of Xiang-Mai by Water Chenla The Chenla Empire

The Chenla Empire

Project: The Chenla Empire
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: June/01/2003
Last updated: November/30/2016
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.

So far, there is no consensus among scholars about the origin of the Chinese Word "Chenla" that was used consistently as a reference to Cambodia. No known Sanskrit or Khmer word proposed by scholars could be considered as an acceptable transcription or translation of any one of its derivatives found in Chinese texts. Its multiple variances through out Chinese source complicate further its interpretation (Notes: Tsin-lab). The fact that Chinese source often refers a country by its ruling dynasty leads us to believe that the Chinese word Chenla and all its derivatives were fautif of the word "Tsin-la" or "Tsin-lo". A reference of the Tsin (Jin) Dynasty, Chenla is an exact Chinese interpretation of the Kumeru (Khmer) Identity. It agrees with the association to the Meru's legacy of Middle Eastern Moon God Tsin from whom both the Khmer and the Cham kings descended. The fact that Chinese scholars knew Kambuja as the official name of the Khmer Empire and still called it Chenla indicates that its identity is more appropriate to the indigenous aspect of its origin. Unlike the Meru 's identity the was brought by Indianization, the Chenla's legacy could be traced back to the Kuchin communities (formed by the indigenous Jin migrants) that predated long before the Indian' s arrival in Southeast Asia (The French Indochina: The French Cochinchina: The Cochin's legacy). Known also as the Kamaras, they were actually inducted to the early Meru Culture that they retained as the people of Varadhana (Hiong-wang Kingdom). First used to refer the native dynasty of Prey-nokor, Chenla became the Chinese reference to the Khmer Identity itself (Notes: Lin-yi vs Yi-sin). On the same premises, we shall identify that the Chenla kings (as mentioned in the Chinese texts) were descended from the Khmer King Kaundinya. In connection to theirs root, they constituted one of the three lineage (from Kaundinya) who were of mix blood with the Naga ancestry and had a temperament or obligation to fight against the Koshan (Nokor Khmer: The Three Dynasties: Viravarman and the Chenla Dynasty). As we had seen, the conflict started since the formation of the Shang dynasty that brought the western Sakan legacy to clash with the native Xiang dynasty of the east. Subdued by the Tchous, the Sakans made their way to intrude in Nagadvipa. Clashes were noticed during the assimilation process of implanting Hinduism and later Buddhism on naga communities by members of the Sakyan clans. In the era that the Sakas forced themselves upon the native naga communities, resistance and uprisings were seen through out the history of Southeast Asia.
The Chenla's Accounts from Chinese Source
During theirs infiltration in Southeast Asia, the Sakan front line already split themselves into two antagonist camps. Fighting for their own supremacy, the koshan and the Chams dragged along the native nagas to fight on their side. By the formation of the Khmer Empire, Kaundinya was well supported by the native people. However, his connection with the Gupta court ended up alienating to some local naga houses that were not part of the coalition. One of them was the naga house Bharasiva, the naga house that was particularly devoted to Sivaism. The uprising that was found in the records of the Sui Dynaty was at first mistaken by western scholars as the start-up of the Khmer Kingdom to free itself from Funan (Notes: The Misconception about the Fall of Funan). The Khmer Empire, as we had argued, was already formed by Kaundinya Jayavarman, which (in consort with Funan) still retained its official name as Kambuja (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kambuja). There is no recollection in Khmer tradition of a vassal state named Chenla to fight off Kambuja or Funan after it was formed as a Khmer empire. In the contrary, the Khmer tradition confirmed the attack of the Cham aristocracy that fought to free itself from the Khmer court of Prah Thong. To recall back, the Cham aristocracy settlement in Southeast Asia dated back since the arrival of the Sakan king Ajiraja and his court in Java. Through their Middle Eastern ancestry, they formed a strong consortium with the Pandu royal houses of South India and together had important roles to play during the rise of the next Khmer as well as the Angkorean empire (Xiang-Mai: The Indra Consortium: The Fight with Sanjaya). Started as an antagonist force for the Khmer court, the Javanese court became more and more part of the Buddhist development of Deccan in a close consortium to form the Chola dynasty of South India. Even though they joined later into the Khmer consortium, the Cholan contribution to the rise of Angkor was no less important than the other Khmer dynasties. Suryavaman II who was well known as the builder of Angkor Wat, in particular, had a deep root from this Chola Dynasty. Nevertheless, unlike their Sri Vijaya counterpart who through Buddhism became part of the Khmer identity, the Chola and the Cham identity was the least recognized as part of the Khmer legacy. Their strong Zoroastrianist tradition prevented them to blend completely with the Buddhist legacy of the Sri Vijaya and the Khmer court. During the Mongol's incursion, the Cholan kings started to secede from the Khmer Court and by doing so, exposed Angkor to the Mongolian attack. Modern scholars mistook these events as due to ethnic clashes between the Cham and the Khmer people. More extensive contacts with the chenla court was another reason of the Chinese preference for this Khmer identity. We shall use the Chinese word "Chenla" still, in referring to the mixed Khmer and Cham dynasty during the next phase of the Khmer history. The Chinese account of the Chenla uprising against Funan as we shall see, resulted in the complete break down of the Kambujan Empire, still Chinese source still treat Chenla as synonymous to Funan or Kamboja (Notes: Chenla Vs Funan).
During the reign of Kaundinya Jayavarman, Prey Nokor and the Kambuja Kingdom were united under the Khmer Empire. First located at Angkor Borey, the capital city of Funan was moved to the Menam Valley. The move to the new location justified the delegation and the inclusion of the Kambujan territory under the control of the Khmer court of Kaundinya Jayavarman. The alliance with the Sri Vijaya allowed him to consolidate his kingdom into becoming once again a cakravatin empire. Leaving Prey-nokor into the hand of his son Gunavarman, evidences show that he spent more of his time at Lavo. His effort earn-marked him the title of "General of the Pacified South" from the court of China, nevertheless it left Prey-nokor vulnerable under his young heir Gunavarman. The usurpation of his step-brother Rudravarman created a political shake-off of the Buddhist consortium that allowed the Chenla clan to rise up challenging the Khmer establishment of Prey Nokor.
The Chenla Uprising *
According to the Khmer source, Prah Thong had to fight off the control of the Cham Kings to establish the Khmer Empire. His exploit was possible in part due to the new consortium with the Sri Vijaya that was strengthening through his marriage with the Nagi Princess. Nevertheless, his leaning toward the Sri-vijaya had also led to the political spin-off from the Khmer court left under the control of Gunavarman (Nokor Khmer: The three dynasties). As his descendants split into three factions and each one fought for its own account, the Khmer Empire fell into anarchy. The Chenla Kings (as referred in Chinese sources), in particular, were the most invigorated of all the contenders. This was due to the fact that after Kaundinya ousted the Cham king from Prey-nokor, many of the latter' s family's members were still left to rule their own localities as vassals to the Khmer Empire (Champapura: The Indian arrival: The left-over Cham legacies). As tributary to the Kaundinya court, they were quick to amass back theirs fortune and took no time to built-up theirs power. After his departure from Angkorborey, Kaundinya Jayavarman left the Khmer throne of Prey Nokor under the spell of the Cham' s retaliation. The usurpation of Rudravarman gave them the opportunity to get back into the political limelight by aligning themselves with the Chenla princes. In an effort to revive back the Cham past legacies, they launched a campaign to subdue the whole of the Kambujan Empire. The history of the Sui was the earliest source, so far available about the attack on Funan and the subsequent formation of the Chenla powerhouse.
The Chenla is at the southwest of Lin-yi; it was originally a kingdom vassal of Funan. The family name was Cha-li; his personal name was She-to-ssu-na; his ancestors had gradually increased the power of the country. She-to-ssu-na seized Funan and subdued it.
