Thursday, February 5, 2015

ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS-HINDU TEMPLES OF CAMBODIA

ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS-HINDU TEMPLES OF CAMBODIA
CONCEPTS & EXTRACTS IN HINDUISM By:: Pt. Santosh Kumar Bhardwaj  
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culture-temples-of-cambodiaAngkor was the seat of the Khmer Empire, the largest empire of Southeast Asia that flourished between the 9th and 15th  centuries. This ancient and revered Cambodian province is home to astonishing and enduring Hindu architectural-Vastu Shastr evidence of the Khmer Empire's Hindu and Mahayana Buddhist beliefs. The temples of Angkor are awe-inspiring. Over 100 stone temples are scattered throughout the Angkor region. Five of them are really wonderful and breath taking. A lost ancient city has been identified with the help of airborne laser scanning (-lidar) showing that Angkor contained an urban core with vast hinterland that could have held huge population of more than 10 Lakh. Mahendr Parvat-Meru Giri is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Angkor Wat.
ANGKOR WAT: Located 5.5 km from the city of Siem Reap. Angkor means capital and vat monastery-place of worship-Yog-meditation-teaching students. Angkor Vat is a temple mountain representing the mountain Meru. Different of most other temples, it is oriented towards the west, dedicated to the glory of Vishnu-the Almighty.The temple is ranked Heritage of UNESCO in 1992. It is a city surrounded by a moat and an outer wall 3.3 km length.The monument consists of five towers rising in staggered  arrangement; the middle one is bigger.This a  pyramidal formation having 3 levels; each level has a gallery with 4 goupurs and 4 towers angle.The temple is admired for its greatness and harmony of its fascinating Hindu Vastu architecture. The temple at Angkor Wat-temple city, was built by Raja Surya Varman II between 1113 to 1150 and was devoted to Bhagwan Shri Hari Vishnu. The enormous temple consists of 5 concentric rectangular walls and moats, symbolizing a cosmic chain of mountains and ocean. Angkor Wat is the best-preserved temple in Angkor. Construction of Angkor Wat took more than 37 years to complete. The main tower of the central temple represents the mountain Meru, the center of the Hindu and Buddhist culture-way of life. It was probably built  between 1113 and 1150 AD and comprising of an area of  500 acres. This constitutes the remains of one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Statues of Bhagwan Buddh- 9th  incarnation of bhagwan Vishnu were added to this place.Its 213-foot-tall (65 meters) central tower is surrounded by four smaller towers and a series of enclosure walls, a layout that recreates the image of Mount Meru, a legendary place in mythology which lies beyond Himalay and is the place of worship and meditation of Bhagwan Parshuram.
angkor watIt is surrounded by a 650-foot-wide (200 m) moat that encompasses a perimeter of more than 3 miles (5 km). This moat is 13 feet deep (4 m) and would have helped stabilize the temple’s foundation, preventing groundwater from rising too high or falling too low.
It had two entrances. One from the west across a stone causeway, has guardian lions marking the way. The main or the modest entrance is from the east. The heart of the temple constituted of the central tower which could be assessed through a steep staircase, having a statue of Bhagwan Vishnu. Central tower is decorated with more than 200 paintings. One chamber in the tower has a scene showing a traditional Khmer musical ensemble known as the pin peat, which is made up of different gongs, xylophones, wind instruments and other percussion instruments. In the same chamber, there's also an intricate scene featuring people riding horses between two structures, which might be temples. 
angkor watThe architectural marvels were built by Sury Varman (II) who had come to power in his teenage years by killing his great uncle, Dharendr Varman (I), while he was riding an elephant. An inscription says that Sury Varman killed Dharendr Varman (I) as the Garud (-vehicle of bhagwan Shri Vishnu) would have killed a serpent  on a mountain ledge. Sury Varman conquered territories  of Vietnam and made advances into China.
He venerated Bhagwan Vishnu, the protector-nurturer and installed his statue in Angkor Wat’s central tower. This devotion can also be seen in one of the most remarkable reliefs at Angkor Wat, located in the southeast of the temple. The relief shows the churning of the ocean by the demigods-Devs-Sur and the demons-Asurs  by making rope of the great serpent Nag Raj Vasuki and Bhagwan Vishnu supporting the Mandrachal Parwat-the churner, over his back in the form of a tortoise. for the recovery of Nectar-elixir-Amrat, which grants immortality for one Kalp-Brahma's day.
Sury Varman’s devotion to Vishnu is illustrated in the posthumous name he was given in Param-Ultimate Vishnu Lok-Vaekunth Lok the abode of Bhagwan Vishnu.
Building Angkor Wat was an enormous undertaking that involved quarrying, careful artistic work and lots of digging. To create the moat around the temple, 1.5 million cubic meters (53 million cubic feet) of sand and silt were moved, a task that would have required thousands of people working at one time.
The buildings at Angkor Wat posed their own challenges. To support them a tough material called laterite was used, which in turn was encased with softer sandstone that was used for carving the reliefs. These sandstone blocks were quarried at the Kulen Hills, about 18 miles (30 km) to the north. They were transported to the site by a series of canals.
Beneath the central tower a shaft leads to a chamber where, two pieces of crystal and two gold leaves far beneath the idol of Bhagwan Vishnu were present; which spiritually energized the temple.
Angkor Wat is located at 13.41 degrees north in latitude and the north-south axis of the central tower’s chamber is 13.43 cubits long. In the central sanctuary, the idol of Bhagwan Vishnu is not only placed at the latitude of Angkor Wat, but is also aligned along the axis of the earth. A dozen lunar alignments with Angkor Wat’s towers, served as an important astronomical role-observatory. 




