SITUATED between India and China, CITY OF THE GODS (1of6)

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RisingSun
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SITUATED between India and China, CITY OF THE GODS (1of6)

Post by RisingSun » Thu May 08, 2008 2:33 pm

The following clips are of great interest, to all those of you, who ever wondered, where our Gods really came from and who has really build those great Temples of our World. Ancient men couldn´t have done that with simple tools like hammer and chisels. Shown are beautiful structures and Architecture.

SITUATED between India and China, Southeast Asia has been the birthplace of several cultures, some of which rank among the world's greatest civilizations. Among the Indianized kingdoms which sprang up in Southeast Asia before the Common era, the great Khmer civilization and its capital, Angkor, in modern day Cambodia. The advent of Indians in Southeast Asia has hardly a parallel in history. In view of the ethnic affinities between the prehistoric Austro-Asiatic races of India and those of Suvarnabhumi, contact between the two regions may well go back to the remotest antiquity. Most of the countries of Southeast Asia came under the cultural and religious influence of India. This region was broadly referred to by ancient Indians as Suvarnabhumi (the Land of Gold) or Suvarnadvipa (the Island of Gold). Vedic Indians must have charted Java, Yawadvip, thousands of years ago because Yawadvip is mentioned in India's earliest epic, the Ramayana. The Ramayana reveals some knowledge of the eastern regions beyond seas; for instance Sugriva dispatched his men to Yavadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita.

Southeast Asia was often called by many British, French and Indian scholars as Farther India, Greater India, L'Inde Exterieure, and the Hinduized or Indianized States. The whole area was so influenced by India, that according to a European scholar who wrote in 1861, that "the Indian countries situated beyond the Ganges hardly deserve the attention of History."The various states established in this region can therefore be called Indianized kingdoms. Invasion nor proselystism was by no means the main factor in the process of Indianization which took place in the Indian Archipelago. International trade was very important. Angkor Wat indeed deserves to play the leading part not only because of its exceptional artistic and architectural achievements but also on account of the hydrological, agricultural and ecological problems solved there.

Angkor Wat is often hailed as one of the most extraordinary architectural creations ever built, with its intricate bas-reliefs, strange acoustics and magnificent soaring towers. Angkor Wat, originally named Vrah Vishnulok - the sacred abode of Lord Vishnu, is the largest temple in the world. It was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. The Sanskrit Nagara (capital) was modified by the Cambodian tongue to Nokor and then to Angkor. The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit word 'nagara' meaning 'holy city'. Vatika is Sanskrit word for temple. "The city which is a temple," Angkor Wat is a majestic monument, the world's largest religious construction in stone, and an architectural masterpiece. The Khmers adhered to the Indian belief that a temple must be built according to a mathematical system in order for it to function in harmony with the universe. Distances between certain architectural elements of the temple reflect numbers related to Indian mythology and cosmology. The sheer size of the place leaves visitors in awe and the complex designs illustrate the skills of long gone priest architects. Every spare inch has been carved with intricate works of art. The sculptures of Indian icons produced in Cambodia during the 6th to the 8th centuries A D are masterpieces, monumental, subtle, highly sophisticated, mature in style and unrivalled for sheer beauty anywhere in India says Philip Rawson. The scale of Angkor Wat enabled the Khmer to give full expression to religious symbolism. It is, above all else, a microcosm of the Hindu universe.

Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (1of6) [EN]
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Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (2of6) [EN]

IT is frequently said that Angkor was 'discovered' by the Europeans but this is patently nonsense and simply reflects a Eurocentric view. The Khmer never forgot the existence of their monuments. French naturalist Henri Mouhot stumbled across the city complex of Angkor Wat while on a zoological expedition. He was overwhelmed by the magnificence of these ruins hidden in the jungle and wrote: "One of these temples - a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michael Angelo - might take its place besides our most beautiful buildings - Grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome ...it makes the traveler forget all the fatigues of the journey, filling him with admiration and delight, such as should be experienced on finding a verdant oasis in the sandy desert."

The grandeur of this ancient civilization is truly astounding. Covering an area of one square mile, Angkor Wat is one of the largest temple complex in the world. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu from whom the king was considered a reincarnation. Essentially a three-layered pyramid, Angkor Wat has five distinctive towers, 64 meters high. On the outer wall are eight panels of bas-relief depicting scenes of Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. These relics of past grandeur bear mute testimony tone of the least known yet most glorious chapters in the history of mankind: that of the classical culture of 'Greater India.'