It mentions the emergence of the Chenla clan exactly at Ba Phnom, the place where once the Cham communities flourished during the rise of the Funan Empire. As we had seen, the Cham aristocrats of king Ajiraja lineage were taking part of the Funan court. That might be the reason that the Chinese source took the Cham kingdom as Chenla to be actually a vassal of Funan. Now that Kamboja became the country of the Khmer Empire under Kaundinya, the Cham communities of Ba Phnom became parts of the Khmer Empire. Formed from the court of Viravarman at Prey Nokor, the Chenla consortium strengthened the Kaundinya's lineage of mix Cham stocks with the support of the surviving Cham aristocrats to rise up challenging the Funan court. About its leader, the Chinese source hints that his ancestors were working on building theirs power-base under the control of the Funan Empire. The family name "Cha-li" could be a reference to the god Hari or Vishnu of the Hindu Culture as had always been the legacy of the Cham Kings. It could be also a reference to the Cham royal house of Sip-song-pana, known as the city of Tchou-li that stayed until modern days. This connection explains later the close tie of the Chenla family with the northern Siam countries (Lanna: Notes: Lanna Tai). The personal name "She-to-ssu-na" of the Chenla King is on the other hand easier to identify to be the exact transcription of Chitrasena. Inscriptions reveal that Chitrasena was a son of king Viravarman who also descended from the Kaundinya family (Nokor Khmer: The Three Dynasties: Viravarman and the Chenla dynasty). Apparently the Hari's connection was established through his Cham mother side and according to matrimonial rule, Chitrasena was a legitimate heir of the Cham court. Being long under the control of the Funan court, the Cham aristocrats took the opportunity of the internal crisis (during the usurpation of Rudravarman) to rally behind the Chenla Kings. Theirs first mission was to oust Rudravarman from the Khmer throne of Prey-nokor. Under the protection of the Sui Dynasty (581-618), Rudravarman had to move his court to Champapura (at Dong-Duong) and then escaped to Nan-chao. We shall see later that Citrasena was not acting alone and that the Chenla attack did not only subdue the court of Prey Nokor but the whole of the Funan Empire. As a consequence, its controlled territory was dynamically set by the political standing of China, India and the last Khmer Empire. It is important to note that during the rise of the latter, there were also the northern Tai communities under the control of Budhusinhanati nagara located at Xiang Sean. Subdued by Prah Thong, the Budhusinhanati' s court was destroyed and the Tai aristocrats were scattered in disarray along the northern Lao countries.
The Leader of the Chenla' s Pact*
In the history of the Sui, Citrasena was mentioned to be the sole leader of the Chenla' s pact, but many Khmer inscriptions prove otherwise that he was not alone in the fight against Funan. As a matter of fact, it was his elder brother (cousin in some sources) who was the first to ascend the Funan or Kambujan throne under the name of Bhavavarman. The inscription of Ang Chumnik confirms that he was the first Chenla king to reign after Rudravarman was assumably driven out of the Khmer throne of Prey Nokor (JAISC: Inscription of Ang Chumnik). The same inscription also indicates that he was the actual driver of the Chenla attack and after having taken the power by storm, took reward of the exploit for himself.
The king Sri Bhavavarman, having taking the power energetically, received Gambhisvara as the fruit of his desire for the kingdom. (JAISC: Inscription of Ang Chumnik: Line 5)
Nevertheless, the Kambujan or Khmer Empire was so vast that a change of strategy had to be taken by the Chenla pact. After driving out Rudravarman to Champapura (at Dong-Duong), evidences show that the two Chenla brothers split their campaign to be carried on in two fronts. Leaving the Champapura court of king Rudravarman to his brother Citrasena to finish off, Bhavavarman turned to the rest of the Kambujan and Khmer courts in the Menam valley. Of different backgrounds, the two brothers were conducting theirs own fights. Of his northern Cham affiliation with the court of Bandhusinhanati, we had seen that Citrasena stayed focus on Prey-Nokor and the Khmer empire. On the other hand, evidences show that Bhavavarman was conducting a bigger campaign to establish himself as a cakravatin monarch. The Han-Chey inscription indicated that his first campaign was to drive the "King of Mountain" out of Mahidhara.
Jetu parvatabhubal a Mahidharamastakat setu pravrshi yasyasid dhastineshv api varishu. (JAISC: Inscription of Han-Chey: Section A: line 5)
The King of Mountain of the passage could be identified to be as no other than the Naga King of the Sri Vijaya, father-in-law of Kaundinya. According to Chinese source, the attack drove the Funan court from To-mou to Na-fu-na. Scholars agreed that To-mou was a Chinese reference to the Funan capital, but differed in identifying the exact location that it was at the time. We had seen that Vyadhapura, identified as Angkorpuri, was the late capital of the Naga King before it was handed over to kaundinya. We had also argued that Angkorpuri was no longer of importance to the Khmer Court since Kaundinya had moved his capital to Lavo (Nokor Khmer: Mahidhara as the seat of Sri Dharmaraja: The formation of Lavo). As the Han-Chey inscription stated it, it was Mahidhara of the Malay Archipelago that Bhavavarman had subdued during the first stage of the Chenla uprising. Of his special commemoration of the inscription, he referred himself as the king of Malayu (Notes: The Commemoration of Bhavavarman). The Chinese reference of "To-mou" moreover appears to be the same as To-mou-chang which is in high probability a reference to the khedah Mountain where seated the Sri Vijayan court. The reference of "To-Mou" might be a Chinese transcription of "To Meru" or "To Raja", meaning the Lion King as has always been representing the Simha identity of the Sri Vijaya. Exerting full control of the southern Sea route, the Sri Vijaya became naturally the first target of the Chenla take-over. On the other hand, we could identify Na-fu-na, the place that the Kambujan kings taking refuge as no other than the small island Na-tu-na at the northern shore of Borneo. It was perhaps no more than a quick stop as evidences show that the family members of the Naga King were pushed further or moved themselves into south India where they formed the Pallava court, and in Ceylon where they formed next the Buddist community of Sri Langka. The Pallava tradition moreover claims their origin in connection to the marriage of a Chola prince and the Nagi Princess, a claim that closely connect them to the Khmer legend of "Prah Tong and Neang Nak" (Dvaravati: The Indian escape Ground: The rise of the Pallava). This finding leads us to believe that the Kedah Mountain was already ruled by a scion of the Kaundinya court, as part of the Khmer Empire. Prior to the Chenla uprising, we know that this strategic location of the south sea-trade was ruled under the "king of the mountain", a title that scholars attributed later to the Khmer kings of the Sailendra dynasty. It was due to this past connection that many aspects of the Pallava's culture resemble that of the Khmer court. Vestiges left behind also shows strong legacies of the Bull Nanda, a traditional representation of Kaundinya.
Funan before the Fall*
In the Sin Tang Chou record, we found a paragraph that could provide us good information about the state of Funan prior to the Chenla uprising.
