The Construction of Angkor Wat

Project: The Construction of Angkor Wat
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: June/01/2003
Last updated: March/31/2015
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.

The resuscitation of ancient feuds between the two Naga clans changed the geographical politic of Southeast Asia into a complete reversal setting. The exodus of the Sri Vijaya from Mahidhara to take control of the Angkorian throne brought the Ocean Naga legacy in land. Inscriptions witness the settlement of the family members of Suryavarman I on the Khorat Plateau, the traditional ream of Culodhara. At the same time, Indian history witnesses the occupation of the Malay Archipelago by the South Indian Cholan Empire. Under Rajendra Chola II, the Chola conquered and occupied the Mahidhara ream of the Sri Vijaya. His successor, Rajadhiraja (1044-1054), took control of the Cholan Empire at 1044. He was a contemporary of the king Suryavarman I (1006-1050) who, as a Cakravatin Monarch of Angkor, had the same title as Rajadhiraja. Considering that the clash between the Chola and the Sri Vijaya continued on during the next reigns of both Chola and Angkor, the bearing of the same title of a cakaravatin monarch, indicated rivalry between the two houses (Notes: The legacy of Angkor). In a hostile environment, we have the reason to believe that the Cholan King Rajadhiraja was not in a friendly term to the new Angkorian court. He was more likely a direct successor of the last Angkorian king Jayavarman V who joined the Cholan consortium after the dynastic crisis. His title conveys that he was challenging Suryavarman I as a true cakravatin monarch through the assertion that he was actually the rightful heir for the Angkorian throne. Indian history seams to mark his reign as uneventful but was preoccupying himself to stabilize the vast empire left by his predecessors. Evidences show however that his exploit was more focusing on the eastern front of India, and to the most extend on Southeast Asia. After strengthening the Cholan legacy at Java, he carried on the Cholan supremacy into the Mon country and beyond (Ramanadesa: The Mon Countries: The Mons of Tathon and the "Talaing" identity). After the reign of Rajadhiraja I, the Cholan Empire went into decline. At the same time, we see a new political adjustment at Angkor to accommodate the inclusion of Cholan members back into its cakravatin establishment.
A shared Legacy *
Modern history of Angkor, the Sri Vijaya, and the Javanese Empire, had been written separately as of different entities. Compiled by different groups of specialized historians, each account was tied to its specific political region. Cambodia, Malaysia, and Java were portrayed as different countries, developed independently since the start of their existence. Overlooking past connection, scholars virtually see no existing links between these powerhouses other than their apparent drive for supremacy. Nevertheless, scholars agreed that they were connected under the same cultural development known to them as the Indianization. Happening way back in the past, we had argued that their common legacy started after the formation of Nokor Khmer at Prey-Nokor. Trigged by internal feud, the three factions of the royal descendants from Kaundinya (including the Chenla house itself) were becoming the next generation of kings for both Southeast Asia and India. Carrying on the legacy of the Gupta Empire, Jayavarman II established Angkor to become the next Cakravatin Empire. During its early foundation, Angkor succeeded in accomplishing its task as a Middle Kingdom, by reuniting family members who were direct descendants of the late Kaundinya and the Nagi princess. Along the way, other factions soon joined in and their contribution constituted the expansion of the Khmer Chakaravatin Empire. The Dynastic crisis however induced a serious setback as the Cholan and Sri Vijayan houses went head on contending for supremacy. It is important to note that despite family's connection, the two clans were of totally different cultural backgrounds and affinities. The Sri Vijaya was Buddhist but had been initiated to the Sivaite cult of Devaraja through the remaining legacy of the last Angkorian court. On the other hand, the Chola became devout Vishnuite with the close connection with the Southern Indian religious schools. The love-hate relationship between the two contenders would create the dynamic of the next development that affected the whole of Southeast Asia. At Ramanadesa, Pagan emerged under the leadership of Anuruddha as another powerhouse to challenge both the Sri Vijayan and the Cholan Empires. Under these adverse circumstances, fight erupted as each contender was preoccupying about their own hidden agenda. Nevertheless, Buddhism had played its role sub-consciously to bring them back to rationality. Even though rivalry was still imminent, serious attempts for reunification had also been initiated.
After the Sri Vijayan faction left Angkor back to their homeland, a new leadership emerged once again at Yasodhara to bring the glory back to the Angkorian Empire. An obscure figure by the name of Divakara became the new leader to consolidate the Khmer court and went on strengthening once again the cakravatin kingship. His political skill, as we shall see, brought the legacy of the Chola back into the mainland Indochina. As we had argued, the Chola was no stranger to the Angkorian court (The Chola Dynasty: The Cholan Consortium: The Cholan Empire of Tanjore). While the Sri Vijayan legacy was seen leaving the Angkorian court, the old Angkorian tradition was soon subverted. Under the initiative of Divakara, Suryavarman II became next the cakravatin monarch to bring Angkor into anew era.
