests, the scared states remained worshippers of the power of their supreme ruler.

                Each Khmer king, as well as adding to the irrigation network, tried to outshine his predecessor with the splendor of his temple. The brilliant of all is Angkor Wat, built by Suryavarman II. Like most of the Khmers’ temples, Angkor Wat is a symbol of Mount Meru – in Hindu legend, the home of the gods.

                 Shortly after Angkor Wat’s construction, the Khmer capital was sacked by the Chams from lower Annam (present day Vietnam). Its people endured four years of submission, until the future Jayavarman VII led a rebellion which drove out the hated invaders. Then embarked on an ambitious program of construction and rebuilt the royal capital.

              Jayavarman VII‘s city is known as Angkor Thom. The square moat which surrounds it was once stocked with fierce crocodiles. Each side is more than 3 Km long and is reinforced by defensive walls of 7 meter high. The main through fares align with the points of the compass, entering the city across the moat and through gateways large enough to allow the access of royal elephants. They meet in the centre of the capital, at the massive temple of the Bayon.

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.