From Mi-tchen, we arrive at Kouen-lang where lived the tribes of small Kun-lun; the king was named Mang-si-yue; the customs are the same as Mi-tchen. From Kouen-lang we arrive at Lou-yu that was the kingdom of the king of grand Kun-lun. The king was named Seu-li-po-po-na-ta-chan-na. The plain is bigger than Mi-tchen. From the place where lived the small king of Kun-lun we arrive in a half-day at Tcha of Moti-pa. (BEFEO IV: Deux Itinaraires de Chine en Inde: P.222-225, Paul Pelliot)
Of the Kingdoms of Kun-lun, the passage clearly indicates that there was a distinction between the small and the grand Kun-lun. Sri Ksetra (Lo-yue in Chinese source) was mentioned as the capital of the grand Kun-lun kingdom where the king was titled as maharaja and could be identified without doubt to Mahidhara. There is mentioning of many vassals of Sri Ksetra, among them were Mi-tchen and Tchouan-lo-po-ti. The association of the grand Kun-lun to Mahidhara leaves the small Kun-lun to be associated with Coladhara where at the time was located at Prey-nokor. It is interesting to note that the passage mentions Mang-sui-yue as the king of the small Kun-lun. AS we recalled back, Mang-si-yue (in some other source Mang-Sui-Ti) was a son of Piao-Sui-Ti( the third son of Ashoka) and was known to extend his father Empire on both the Tian Shan range and the Mainland Indochina (The Sakadvipa: The Saka of Dayadesa: King Ashoka of Magadha). It gives us a good glimse to the political setting of the Khmer Kingdom during the early phase of the Chenla uprising. The King of the small Kun-lun, Mang-sui-yue, mentioned here, must be Rudravarman who usurped the throne of Prey-nokor from his stepbrother, Gunanvarman. Through the Chinese source, we know that he descended from the long lineage of Ashoka's grandson and that through inheritance he was still retaining the latter' s title, Mang-sui-yue. His reign characterized the comeback of Mahayana Buddhism along side the Theravada canon that was practiced at the time at Prey Nokor. As to the capital of the grand Kun-lun, we shall identify as no other than Lavo where, in close connection with Mahidhara, the last of the Kaundinya king Jayavarman Kaundinya was residing. Like "Mang-si-yue" was referring to Rudravarman, the Chinese name given to the king of the Grand Khun-lun "Seu-li-po-po-na-ta-chan-na" was perhaps a reference to next successor of Kaundinya Jayavarman (Notes: Seu-li-po-po-na-ta-chan-na). According to the account, Rudravarman was still reigning at Ba Phnom (the small Kun-lun) under the tutelage of the Tsui dynasty, but Bhavavarman I already took hold of the the capital To-mu of the Grand Kun-lun Kingdom. As we shall see Sri Ksettra was then Sri Dharmaraja that was actually the capital of the Kambujadesa (Notes: Sri Ksettra vs Pyuksettra). By the conquest of Bhavavarman, it became the preceptor of the Mon country to receive its name as Ramandesa, of which Burma was a part of it (The Ramana Desa: Introduction). In collaboration to our assumption, the Burmese tradition claimed that the founder of Sri Ksetra was Dattabaung, which in Pyu language meant "the great king" or Maharaja in Sanskrit. The Pyu word "Dattabaung" was actually a derivative of the Sanskrit word "Datta-vamsa" that was a royal title of the Kambu naga king. It is consistent with the Ayudhya's past legacy of Guchanaga's reference to theirs king as "Bhagadatta". On the other hand, the Mon chronicle referred the Mon' s ruler as Dattabaung Rama or Maharaja Rama in Sanskrit. The two vassals of Sri Ksetra, Mi-tchen and Tchouan-lo-po-ti were mentioned to be at the west of the Kun-lun Kingdoms. Another hint of Mi-tchen is found in the Man-chou to be located at the end of the river Irravadi (Li-Chooei in Chinese Text) (DICI: P. 170). From the descriptions, we are confident enough to identify Mi-tchen as a Chinese reference to Hamsavati of the Irravadi's Basin. Hamsavati was an offshoot of Malayu and was mentioned to have the same culture as the small Kun-lun or the Khmer Kingdom. On the other hand, Tchouan-lo-po-ti could be a Chinese transcription of Chonpuri or the city of the Chuang (Tchouan in Chinese) Dynasty. While Sri Dharmaraja fell under the control of Bhavavarman I, the Sui had made a move to protect Rudravarman at Champapura. After invading Lin-yi in 605, the Sui court reorganized the three command posts of the southern part of Jinnan (BEFEO IV: Deux Itinarraires De Chine en Inde I:PP 187-188, By Paul Pelliot). Pi-Ying became the command post of Jinnan, Hai-yin became the command post of Nong and Lin-yi became the command post of Tchong. This organization saved Lin-yi from the Chenla conquest and allowed the khmer king Rudravarman to rule Champapura under the protection of the Sui. However, the Sui's protection lasted only for ten years. After the Tang subdued the Sui in 618 AD, evidences show that the Chenla got back theirs control over Prey-nokor. By subduing Funan, the Chenla clan exerted its suzerainty virtually over all past territory of the Naga' s territory.
In Funan, the last fight between members of king Fan Man's direct descendant with the Koshan branch of the family continued on after the visit of Kang Thai and You Chin some time between 245-250. Since then, no Chinese records were found about Funan until the advent of king Tien-Tchou Chanda (Chandragupta II) sending tamed elephants to the Chinese court in 357 AD (Prey Nokor: The Indian Connection :The Tchou's Connection). It implicates that Funan already fell into the Koshan control and a political consortium was underway between India and China that brought the Koshan into becoming the new Asian powerhouse. Along with the rise of the Sui in China, the Gupta royal house rose to take over the Vakataka Samvat and intruded itself into the politic of Southeast Asia.
A Cosmic Battle *
After the fall of the Han, the Koshans won the fight for supremacy over the other Gog dynasties (Notes: The Three Gog Dynasties). It was not before long that both India and Southeast Asia fell into the Koshan influence. In India, we saw the successful intrusion of the broken Mauryan house into the Vakataka Samvat that allowed Samudragupta to form the Gupta Empire at the expense of the Bharasiva naga house (AInd: From the end of the First to the beginning of the Second Magadha Empire: Bharasivas: P.128-129). Evidences also confirm that his son Chandragupta II also included Funan as part of the Gupta Empire. We know from the Indian source that Rudrasena II who married the daughter of Chandragupta II became devotee of Vishnu like his father-in-law (AInd: History of the Deccan: Rudrasena: P 271). That shift of devotion obviously drifted him apart from other family members who still retained strong devotion to Sivaism. Viravarman who was then reigning at Prey-nokor became the casualty of the internal fighting and was usurped apparently by a member of the Koshan affiliated house. Unable to get help from the Chinese court, Jayavarman Kaundinya decided to resolve the conflict himself. Apparently, he dethroned the usurper and anointed his son and heir, Gunnavareman, to rule Prey-nokor. This resolution however did not satisfy the grass-root naga house of king Viravarman. To make the matter worst, another son of his (with a cumcubine), Rudravarman, usurped the throne of Prey-nokor from Gunavarman and declared himself as the sole ruler of the Khmer Empire. While Jayavarman Kaundinya was powerless in stopping the usurpation, it was the hard core of the grass-root naga court that rose-up against Rudravarman. As we had seen, two brothers from the court of Virapura took the lead to fight against the usurper king. The two brothers would soon realize that taking back the throne from him had proved itself not to be a simple matter. With the support from the Sui Dynasty of China, Rudravarman presented himself as a serious adversary for the Chenla clan to tackle. Evidences show that to achieve their goal, the two brothers had to consort their powers with all political factions that fought against the Koshan powerhouse. In the fight against Funan, evidences show that Bhavavarman would rally the Bharasiva naga house to support his hard campaign. They were connected to the Vakataka' s court through a marriage that made one of their rulers became the maternal grandfather of Rudrasena I. It is also said that they were zealous of Sivaism and their tradition was to carry the image of the Siva-linga on their shoulders. From the Puranas, many scholars believed that it was them who overthrew the Koshan power. Nevertheless, some Indian scholars did not support the view mainly due to the lack of evidences that such attacks really occurred in India. As the Puranas were compiled by Hindu scholars, it is the norm to implicate that all events described in their records were happening in this Hindu homeland. At the mean time, we shall argue that the overthrowing of the Koshans was instead a Southeast Asian affair and that the Bharasiva 's exploit was actually done under Bhavavarman' s leadership. His connection with the Bharasivas and his strong devotion to Sivaism might have been the reason why he took a hard stance against Buddhism during the early phase of his carreer (Dvaravati: The Exploit of Water Chenla: The Mon's Account of King Bhavavarman). The impact on Buddhism was so severe that according to Buddhist Observers, drove its destruction to a near completion. Looking closely, the impact conformed to Sivaite cosmogony as a god of both creation and destruction. Even though Buddhism was in full bloom during the Gupta Empire, we see a reversal of trend in the progress of Buddhist expansion to the west. Included in its core a new membership of the Han dynasty, the Hiong-nu infiltrated itself into the western politic. Facing with a new influx of Zoroastrianism, Buddhist western expansion by the KOshan was set into a stall. In the next development, Vishnuist school included Buddhism into its umbrella by drafting Buddha Gautama as a mere avatar of Vishnu. To make the matter worst, the Koshans and subsequently the Guptas appeared to lose their devotion to Buddhism altogether. In that restricted environment, Buddhism would meet its end if another unexpected event did not occur to change the whole situation. With the difference of political backgrounds and purposes, we shall see the split the Chenla camp into two antagonist power houses (). While the Land Chenla was still promoting Zoroastranism, the Water Chenla on the other hand turned against Vishnuism and restored Buddhism along side Sivaism. This conflict of devotion became the set-point of the next development of Southeast Asia shaped by Chenla naga power house. It took the Chenla destruction force on Funan to restore the Khmer empire based on its destined Siva-Buddhist religious believe.
