Hindu and Buddhist Monuments and Remains In South-East Asia

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Item Code: IDK523
Author: Amar Nath Khanna
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788173053481
Pages: 221 (Plates: Color 42, B/W 63, & Maps 3)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.3" X 8.8"
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Book Description
From the Jacket

Indian religious art and culture have exercised an extraordinary influence on South-East Asia (earlier called Greater India or Further India). All across South-East Asia, Indian religious world inspired the raising of astonishing monuments, some of which remained unequalled even in the mother country.

The Sailendra (Lords of Mountains) rulers of Java (Indonesia) built the magnificient ninth century Mahayana Buddhist stupa of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world and an invaluable heritage of mankind. At a short distance was built the great Hindu complex of Prambanan. In central Myanmar, more than 2,000 red-brick temples and monuments mark the city of Pagan, for 400 years the capital of people who also dedicated much of their labour and wealth to the service of their faith. Angkor in Cambodia can boast of the world's largest religious monument and most inspired and spectacular temple complex in the world, which is dedicated to Vishnu. Ayutthaya, a vast and majestic city of Thailand, has 400 splendid temples. In Vietnam, three important groups of temples are My Son, Dong Duong and Po Nagar, the second being Buddhist and the other two Saivite. The first royal Sivalinga in south-East Asia was established at My Son and the oldest Sanskrit inscription was found in a village called Vo Canh near Nha Trang in the southern part of Vietnam. Wat Phou is Laos' own mini-Angkor. It preserves the glory of Hinduism far away from the land of its origin, the Indian sub-continent.

To know Indian art in India alone, is to know but half its story. To apprehend it to the full; one must watch it assuming new forms and breaking into new beauties as it spreads over Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam; one must gaze in awe at the unexampled grandeur of its creation in Cambodia and Java. In each of these countries, Indian art encounters a different racial genius, a different local environment, and under their modifying influence it takes on a different garb. Therefore the art of each and everyone of these countries is complimentary to the rest and a knowledge of each, such as this book provides, is indispensable to our understanding of the whole.

About the Author

Sri Amar Nath Khanna was born at Multan in West Punjab in 1936. He holds a Master's degree in History and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Archaeology from, the School (New Institute) of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi. Shri Khanna has had the rare opportunity of visiting and studying monuments and pilgrim shrines scattered all over the Indian subcontinent as well as in South-East Asia, China and Japan during the last half a century. He retired as Senior Technical Officer, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in 1996 while earlier he had been working as a Senior Officer with the President of India. In 1998, he was invited again by Shri R. Venkataraman, former President of India, to work with him even after retirement. He had been the Registering Officer for Antiquities in Himachal Pradesh and was associated with Shri Rajeev Sethi, Padma Bhushan, in the Aditi Exhibition curated by him in the Festival of India, U.S.A., the Basic Human Needs Pavilion set up in Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany and Celebration of 150 years of the First War of Independence, 1857, in 2007. He was associated with Smt. Pupul Jayakar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Heritage and Cultural Resources, in the Festivals of India held in the U.S.A. and Japan and the Year of India in France. He was a Member of the Presidential Delegations to Japan in 1990 and China in 1992.

Shri Khanna's book Archaeology of India was published in 1981. Its revised and enlarged edition which covered Pakistan and Bangladesh also was published in 1992 and was highly appreciated among others by the President of India and Dr. Karl Khandalavala. His book Pilgrim Shrines of India, published in 2003, has won appreciation of H.H. Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya, Dakshin Aamnaya, Sringeri. Shri Khanna has also edited four books, the latest being The Diverse World of Indian Painting, Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2008. Shri Khanna's research papers have been published in leading journals in India. Currently, Shri Khanna is Secretary, Indo-Tibetan Art & Culture Study Group, New Delhi, and Founder Member, Rasaja Foundation, New Delhi.


Sir John Marshall says, 'to know Indian Art in India alone, is to know half its history. Certainly, as far as Buddhist Art is concerned, we must follow it in the wake of Buddhism everywhere'. For, in each country where the doctrine of the 'enlightened one' traveled, it carried over the vitality of its original hypothesis, for a thousand years and more, clothed itself in the habiliments of the local genius in a manner which fills one with wonder and admiration for its inspiring character and its abi9lity to meet the social and human needs of different climes.

The first Sivalinga was established at My Son in the central region of Vietnam near Da Nang and the oldest Sanskrit inscription was found in a village, Vo Conh, near Nha Trang in the southern part of Vietnam. Hundreds of Sanskrit inscriptions discovered in Cambodia are in flawless kavya style. All the common metres have been explored in these inscriptions. They show an intimate knowledge of not only the grammatical words of Panini and Patanjali, the four Vedas, the two epics and many kavyas but also with special branches of knowledge-the Siddhantas (mathematics and astronomy), the Darshanas (systems of philosophy) and Susruta's medical treatise. The engravers of these inscriptions were also master-calligraphists.