Unlike other countries, Cambodia does not minimize Indian influence on the local culture. On the contrary, the people of the country generously acknowledge it. Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia recalled the close cultural ties that have existed for two thousand years between India and Cambodia. He said: "When we refer to 2000 year old ties which unite us with India, it is not at all a hyperbole. In fact, it was about 2000 years ago that the first navigators, Indian merchants, and Brahmins brought to our ancestors their gods, their techniques, their organization. Briefly India was for us what Greece was for the Latin Occident."

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Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (3of6) [EN]

INDIA is a country of temples without equal but there is a certain irony in that one of the largest and most dramatic monuments to Hinduism rests not in India but thousands of miles away from the subcontinent amid the ruins of a metropolis hidden in the jungles of Cambodia. One of the largest cities of the ancient world, Angkor was built at the height of the Khmer Empire's supremacy in South East Asia. In the 12th century the vast temple of Angkor Wat, which is larger even than the Vatican, was built in the heart of the city by King Suryavarman II to honor Lord Vishnu.

Angkor Wat, originally named Vrah Vishnulok - the sacred abode of Lord Vishnu.

"As I walked along the huge, ancient stone of the causeway leading to Angkor Wat, I was forced to look inward and question my own significance in the universe. Everything here, from the huge moat protecting the complex to the giant nagas flanking my path, is designed to make one shrink before the majesty of Vishnu.
"After passing through a succession of courtyards, each grander and more elaborate than the last, I arrived at an enormous Meru with its five soaring peaks and exquisitely carved walls. What a spectacle this all must have been long ago....Angkor Wat is the representation of the Khmer universe, reflecting a relationship to nature on such a deep level, that it makes modern architecture seem spiritually empty. The soul of the Khmer is alive in these temples and mirrored in the faces of today's Cambodians, the recipients of a rich artistic and spiritual heritage." - Jon Ortner

Mouhot wrote: What strikes the observer with not less admiration than the grandeur, regularity, and beauty of these majestic buildings, is the immense size and prodigious number of the blocks of stone of which they are constructed. In this temple alone are as many as 1532 columns. What means of transport, what a multitude of workmen, must this have required, seeing that the mountain out of which the stone was hewn is thirty miles distant!...."

Henri Mohout could hardly believe his eyes in 1860. He wrote of:

"ruins of such grandeur, remains of structures that must have been raised at such an immense cost of labor, that, at the first view, one is filled with profound admiration....One of these temples - a rival to that of Soloman, and erected by some ancient Michael Angleo - might take an honorable place besides our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece and Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation in now plunged." To Mahout, those "prodigious works" were nothing short of astounding.

...the stairs of the Temples have been quit high in height been build, very uncomfortable for a human being, to be using them. I believe, that the original users and builders of these Temples, were actually taller human beings, like so often found in other Archaeological dug out documentary films. There were actually people living on this planet, that were up to 10 Meters in height. Those monuments in Egypt, aren´t these may be real life statues? Rather then just monuments?

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Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (4of6) [EN]

ANGKOR Wat's distinctive terraced towers rising above the skyline are in the form of lotus buds, one of Lord Vishnu's principal symbols. It was a place of devotion as well as an astronomical observatory. The legend was that the temple was not built by human hands but by Indra, the Lord of Heaven, who sailed down to earth for the purpose. Originally all nine great pinnacles were plated with gold, while the sculptures of incredible richness, covering the walls in high and low relief, were ablaze with color.

The central shrine contained a gold statue of Vishnu mounted on a garuda, which was taken out of its sanctuary on festival occassions.

The approach to Angkor Wat is dramatic in the extreme. The deep shade of encircling jungle opens on to a spacious expanse of water, shimmering in the sunlight, the great moat, some 600 ft wide enclosing a rectangle nearly a mile square. A single monumental causeway lined by a magnificent balustrade of hooded serpents and lions spans the moat, like an umbilical cord, affording access to the triple entrance gateways, the two wide-spreading, arcaded galleries, forming a composition no less than eight hundred feet in width.

Itself a stupendous work of architecture, the proplylaeum provides a fitting prelude to the breathtaking vista that expands before one's gaze on emerging from its dark, deliberately constricted chambers.