The Water Chenla and the Dismantling of Funan *
While the Chenla exploit was well documented in Chinese records in general, Bhavavarman' s own exploit and lineage were not much recorded by the Chinese courts. Strangely enough, his exploit was not much recorded in Khmer tradition either, but was found in Mon and Burmese tradition instead. Evidences from these unexpected sources show that Bhavavarman I had concentrated his effort westward and his conquest did not only resulted in the formation of Ramanadesa, but also to the rise of the Chola empire of South India as well (Dvaravati: The EXploit of King Bhavavarman: The Mon's Account of King Bhavavarman). At the same time, few inscriptions erected during his early exploit and of his son gave us enough information to link his reign to that of Pya Kalavannatissa of the Mon accounts. The inscription of Han-Chey, for instance, mentions Bhavavarman lining from the Soma side of the Naga dynasty. His posthumous name was Kalakantisapada, the same title as one of the legendary kings Tisa mentioned as a son (descendant) of the Cham King Ajiraja of both Mon and Khmer tradition. The inscription (of Bhavavarman II) erected by his son Bhavavarman II dates his reign in 639 AD (BEFEO IV: Inscription de Bhavavarman II, by George Coesdes). Commenting furthermore on the Chenla' s exploit, the inscription of Ang Chumnik informs us that two ministers, Dharmadeva and Simhadeva, served under both king Bhavavarman and Mahendravarman. It indicates that the reign of Bhavavarman was cut short in favor for his brother and the court was left to serve the latter who reigned under the crown name of Mahendravarman. At the same time, the Han-Chey inscription already hints that Bhavavarman' s great ambition was shifted to the west as he took power with energy and expanded his control toward the ocean as limit, far beyond the mainland Indochina.
It was not only the whole continent that he wants to conquer but, the unification of all possible resources never been unified before. (JAISC: Inscription of Han-Chey: Section B: Line 10)
We know then that his campaign was for the sake of consolidating resources as have not been done before. After the conquest, Lavo became his new residence and received its name as Bhavapura. The south country of the Naga King Guchanaga that included Mahidhara became later Sri Dharmaraja with its capital at Ayudhya or Ramavati, of which the Mon tradition was referring as Rama Nagara. As we see next, he proclaimed himself as a cakravatin monarch (the king of kings) and that he actually had a son and successor.
That king of Kings had a son who, like a new moon at its full splendor and by all his merits, was the focus of admiration by the people.
Scholars concluded that the king who appeared briefly in a few Khmer inscription after the fall of Chenla, was actually Bhavavarman I' s son and named him Bhavavarman II. Unlike the Land Chenla' s court that documented its subsistence and exploits through inscriptions, the water Chenla left virtually no traces of its military campaign beyond Sri Dharmaraja. The absence of information leads us to believe that beside the conquest of Sri Dharmaraja (that was the capital of the Funan Empire) there was actually no other conquest to be done, Through new accords, the Water Chenla was already formed as a consortium of dependent courts at the west. Through Chinese source, we came across of the Chinese word "Tchan-la" in referencing to Chenla that implicates the Chenla' s traditional tie to the Chandra (Soma) lineage of Meru that was originated at Middle East. At the same time, we know that this Soma line had deep connection with the Vakataka court of Deccan that was formed as a naga consortium. At the same time, the Indian tradition recalled the naga court of Bharasiva of northern India where Vikramaaditya emerged as a new leader to challenge the Koshan and reclaimed the Naga supremacy back from the Gupta court. Bhavavarman was known in Khmer tradition as Pya Krek, but his own exploit was more connected to the west, so much so that he was excluded completely from the modern history of Cambodia. His line of descendants, Anuruddha was instead remembered in Burma than in Cambodia proper. If they did not leave fairly amount of inscriptions behind, we would have nothing to verify the Mon accounts of the water Chenla' s involvement in the development of the next Ankorean empire through the Sri Vijayan line of kings. Its subsistence and exploit was checked out through Angkor' s dependency of the Mon and Xiang-mai states' own tradition or chronicle. At the mean time, Anurudha' s immediate task was to establish the Sri Vijayan control of both the Sri Dharmaraja and the Lawasangharata court of Xiang-Mai (Xiang-Mai: The Chenla's Connection: The Work of Anurudha).
The Last Funan king Jayavarman I (657-681)*
In concordance with the Khmer legend of Prah Thong, we know that the Funan court did not succumb immediately to the Cham ' s attack. Instead, the Deva Dynasty was forced to take refuge in the Khorat Plateau.
The Cham kings then conducted an attack to chase out Prah bat Devavamsa. Taking by surprise, Prah bat Devavamsa escaped north to Nokor Rajasima, in the territory of the great Kambuja.
As a Khmer reference to the "Frontier Kingdom", Nokor Rajasima extended from the Khorat Plateau to Yunnan. An inscription found at Vat Phu attests the presence of the court of a king named Jayavarman at Lingaparvata .
The master of masters of the land, Sri Jayavarman, issues his command (as followed): At this Srimate Lingaparvata, all the living of this place would not be harmed by nobody, even if they had committed sins. What offering to God here, or others would stay as his. (BEFEO II: Stele de Vat Phu, M. A. Barth)
This is the first inscription that refers Wat Phu as Lingaparvata, which according to Chinese sources, was the sacred place that the Chenla King performed the annual human sacrifice. The inscription implicates that the sacrifice was still carried on, even the Chenla Empire was about to succumb. This Vishnuite tradition could be the driving force behind the Cham's faith of human sacrifying, observed through out the Chenla era by Chinese observers (Notes: The Human Sacrifice). It is important to note that besides being Buddhist, we know that Jayavarman Kaundinya was also Vishnuite due to his association to the Gupta Court. Following his ancestor, it was more likely that Jayavarman practiced the same faith. The sacrifice was perhaps carried down in conforming to the regional practice in the effort to protect his people from any local spirit in retaliation of their wrong doing. The inscription was not dated but according to its Buddhist style and presentation, scholars readily dated it at the same period that other inscriptions were found erected farther south at Ba Phnom by a king of the same crown name. During the high of the Chenla uprising, other inscriptions witness the reign of a king whom scholars referred as Jayavarman I (657-681). Due to special circumstances of his early reign, our first impression was to identify him a Chenla king. It was in agreement of contemporary view of scholars who, due to the misconception that Chenla was the forefront of the Khmer Court, mistook him as a possible son of King Bhavarvarman I (ISSA: The Dismemberment of Funan: Pre-Angkorean Cambodia: P.72). As we had identified that Anuruddha was actually the son or a descendant of the Water Chenla King, the association of Jayavarman I as another son of his needed to be thoroughly reviewed. The findings show clearly that he could not be possibly a Chenla king. Through many of his inscriptions that included the inscription of Wat Phu, we know that he was a Buddhist. That fact alone refutes any attempt to relate him as a member of the Chenla clan who was known at the time to fight against Buddhism. On the other hand, his crown name "Jayavarman" was never been known to be of Chenla' s origin. Apparently, he did not inherit the title from the Chenla house, but from the late Khmer king Jayavarman Kaundinya instead. He was then the last Khmer king who, according to the Khmer legend, survived the Cham attack by escaping to the north. In that regard we shall we shall review everything that had been known about him. In conforming to the legend, we believe that Jayavarman 's settlement at Wat Phu was actually to escape the Chenla early' s attack. Soon after, he started the campaign against Isanavarman I and drove him out from Isanapura.
Staying at Nokorsima for a year, he (Prah Thong) then strikes back to chase out the Cham kings, some escaped to Bayangkau some to the mount Isvara .
(RPNK: Devavamsa)
Under his attack, the Chams had to reposition themselves to the South. The retreat is checked-out by score of vestiges left behind by king Isanavarman at the realm of the southern territory that includes a stone temple built on mount Bayang-kor. As the reign of Isanavarman I was known to end at 635 AD, the event must to take place around the same time suggesting that the reign of Jayavarman I started earlier than in 637 AD. It was also possible that his reign was actually two consecutive reigns of two Khmer kings with the same name. Other inscriptions found around Ba-Phnom witnesses his settlement at the region apparently after the Land Chenla court was already ousted from the mainland Indochina.
Even thought having close connection with the Saka communities, the Land Chenla kings had retained most of theirs Khmer heritage. From the Chinese source, we can see that legacies of both the Khmer court of Prey Nokor and the Sakan communities of the Siam country were mixed into a new tradition that lasted through the Chenla era. At the time that the records were made, the Chenla King Isanavarman already inherited the Khmer court of Prey-nokor from his father Mahendravarman and along with the Cham court of Champapura established Isanpura as the capital of the land Chenla Empire. The description was specific to the land Chenla court where the Cham cultural background of the kingdom Bandhusinhanati nagara was still enchored among the Lao tribesmen of northern Siam country.