Bhagwan Parshuram-incarnation of Almighty Vishnu, is still meditating at Mahendr parwat-mountain, there. It had 39 Shiv Lings which were looted by the local residents who were unaware of their significance-importance. How ever once their significance was revealed to the locals, some of them have been returned and established back at the origional site.


King Jay Varman VII (probably)

BANTEAY SREI: The Temple of Women, has been called a jewel of Khmer art. Its great reliefs depict many mythological events including the duel between Bali-son of Indr (-the king of demigods and ruler of Heaven) ruler of Kishkindha and Sugreev-son of Bhagwan Sury Narayan & an associate of Bhagwan Ram; Nar Singh-incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu slaying  the demon king Hirany Kashipu-father of Bhakt Prahlad and the burning of Khandav Van Forest.It is unique among Angkor's noble temples since it was built by a wealthy courtier and scholar who served as an adviser to the Cambodian king and not the monarch himself. Banteay Srei is dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv. The temple is older than the other Angkor sites.
The grounds, buildings and layout at Banteay Srei are small, contrasting with the monumental scale of Angkor Wat and Angkor. While the buildings may be compact, they don't feel crowded and the structural layout enhances the narrative relief carvings covering Banteay Srei's red sandstone walls and passageways.
PAREAH KHAAN: It is another of King Jay Varman's creations and an inscription on the temple suggests he built it on the site where he defeated invaders from Champa, a region that is now Southern Vietnam. The successive rectangular galleries surrounding the Buddhist sanctuary have largely been left untouched. This large complex not only functioned as a monastic house of worship, it was an university including elements of Buddhist, Vaeshnav and Shaev worship. When visiting this hallowed ground one should make sure to explore the Prasat Preah Stung, a central tower with 4 ornate Bayon-like carvings. Once inside, meander through the galleries and 2 libraries
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PAREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE:  It is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. It has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire being supported and modified by successive kings. It possesses several architectural styles and is unique among Khmer temples since it is constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. 
TA PROHM: The King completed the construction of this royal monastery in the 12th century and dedicated the grounds both to his mother-Prajan Parmita and the goddess of wisdom-Maa Saraswati. The central stone pillar, called a foundation stele, chronicles the dedication and urges successors to protect the revered site.
The location of the temple, set amidst the lush Cambodian jungle, makes it extremely popular for tourists. It was inhabited by 12,500 people and the temple served as a place of worship for thousands of souls in surrounding villages. This peaceful town stands as a reminder of Cambodia's early spirituality and religious beliefs.
BAYONThis sacred temple sites many towers having massive stone carvings depicting the face of the king and a message of spiritual worship. This is a place where one may find solace along with spirituality. Massive stone faces have been carved into Bayon's many towers.
I
India has committed it self to the restoration of these temples.






Ancient Rock Carving of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are found on the banks of Kbal Spean river bed in Cambodia. Sanatan Dharm deeply prevailed in the far east during the earlier period.












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