My Son, Java, Sumatra and Bali have to be judged in the broader context of the Indianisation of South-East Asia as not only architecture but also spiritual and political influences had reached the region.

The ancient kingdom of Champa (now part of Vietnam) incorporated the provinces of Indrapur, Amaravati, Vijaya, Kauthara and Panduranga and lasted for about thirteen centuries. The ancient site of Tra Kieu (Simhapura) with a large number of monuments, statues and bas-reliefs attests to the richness of the culture that once flourished here. Their contact with Indian traders in the fourth century had influenced them strongly and they combined indigenous religions with elements of Hinduism and Indian culture. They used the Indian alphabet which became the first written language of South-East Asia. In ninth century, the Chams – who are said to be of Indonesian origin – also embraced Buddhism.

Indians are still referred to as Orang Kling, a survival of the name Kalinga, by which the Oriyan were once known. The principal part of departure for Suvarnabhumi was Guduru, modern Kodura, at the mouth of the Godavari, and thus on the Andhra Coast, and giving access to the west. This agrees well with the fact that it is really the art and culture of the Deccan, rather than those of South India, of which traces can be seen in the earlier art of Cambodia, Campa and Java.

There were three phases of the evolution of classic Indonesian architecture: (i) AD 600-900, (ii) AD 900-1250, and (iii) AD 1250-1450. Several buildings of the Classical Period, mostly concentrated in Java, are considered to be an invaluable part of the world's cultural heritage, which binds human beings at a sensitive level. Several innovations and divergences from Indian temples can also be noticed. Some great monuments of Java remained unequalled even in the Indian subcontinent.

The religion of the kind and welcoming people of the enchanting island of Bali is Agama Hindu Dharma that is an amalgamation of elements from Hinduism, Buddhism and the pre-existing animist beliefs. What we presently see in Bali was prevalent before the coming of Islam, throughout South-East Asia, called Indian Asia by Zimmer and Greater India or Further India by other scholars. The Puranas refer to it as Dvipantara Bharat, India of the Islands. An eminent writer has aptly written about the Indian expansion:

It was one of the most important civilizing movements of ancient times, worthy to compare with light of her understanding over such distant lands, lands which without her might have remained in darkness.

To quote Vice Admiral R.D. Katari:

So long as we had the command of the seas around us, we played an effective part in the world affairs, but once we lost it, we lost our independence.

The book is intended for the readers interested in the art and architecture of India and South-East Asia (earlier called Greater India), for the study of Indian art in the Indian sub-continent alone means half its history while a study of both means a complete understanding. It is also meant for the students of history of art and archaeology of India and those interested in the cultural heritage of Asia.


Preface vii
List of Illustrationsxiii
1 Cultural Interface of India with South-East Asia1
2 Sri Ksetra9
3 Bagan (Pagan)10
4 Mandalay13
5 Yangon (Rangoon)16
6 Dvaravati21
7 Nakhon Si Thammarat (South Thailand)23
8 Chaiya (South Thailand)24
9 Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) (North-East Thailand)25
10 Sukhothai and Phitsanulok26
12 Chiang Mai31
13 Ayutthaya32
14 Bangkok35
15 Fu-Nan45
16 Cambodia48
17 Angkor Wat51
18 Angkor Thom54
19 Benteay Srei57
20 Preah Khan58
21 The Bayon59
22 Laos65
23 Luang Prabang67
24 Vientiane69
25 Champassak and Wat Phou71
26 Champa75
27 Vietnam76
28 My Son: Central Region of Vietnam77
29 Da Nang (Central Vietnam)79
30 Phan Thiet81
31 Phan Rang82
32 Malaysia87
33 Kedah89
34 Bujang Valley (Perak)92
35 The Kinta Valley (Perak)95
36 Gunug Santubong (Sarawak, Malaysia)96
37 Singapore101
38 The Asian Civilisations Museum and the National Museum, Singapore104
39 Indonesia111
40 Caitra Festival (Bubat, Sumatra)115
41 Prambanan, Java119
42 Prambanan, Java125
43 The Javanese God: The Wonoboyo Hoard133
44 Banten (West Java)135
45 Bali136
46 Lombok141
47 Borneo (Barhina-Dvipa) Muara Kaman, District Koti145
48 Manila149
Appendix I : South Korea: (a) Busan (Pusan), (c) Gyeongju, (d) Bulguk-sa and (e) Seokguram153
Appendix II : Gurdwaras in Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines157
Appendix III : List of Gurdwaras in Malaysia and Singapore in Chronological Order – State-wise 159
Appendix IV : Sagarika164
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