The Establishment of Champapura *
The distribution of vestiges conveys that Mahendravarman managed to take control of the Khorat Plateau and the original Khmer Kingdom at prey Nokor. He left many inscriptions bearing at first his personal name Citrasena which indicate that he was still a prince when he was combating along side his brother Bhavavarman. Together, the two brothers succeeded in overthrowing the Kambuja Empire and restored the legacy of the Saka tradition. The history of the Sui pickuped the story of uprising from here on, giving the wrong impression that it was actually Citrasena who started the campaign. An inscription found at Mi-son (BEFEO t.3: Stele de Sambhuvarman a Mison, M. L. Finot), not far from that of Bhadravarman recounted on one of its face what was next at Champapura, after the reign of Sri Rudravarman. In the saka year, determined only by the legible digit 4 as a year of the fifth century, a fire destroyed the sanctuary of the god Bhadrasvara built by the first Bhadravarman. As we recalled back the sanctuary of Mi-son was built by the Khmer court of Prey-nokor in dedication to the first Kaundinya king and received its name after him as Bhadrapura. According to the inscription, the next king with the coronation name (Abhisekanama) of Sambhuvarman and with the religious (dindikanama) name of Prasasthadhamma, managed to restore the sanctuary and rededicate to the god Sambhubhadrasvara. The inscription, moreover, is the first inscription to mention about Champa Desa in relation with the new court of Sambhupura. It led us to believe that the city received its changed name to Champapura only from the reign of Sambhuvarman. Before the uprising of the Chenla Kings, we had seen that Champapura was not formed at Prey-Nokor, but at Koh Thom (Champapura: The Establishment of Cham Communities: The Formation of Champapura). The mentioning about Champadesa reveals that he was related to the previous Cham court of king Ajiraja and was trying to bring back the Cham legacy through the establishment of Champapura. During his reign that ended in 629, he received a delegation from Chenla, minister Simhadeva of king Mahendravarman. Like the Chenla kings, Sambhuvarman was lined from the Khmer king Bhadravarman or Kaundinya. His son Kandarpadhamma succeeded him and had a peaceful reign. Chinese source (BEFEO IV: Deux Itinarraires De Chine en Inde I:P 195, By Paul Pelliot) also reveals that Kandarpadhamma had very good relationship with the Tang court. He repeatedly sent rich presents to the emperor Tai Tsung and when the latter died he was present at his funeral and was memorized by a stone statue at the site of the tomb.
In 623,in 625 and in the years of tcheng-Koun (627-649), the king Fan Fan-tche sent his ambassadors. In 630, in 631 and in the following years, the king Fan Teou-li paid also tribute; he was represented as stone statue at the tomb of the emperor Tai-tsong (627-649).
The inscription also mentions about the union between his son, Jagadharma and the princess Sarvani, a daughter of Isanavarman. Due to some circumstances, says the inscription, Jagadharma stayed at Bhavapura which we shall identified as Lavo (Dvaravati: The Chenla Connection: Bhavapura as the birthplace of the Santhap-amarindra 's dynasty). From the union they had a son named Prakasadharma who would ascend the throne of Champapura under the name of Vikrantavarman. At the same time, we could compile a glimpse picture about the Chenla Empire under the reign of king Isanavarman from the history of the Sui and in "The ethnographic study of people outside China" by Ma Tuan Lin. The account conveys that Isanavarman ruled over a waste territory and that his capital was I-she-na, a Chinese transcription of Isanapura. As the capital of Chenla, Isanapura was identified with the ruins at Sambor Prei Kuk, north of Kampong Thom. Vestiges left behind included many small brick towers and inscriptions, some of which made clear reference to Isanapuri. The structure that was typical of Cham legacy was noticeable different from other towers found in Indochina. The great Chinese pilgrim Hsun-Tsang called Cambodia by the name I-she-na in the middle of the seventh century, implicating that Isanavarman was ruling over all Cambodia.
The prince makes his residence in the city of I-she-na, which contains more than twenty thousand families. In the middle of the city is a great hall where the king gives audience and holds court. The kingdom includes thirty other cities, each populated by several thousands of families, and each ruled by a governor; the titles of state officials are the same as in Lin-yi.
At this late stage, it appears that Isanavarman was the sole ruler of the Chenla Empire. Of all the cities that numbered thirty of them, Hsun-Tsang mentioned that the administration was the same as Prey-nokor. Its extension over the Khorat plateau, including the region of Wat Phu, was no doubt the origin of the regional tradition that maintains its name as "Isana" until today.
The Establishment of Isanapura*
The history of the Sui had a particular account about the Chenla Court of king Isanavarman establishing itself at Isanapura. It mentions that the titles of the Chenla court' s state officials were the same as those of the Khmer court of Prey Nokor.
This prince (Isana) makes his residence in the city of I-she-na, which contains more than twenty thousand families. In the middle of the city is a great hall where the king gives audience and holds court. The kingdom included thirty other cities, each populated by several thousands of families, and each ruled by a governor; the titles of state officials are the same as in Lin-yi. (ISSA: The Dismemberment of Funan: P, 74)
The inscription of Ang Chumnik witnesses the preservation of the Khmer court of Rudravaraman to serve in the court of both the Chenla king Bhavavarman and Mahendravarman. Nevertheless, the Chinese source conveys a strong taste of luxury as carried on by Sakan Tradition of northern Siam.
Every three days the king proceeds solemnly to the audience hall and sits on a couch made of five kinds of aromatic wood and decorated with seven precious things. About the couch there rises a pavilion hung with magnificent fabrics; the columns are of veined wood and the walls of ivory strewn with flowers of gold. Together this couch and this pavilion form a sort of little palace, at the back of which is suspended, as in Chih-tu, a disk with gold rays in the form of flames. A golden incense-burner, held by two men, is placed in front. The king wears a dawn-red sach of ki-pei cotton that falls to his feet. He covers his head with a cap laden with gold and precious stones, with pendants of pearls. On his feet are leather, or sometimes "ory, sandals; in his ears, pendants of gold. His robe is always made of a very fine white fabric called pe-ti. When he appears bareheaded, one does not see precious stones in his hair. (ISSA: The Dismemberment of Funan: P, 74)
The legacy of Chih-tu was also mentioned, revealing interference of the Saka Communities of Chiang-saen in the formation of the Chenla Empire. The northern Siam country, as we recalled back, had been the stronghold of the Sakan court of Bandhusinhanati since the Buddha era.
The dress of the great officials is very similar to that of the king. These great officials or ministers are five in number. The first has the title ku-lo-yu. The titles of the four others, in order of the rank they occupy, are hsiang-kao-ping, po-ho-to-ling, she-ma-ling and jan-lo-lou. The lesser officials are considerable. Those who appear before the king touch the ground in front of them three times at the footsteps of the throne. If the king calls them and commands them to show their rank, they kneel, holding their crossed hands on their shoulders. Then they go and sit in a circle around the king to deliberate on the affairs of the kingdom. When the session is finished, they kneel again, prostrate themselves, and retire. More than a thousand guards dressed in armor and armed with lances are ranged at the foot of the steps of the throne, in the palace halls, at the doors, and at the peristyle.
According to the passage, the setting of the court resembled once again to the court of Siam (Chih-tu). It indicates that both Prey Nokor and Siam legacies had played important role in the formation of the Chenla Empire. The next passage obviously conveys a different setting of the country.
The custom of the inhabitants is to go around always armored and armed, so that minor quarrels lead to bloody battles. (ISSA: The Dismemberment of Funan: P, 75)
Obviously it was not a peaceful time and the people needed to arm themselves to the teeth for self-protection. In their everyday life, as an exact portrait of the wild east, small quarrel could lead to a big fight. The passage then continues on mentioning about how the Chenla court of king Isanavarman handle the internal intrigue and resolved the conflict of inheritance.
Only sons of the queen, the legitimate wife of the king, are qualified to inherit the throne. On the day that a new king is proclaimed, all his brothers are mutilated. From one a finger is removed, from other the nose is cut off. Then their maintenance is provided for, each in a separated place, and they are never appointed to office. (ISSA: The Dismemberment of Funan: P, 75)
This kind of arrangement had never been known in the Khmer court of Prey-Nokor.
The People and theirs Custom *
The Chinese describes the people of Chenla as they had been done before in regard to the indigenous people of the mainland Indochina as a whole. The change of leadership role does not affect much theirs composition and appearance.