A thousand foot long, raised, processional way, flanked midway by elegant library pavilions and later by immense reflecting pools -- microcosms of the Cosmic Oceans -- leads to a cruciform podium from which the sovereign could watch processions and the performances of the temple dancers; and up to the main structure. Here is the apotheosis of the abode of the Devarja, a temple-mountain of stupendous proportions flaring skyward in a vision of otherworldly splendor. Each of the terraces of the three-tiered pyramid has continuous galleries accented with gateways and towers, elaborate stairways, and the plan is further enriched by additional 'libraries' and subsidiary cruciform galleries.

The miracle of Angkor Wat lies, above all, in the ensemble; in the fact that these numerous and complex elements have not merely been combined in an assemblage but have been orchestrated into a stupendous symphony in stone; that a Euclidean clarity of form in the total layout can be intuitively sensed by the spectator even if it can only be confirmed from the vantage point of the gods -- or modern man: the air.

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Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (5of6) [EN]

ANGKOR Wat's narrative reliefs clearly refer to popular events from the Epics - The Ramayana and The Mahabharata and the Puranas, visually narrated in a way which is generally faithful to the original Sanskrit texts in terms of the plot - even down to the last detail. Ramayana The story of Rama is the most widely diffused tale in South and Southeast Asia. In Cambodia of the Angkorean period, it seems that the Ramayana in use pertained to Valmiki's tradition.

The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit word 'nagara' meaning 'holy city'. Vatika means temple. "The city which is a temple," Angkor Wat is a majestic monument, the world's largest religious construction in stone, and an architectural masterpiece.

Cambodia, the ancient Khamboja, boasts the largest temple complex in the world, named Angkor, from the Sanskrit language meaning "the capital city." It was built in the 9th century C. E. in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu. The complex extends over an area more than twice the size of Manhattan and took thirty-seven years to complete. Its physical and spiritual grandeur if found elsewhere only in ancient Greece, Egypt, and among the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Cambodia's principle river is today called Me Kong, which is derived from India's Ma Ganga. It rises 200 feet from the Cambodian jungle floor like a gigantic mandala, its walls adorned throughout with scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana and legends of the god Vishnu and his incarnation, Krishna. Built between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries by a succession of twelve Khmer kings, Angkor spreads over 120 square miles in Southeast Asia and includes scores of major architectural sites. In 802, when construction began on Angkor Wat, with wealth from rice and trade, Jayavarman ll took the throne, initiating an unparalleled period of artistic and architectural achievement, exemplified in the fabled ruins of Angkor, center of the ancient empire. According to the poem inscribed on its walls, the temple at Angkor Wat was not built by humans, but by Celestial architect commanded by Indra, chief of the gods.

Angkor is located at the foot of Mount Kulen, a large natural water-tower from where many rivers flow down. But water was an irregular resource and the surplus had to be stored for use in the dry season. The Angkorian kings understood this and chose to build barays. These were large artificial reservoirs supplied by rainfall and diverted rivers. They were well thought out: instead of digging into the ground, people raised dykes to hold water. Water would enter through the north dyke and would later be released to irrigate rice fields.

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Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS (6of6) [EN]

UNLIKE other countries, Cambodia does not minimize Indian influence on the local culture. On the contrary, the people of the country generously acknowledge it.

Angkor Wat, the greatest of Khmer temples, is a text in itself. The hundreds of reliefs sculpted on its stones narrate the events from the Hindu Epics and the Puranas, and symbolically communicate the fundamental religious, philosophical, ethical and political principles of the Khmers at the time of Suryavarman. Varman was a title given to Kings and Pandita was title given to Brahmins.

The glory of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom which highlighted the perfection of the fusion of Indian and Khmer art and architecture was unparalleled in those times when they were constructed. These temple complexes included the palaces of the kings and dwelling places for numerous others.

The bas-reliefs in the temples depicting the epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are without compare. The apsaras of Angkor who number 1850 are rare specimens of art and no two are alike. Many western explorers and historians have written eloquently on these monuments: "Undeniably an expression of the highest genius".

The architects of the great temple were masters of their craft, but first of all they were close students of the human eye. They set out to build not only a tremendous pyramid but an ensemble which would instantly seize upon the vision of one who entered through West Gate and carry it irresistibly in a direct unwavering line to the climax of the central tower. HINDUWISDOM

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