The men are of small statue and dark complexion, but many of the women are fair in complexion.
Their life style, according to the next passage, seams to be much more descent and they seams to be conscious about their hygiene. However the passage does not make it clear that the description was about the high class or the general people.
All of them roll up their hair and wear earrings. They are lively and vigorous in temperament. Their houses and the furniture they use resemble those of Chih-tu. They regard the right hand as pure and the left hand as impure. They washed every morning, clean their teeth with little pieces of poplar wood and do not fail to read or recite their prayers. They wash again before eating, get their poplar toothpicks going immediately afterwards, and recite prayers again.

The last passage indicates that they were very religious and they took time to recite prayers regularly. When talking about food, it is clear that they had enough to eat and the meal included appetizer.
Their food included a lot of butter, milk-curds, powdered sugar, rice and also millet, from which they make a sort of cake which is soaked in meat juices and eaten at the beginning of the meal.
Once again, it is not clear that it was the description of the everyday meal of the general population or of the high class Cham aristocrats. The regular Southeast Asian people would not use a lot of butter and milk-curds as described in the passage and cow-mild was not one of their traditional rations. The Chinese Recorders must to confuse between the coconut-milk and the cow-milk product. It is also possible that the Chinese record describes the ration of the Saka rulers instead of the regular people. These Saka rulers might still retain their diet of cow-mild as important ingredient in their meals. Family matter had always been an important feature of the Khmer tradition. It started with the marriage. It was the groom's responsibility to ask the hand of his bride to be with elaborate presents to her parents. After theirs consents, the preparation for the marriage could be cumbersome.
Whoever wishes to marry first of all sends presents to the girl he seeks; then the girl's family chooses a propitious day to have the bride led, under the protection of a go-between, to the house of the bride groom. The families of the husband and wife do not go out for eight days. Day and night the lamps remain lit.
After the marriage, with the help of the parents, the couple went out to build their own nest and lived independently from their relatives.
When the wedding ceremony is over, the husband receives part of the goods of his parents and goes to establish in his own house. At the death of his parents, if the deceased leave young children who are not yet married, these children receive the rest of the goods; but if all the children are already married and endowed, the goods that the parents have retained for themselves go to the public treasury.
As to the funeral, the record indicates that cremation became the only funeral ceremony of choice. Following the Khmer tradition implanted by Kaundinya, the Hindu practice of cremation was also enforced by the Chenla King.
Funerals are conducted in this way: the children of the deceased go seven days without eating, shave their heads as a sign of mourning and utter loud cries. The relatives assemble with monks and nuns of Buddha or the Hindu Priests, who attend the deceased by chanting and playing various musical instruments. These corpses are burned on a pyre made of every kind of aromatic wood; the ashes are collected in a gold or silver urn to be thrown into deep water. The poor use earthenware urn, painted in different colors. There are also those who content to abandon the body in the mountains, leaving the job of devouring it to the wild beats.
The funeral ceremonies were described to be of both Hindu and Buddhist tradition. It indicates that even-though the Chenla court was overly Hinduist, the people still hold on to the Buddhist tradition. Side by side with the Hindu religion, Buddhism prevailed. Last and not least, the text also provides geographical information about the country.
The north of Chenla is a country of mountains intersected by valleys. The south contains great swamps, with a climate so hot that there is never any snow or hoar-frost; the earth there produces pestilential fumes and teems with poisonous insects. Rice, rye, some millet, and coarse millet are grown in this kingdom.
In contribution to the story of Khun Borom of Nan-tchao, we had seen that Rudravarman's son Narapatindravarman was restoring back his own court at Nan-tchao. With the support of Tai-yuan, the Khmer court soon started to wage their raids into the Chenla' s territory. Facing with both fronts that were carried on by Water-Chenla and the Man rebels, the Land Chenla and Champapura ' s last days were approaching. The Tang ' s support was the only reason that they could survive. When the Tang could no longer provide support, preparation to exit the mainland Indochina was seen underway through out the erection of the last Chenla's inscriptions. Adyapura that was Ba-Phnom became then the last place of the mainland Indochina to retain Cham legacies of the past.
The Rise of Ko-lo-feng at Nan-chao *
After taking control of China, the Tang shifted their focus to the southern provinces in their attempt to annihilating the local Koshan houses of Nan-tchao. Their campaign started after the surviving Buddhist King Ko-lo-feng attacked Tonkin. The fight was intense and the Tang Court was under pressure from the Chinese communities of giving not enough commitment to save Tonkin. An artist scholar, Pi Jih-hsiu witnessed the Chinese sentiment of Tonkin and their call for help of the Tang to intervene. A poem composed by him provides important information on account of the war (BViet: Appendix N: Pi Jih-hsiu and the Nan-chao War). On his stay in the city of Hsiu-chang located on the Ying River in modern Honan, Pi Jih-hsiu witnessed the suffering of local population under the draft for the Tang army and sent to Tonkin to resist the Nan-Chao offensive. In 862, two thousand men from Hsu had been drafted and according to Jih-hsiu, many had died during the siege of Kiao-tche by Ko-lo-feng.
Hih-hsiu was staying at an inn in Hsu-chuan. He suddenly heard the sound of wailing outside the city walls and inquired of people passing in the street. They said: "Southern barbarians besieged our Giao-chi. An imperial order was received to levy two thousand Hsu soldiers to attack them. They attack again and again, and they all died in battle.
The account clearly that the Chinese people considered Tonkin as a country of their own. When it was attacked by Nan-chao, the Tang court was pressured to recruit Chinese army to help. On his poem composed later, Jih-hsiu portrayed a grim wartime picture.
The south was neglected, officials were not selected, causing the overthrow of our Giao-chi, which for three or four successive years, has drifted away, bringing disgrace to the empire.
Even then, Jih-hsiu and other Chinese citizen still stood firm with Tonkin despite the high casualty of their men and diverted the blame to the Tang Court for, according to the poem, neglecting Tonkin for too long. The neglecting was actually due to the Sui dynasty and was not the last, Anytime that China was under a friendly court with the south, Tonkin's role was drastically reduced. As we shall see, the critic of Jih-hsiu was just a weary feeling of a Chinese citizen about one lost battle among many others conducted against the southern states of Yunnan. Little that Jih-hsiu knew about the Tang policy in regard to Tonkin. The Tang court might have been occupied to secure its own suzerainty taken from the Sui dynasty, but was far to be neglectful about its far-most cammandary post. With the help of the Land Chenla they succeeded to drive the man rebels from both Tonkin and Nan-chao. In the Campaign, the Tangs formed a close alliance with both the Land Chenla and Champapura and used the coalition force to fight against Ko-lo-feng (Notes: Ko-lo-feng of Nan-tchao). During the expedition of 794, Chinese texts mentioned of the presence of a Land Chenla prince, tugged along with the Chinese armies in the fight against the ruler of Yunnan. The proposal of the Tangs for help became a viable solution for both countries in leaning to the Chinese court for support. Nevertheless, the Tang's successful campaign did not benefit the Land Chenla. After Ko-lo-Feng was driven down south, the Tangs would secure Tonkin into becoming once again its military commanding post. The Land Chenla court found-out the hard way that they were left alone and were in turn driven out by the new Khmer coalition force from theirs occupied territory. According to the northern Siam tradition, Khun Borom and his brother Khun Lo started to exert their control down-south. Without support from the Tangs, the court of the Land Chenla along with that of Champapura' s glory days were over.
The Attack of the Man Rebels *
As it is now, Tai-Yuan is located at the southern part of Mongolia. In correlation with the northern Siam Kingdom of Nan-tchao, Tai-Yuan had made its raid deep into the mainland of Indochina. As we had argued, Yunnan became the seat of Sakan leadership since the Shang era and kept the tradition until Piao-sui-ti had made his way into the region. Since then we had noticed the presence of the Koshans that established their leadership on the ground of local shan people. As a whole these mountainous people who got theirs identity from the Man culture were referred in Chinese texts as the Mans. As the Miens constituted the majority of their population, the Tibeto-burman tongue was theirs dominant language. The advent of the Chenla uprising changed the political setting of Nan-tchao. According to the Yunnan' s chronicle, a new dynasty by the name of Ko-lo-Feng or Ko-lo-Pang (Kolavamsa in Sanskrit) was formed by an obscure figure named Si-nou-lo during the early Tang Dynasty. As soon as it was formed, it started to challenge the authority of the court of China. As we had argued, he was no other than the son of the displaced Khmer King Rudravarman who took refuge in Yunnan during the early Chenla uprising. Theirs next campaigns deep into the mainland Indochina against the last stronghold of the Chenla house, were parts of his attempts to take back the Khmer throne.
The Man rebels once led an army of cavalry as far as the seashore. When they saw the green waves roaring and breaking, they felt disappointed and took their army and went back home.
In that situation, it appears that the Miens were subjected to the local rulers of Nan-tchao. Si-nou-lo apparently used them to liberate Funan (Kambujadesa) from the Chenla clan. His Central Asian connection started when the Chinese source mentions about Ko-lo-feng making alliance with Tibet and took hold of upper Burma between 757 and 763 to make contact with Bengal. To this date, evidences show that upper Burma had been always under the legacy of Piao-sui-ti as the discovery of Budhisathwa images were discovered to the time. The fact that Ko-lo-feng was related to Man-sui-ti through king Rudravarman led us to believe that the consortium with YUnnan's royal houses was mostly voluntarily from the part of the latter. The connection with Tai-Yuan however migh have been of different nature (Notes: The Xiang of Central Asia). After the Tang took over the Chinese court, Si-nou-lo found himself fighting a losing battle. To make the matter worst, the joint campaigns against Chenla moreover were met with setback. A Chinese text describes their attack against the city of Nu-wang to have a disastrous result. Through out tradition, Nu-Wang was in reference to Queen of the West (Po-nokor).
The City was Nu-wang and was located at over 30 day-stages distant from Jin-Nan Chieh-tu of the Man and is 10 day-stages distant from Huan-Chou. They regularly carried on trade with the common people of Huan-Chou. The Man rebels once led 2000 men to attack the kingdom. They were shot down by Nu-Wang with poisoned arrows. Not one in ten survived. The Man rebels then retreated. (JA 46 (Nov. 1958): The early Siam in Burma's History, G.H. Luce.)
According to the Chinese description, it could be located at Ba Phnom that was known to Chinese source as Po-nan where the Cham Aristocracy took hold since the arrival of King Ajiraja. The Mans lost the battle, but obviously not the war. Another Chinese text describes similar attack by the Man rebels, this time to the ancient Khmer (Kun-lun) territory where Isanavarman was taking refuge.
The Kun-lun kingdom is 81 day-stages from the Man boarders. Products of the land are the dark wood perfume, sandalwood perfume, dark-red sandalwood perfume, betel-nut trees, glazed ware, rock crystal, bottle gourds, unburned brick, etc..., various perfumes and herbs, precious stones, rhinoceros, etc. Once the Man rebels led an army with cavalry to attack it. The (people of) Kun-lun kingdom left the road open and let them advance. Then they cut the road behind the army and connected it with the river, letting the water cover it. Whether they advanced and retreated, (the Man) were helpless. Over ten thousands died of hunger. Of those who did not die, the Kun-lun severed the right wrists and let them go home. (JA 46 (Nov. 1958): The early Siam in Burma's History, G.H. Luce)
The passage indicates that the Khmer (Kun-lun) kingdom of Ba Phnom was now back under the Chenla kings who was fighting against the Man rebels forcing them to withdraw with severe casualty. By this time evidences show that the Khmer court of King Jayavarman I already escaped to Druvapura ().
Cho-po and the Ho-ling Kingdom *
During the decline of the Tang dynasty and subsequently of the Chenla Empire, Chinese source started referring Ho-ling and Cho-po as a kingdom of Central Java sending its ambassadors to China. Scholars had been since locked in debate to identify the two countries and theirs location. Nevertheless they came to the conclusion that the two countries were actually the same (DICI: P. 286). As Cho-po was already known to be a Chinese reference to Champapura, Ho-ling that was used as its alternate reference must to have close historical connection with the Land Chenla. The Chinese word Ho-ling, meaning the River of Reed, is the exact translation of the Khmer word "Stung-treng" that was known as the last refugee camp of the Land Chenla' s falling court of Isanapura. The New History of the Tang has many passages relating to theirs embassies to the court of China made under the name of Ho-ling. During this early stage of their escape, apparently they still introduced themselves as the court of Stung-treng to the Tang Court. Their first three embassies were dated in 640, 648 and 666. The close connection between the two courts at central Java proves that the Land Chenla court actually joined the Cham court in Java to escape the Khmer attack. Another supporting evidence to the same displacement of the Chenla court into Java is the legacy of the late Chenla king Isanavarman. Javanese inscriptions later attest the consecration of IsanaBhadrasvara, the god king of Iasanavarman, as the divine protector of the Javanese Empire, Another account of the new history of the Tang (FUNAN: Le Funan: P 298) confirms that the Land Chenla court had a strong relationship with South India.
The country (Ho-ling) is at the south of To-mo-tchang, and is said to be dependent of South India; it also known to be coast to coast with the Campa of India, which is at the shore of the Gange.
In this account, To-mo-chang was the same reference to To-mo, the Funan capital that we had identified as Mahidhara or Khedah. Ho-ling was mentioned to be at the south of To-mo-chang and was referring to Java itself. As noted later, the Ho-ling or Land Chenla court appeared to settle itself at the heart of Tamil country.
the Ho-ling that was at the north of To-mo-chang, itself at the north of Tsin-tche-fou, would not be at Java nor in the Malay Peninsula; it would be the Kalinga of India that Hiuan-tsang had known under the name of Kie-ling-kia.
It was actually one of the many factors that makes the new Javanese kingdom able, not only to standup, but to challenge the Sri-Vijaya later on in the history of Southeast Asia. As we shall argue, the emergence of the Chola power house of South India was not a coincidence and that it was formed by the same Cholan legacy of Prey-nokor (The Chola Dynasty: The Cholan Consortium: The Cholan Empire of Tanjore). Since the fall of Hiong-wang, Chinese texts consistently referred the leadership of Lin-yi as Chu-lien when they fought to free themselves from the Han's control (Prey-Nokor). We had also argued that it was the resuscitation of the Hiong-wang kingdom, that the native court of Prey-nokor was formed in connection to the ancient Choladhara legacy of Varahana. From the findings, we believe that this new consortium between Ho-ling and South Indian royal houses was going to become the seat of the next South Indian Chola Empire. Until then, Ho-ling was still enjoying the protection of the Water Chenla who at that time had the control of Mahidhara of the Malay archipelago. Scholars even postulated that at some point in time, Ho-ling settled down at the Malay Peninsular (ISSA: The Dismembering of Funan: Ho-ling in Java and Malayu in Sumatra: P. 79). Due to the complexity of situation during the fall of Funan, we need to be cautious about the political and cultural setting of Ho-ling that was going to change over time. Adding into the dilemma, circumstances had turned the water Chenla King Bhavavarman into a devout Buddhist and stopped his destructive campaign against the Buddhist consortium of the last Khmer Empire. Along with his new faith, he started on restoring the fallen Khmer courts and turned against the Land Chenla former alliance. His descendants in the line of Anuruddha became since ardent Buddhist promoters and continued their policy until the end of their time. In the new order, Siva-Buddhism became the religion of choice of the Khmer court. The change of policy would set them apart from their Cham compatriots whose devotion to Vishnuite cult was still strong. Forced to move to Java, they received support from the Cholan dynasty of South India. After regrouping in Java, they launched retaliation campaigns against the new formed coalition Khmer court at Prey-nokor. The vestiges of Vishnuite background left behind at Champapura attested theirs fight to be continued on, during the early stage of the reformation of the Khmer empire. Through the separation of the two camps' religious believes, we are able to distinguish which period of the Champapura' s history was Khmer and which was Cham in theirs affiliation with either Sivaism or Vishnuism.

  1. ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
  2. Camb: The Cambodge, by E. Aymonier
  3. Funan: BEFEO III: Le Funan, by Paul Pelliot
  4. DICI: BEFEO IV: Deux Itinaries de Chine en Inde a la fin du VIII siecle, by Paul Pelliot
  5. HTN: Histoire particuliere du Nan-Tchao, by Yang Chen, Translated by Camille Sainson
  6. RBRP: A Record of the Buddhist Religion as Practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago, by I-Tsing, Translated by J. Takakusu
  7. JAISC: Journal Asiatic: Aout-Septembre 1882: Inscriptions Sanscrites Du Cambodge, By August Barth
  1. Chronology:
    581-618: The Sui Dynasty ruled China; 598: Last record of Bhavavarman; 605: The Sui raid Champapura; 607: Water Chenla took over Xiang-mai; 616: First record of Isanavarman; 618-: The Tang Dynasty ruled China; 618: The Chams hold back Champapura, Sambhuvarman reigned over Champapura; 649: The reign of Si-nou-lo (Narapatindravarman) in Yunnan; 657-681: The reign of Jayavarman I; 698-729: Khun Borom in Nan-tchao; 716: first record of Puskarasa in Sambhupura; 802: Jayavarman II founded Hariharalaya.
  2. Tsin-lab
    The interpretation of a derivative "Tsien Lap" of the word "Chenla", is pure wax which may be related to the Khmer word "Kramoan Sar" meaning white wax. The history of the Sui (BEFEO III:Le Funan, Paul Pelliot, P. 272), at the sixth century, recorded the emergence of the Chenla court at southwest of Lin-yi or Prey Nokor. It seams to support the theory that "Kramoan Sar" was the indigenous name of Chenla since a locality nearby Ba Phnom still retains that name. However, the Khmer tradition has not much to say about Kramoan Sar either as a political or cultural center of ancient Cambodia. There might be on some occasions that Chinese texts made a reference to Tsien Lap as to Kramoan Sar, and along the way got mixt-up with the word Chenla as the name of the Khmer Country.
  3. Lin-yi vs Yi-sin
    In his commentary, P. Pelliot noticed that the word "Yi-sin", meaning the Sin (Tsin) 's kingdom was found in Chinese texts as a reference to the Khmer Kingdom.
    It is tempting to see in "Ko-mao" the name of the Khmers who in the two histories of the Tang is transcribed as "Ki-mao". The commentary of Houei-lin gives as an ancient name of that country "Yi-sin" that is unknown and probably fautif, and that the Japanese authors substituted with "LIn-Yi" that is impossible (DICI: footnote 4: P.220)
    On the other hand, he also found out that Yi-sin (the Tsin country) was substituted by Lin-Yi (the Forest Country) in Japanese texts. It meant that Prey-nokor (Lin-yi) as well as Yi-Sin was at a time, a Chinese reference to Nokor Khmer. Commonly committed by western scholars, Pelliot made the mistake of not associating the Kun-lun kingdom to the Khmer kingdom of Prey-Nokor.
  4. The Misconception about the Fall of Funan
    The fall of Funan and its immediate outcome was the least understood of all history of Southeast Asia. The dilemma started when the Chinese source gives out the wrong impression that Chenla was actually the forefront of the Khmer Kingdom. It misled scholars to postulate that Cambodia started itself as a vassal state of Funan. A more serious misconception was that the fall of Funan gave Chenla the opportunity to rise up as a kingdom that was going to become Cambodia of today. At the same time, the rest of Funan's people, the Mons in particular, were left stateless.
  5. The Cham Identity
    The history of the Chams started when they invaded the Gangetic India and built their satrap at Champapura of Vanga (where they got their identity as Cham). They later moved into Southeast Asia under the Cham identity. In many of theirs inscriptions, they presented themselves as Sakya and along with the King Bimbissara of Magadha were of close relative to king Ashoka. Evidences also point out that the Gupta King Chandragupta himself whom we had identified as the father-in-law of Kaundinya also belonged to this Indian royal house.
  6. Chenla Vs Funan
    Chou-ta-kuan quoted in his record at the beginning of the fourteenth century.
    The Tchen-la is also called Tchan-la; it indigenous name is Kan-pu-tche.
    Chou-ta-kuan, as many other Chinese, knew that Kambuja was the native name of the Khmer Empire. Still he continued to refer Cambodia as Chenla. Actually Chenla and Funan were Chinese references to the leadership of both Khmer and Kambujan royal houses that merged after the formation of Angkor.
  7. The Commemoration of Bhavavarman
    The Commemoration of Bhavavarman in the Han-Chey inscription (JAISC: Inscription du Han-Chey: Face A: P. 208) was so elaborate and informative that we decide to review the stanza all over again. To start, we came up with the following correction in reading the title "malamalum ivamalam raja" from the text that should be " mala malayu iva malayam raja" instead. The mistake was due to the omission of the letter "ya" (in abreviation) in two locations underneath the letter "la" of he words "malum" and "malam". The proper reading of the commemoration should be:
    Jitam induvatansena murdhana Gagam babhara yah umabrubhan (ga)chihoormmim malamalayu iva malyamraja cri Bhavavarmmeti patir asin mahipbhrtam
    Etymologogically, the Sanskrit word Induvatansena (Indu-vata-anga-sena) appears to make a reference to the Indian court of the Sena Naga dynasty. That explains the connection between the Soma' s lineage (Chenla) to the south Indian lineage of the XSEna court and the recovery of the Cholan empire on the South Indian territory. The word murudhana was actually a synonymous of the Chinese word Chenla (Tsin-lo) and the combined word "Murudhana Gangam" is meant to be "Water Chenla". The title "Malamalayu ivamalyam" was a connection to the Malay court (Malayang) and must to receive after the subduction of the Mahidhara court of Khedah. On the other hand, the word "rasin mahibrtam" is a fautif of "tasin mahibrtam", in reference to Ta-Tsin of Mahodhara ream of Malayu. The whole commemoration should then be translated as followed:
    Victory to the "Induvatansena", the WAter-Chenla king berring the rank of "umabhubhangujihmormmim", the Mala king of Malayu Sri Bhavavarman became the ruler of Ta Tsin Mahodhara like the sublime "Mahasatva" Meru himself
  8. Seu-li-po-po-na-ta-chan-na
    Pelliot questioned that is it a chinese transcription of Cribhavanandesena?
  9. Sri Ksettra vs Pyuksettra
    There was misconception that Sri Ksettra was the same as Pyuksettra. Etymologically Sri Ksettra means a Kingdom while PyuKsettra means the Pyu Kingdom (the Kingdom of the Ppyu king to be exact). Located at Prome, Pyuksettra was often referred to Birmany while Sri Ksettra was referring to Sri Dharmaraja,
  10. The Three Gog Dynasties
    Superstitious as it may be, Southeast Asia is the Meru' s cristal ball to the future of the new world order. After the fall of the Han, China was ruled by the three dynasties. While each one of three camps fought for its own supremacy through military mean, each one of the camps was looking for a way eliminate the other twos. In Central Asia, the Skythian, the Yueh-shih and the Hiong-nu also fought to rule the steppe.
  11. The Split of Chenla
    The Split of Chenla happened after Bhavavarman and his descendant line of kings had changed their devotion to Buddhism and in the process transformed the Water Chenla court into becoming the promoter of Buddhiam. In contrast, the Land Chenla and all its Vishnuite alliance continued to fight against Buddhism and transformed itself to become the hard core of the Cham legacy of Southeast Asia. It was this change of devotion that the Chenla consortium finally split into two antagonist camps ().
  12. The Human Sacrifice
    Conforming to the cult of ancestors, sacrifice was viewd as an offering to the spiritual world. It was then in concordance with the western belief of the late Abrahamic schools that by sacrifying to God, their sins would be tolerated. The human sacrifying, in particular was meant to please god by sending him a human' s soul to become his subject. The sacrificed person was often misled to believe that he was better off being with god than to live in the disturbed human world. This Vishnuite discipline was later rejected by Siva-Buddhist school who claim that the sacrifying of any sort is useless. In the immortal world, God does not need anything to survive. At the contrary, souls of less merituous spirit would need all sacrifice' s offerings to maintain their spirituality in the physical world. Judging from the fact that the last of the Chenla aristocrats of Ba Phnom became Buddhist, the human sacrifying was no longer practiced inside of Cambodia.
  13. The Xiang of Central Asia
    Evidences show that Si-nou-lo ruled Yunnan under the Xinag' s legacy of the Hiong-wang kingdom. The history of Tibet confirms that his ruling extended up to the Tai-Yuan country.
    The Chiang of classical times eventually became a military power along the edge of the early Silk Road during the late Han period. The Chinese were continually worried about a possible linkup between the Chiang and the nomad Hsiung-nu, but in the long run neither Chiang and Hsiung-nu were able to seriously endanger the Han state.(TIBET: Before the Empire)