The early Career Path of Divakara *
The inscription of Phnom Sandak (BEFEO XLII, The Steles of Phnom Sandak: K.194, by G. Coedes) is the only inscription so far that provides us with information of Divakarapandita during his early career stage at Angkor. Unfortunately, the inscription does provide only a sketchy background about his origin.
The venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita from the region of Vnur Dnan, in the district of Sadya of the sect of Karamantara, third category, trained in reveal knowledge (from his) youth never ceased to learn and to teach all the sacred texts (agama) and to practice asceticism.
The locality of Vnur Dnan was mentioned in another inscription found at Phnom Sandak where Divakara apparently settled in. His presence in the Angkorian court is mentioned next during the reign of Udayadityavarman II.
In the reign of SM Cri Udayadityavarmadeva, who ascended the throne in 972 caka (1050 AD) when the king erected the KA Suvarnalinga. For the purpose of worshipping, the venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita was invited to officiate.
It is important to note that Udayadityavarman II was crowned by his guru Jayendrapandita whose family from Stok Koh Thom had sole ownership of the Devaraja ritual. Divakara on the other hand who was at the time very young, might just hold a minor position at first, but his career would pick-up fast after he was promoted to the rank of president of rites for the Angkorian King.
In the reign of SM Cri Udayadityavarmadeva, the venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita was invited to (takes over the duties of) president (pradhana).. with the rank of precedence in the fourth category.
The inscription is quiet about his ascending career during the reign of Harshanavarman III (1066-1080). Only during the reign of Jayavarman VI (1080-1107) that he was mentioned to be promoted to the rank of Lord Guru, a position traditionally held by the family of Jayendrapandita from Stok Koh Thom. The history of the Sung recorded the arrival of one of the highest dignitaries of San-fo-shish named Ti-hua-chieh-lo at the court of China in 1067. Ten years later, in 1077, it also recorded the arrival of another dignitary of the same name, Ti-hua-chia-lo, but this time from the Cholan court of king Rajendradevakulottanga. His name as the exact transcription of the Chinese word "Ti-hua-chia-lo" leads us to believe that Divakara was the same person in the Chinese Texts who played a key role in the development of post dynastic crisis. It shows that during the reign of Harshavarman III, Divakara was more active at Sri Dharmaraja and was working on the conciliation between the Sri Vijaya and the Chola. About the same time, many inscriptions found at the temple of Prah Vihear (JSS: Sanskrit Inscriptions of Campa and Cambodia, by Abel Bergaine) attest the apparition of the chief priest Divakara at Angkor during the next reigns. It signals another political shift that allowed the Chola clan to join in the Cakravatin establishment. Divakara' s presence in both the Sri Vijaya and the Angkorian court is not a surprise since they belonged now to the same Mahidhara or Mahavamsa family. The fact that he represented the court of Rajendradevakulottanga at the court of China suggests that he had close connection with the last Cholan king of Angkor (Notes: Rajendradevakulottanga). To recall back, Jayavarman V had recruited many Indian Brahmans to be part of his personal entourage, among them was DivakaraBhatta (The Chola Dynasty: The Dynasty of Koh Ker: The reign of Jayavarman V). Apparently Jayavarman V hired the Cholan priest DivakaraBhatta to join the Angkorian court before the Dynastic crisis. When he was ousted by Sri Vijaya, he took along Divakarabhatta with him. It is most likely that when the Chola was allowed to join the Angkorian consortium during the late stage of King Udayadityavarman II, the family members of Divakarabhatta were also allowed to move to Angkor. It was because of his unique background and ability that Divakara managed to bring the two contending houses in consort. As we shall see, his audacity would play important role in the politic of the Angkorian court during the next turbulent reigns to bring up the Cholan supremacy again onto the Angkorian throne.
Divakara as Lord Guru *
The joining of the Chola in the Cakravatin establishment marked the ascending of Divakara' s career in the Angkorian court. Taking the opportunity of internal conflict, he promoted himself through the Angkorian channel that was previously reserved to the priestly family of Sdok Koh Thom. From the inscription of Phnom Sandak, we know that he was assigned to the job of Lord Guru. The first king to be crowned by him was Jayavarman VI.
In the reign of SM Cri Jayavarmadeva, when, on the occasion of his ascension to the holy royalty, he sought for a priest fit in all respects to carry out the function of Prah Guru to celebrate the royal coronation. - .It was the venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita who was invited to fulfill the venerable lord Guru.
The passage appears to indicate that Divakara brough himself up to become Lord Guru to perform the coronation of the king Jayavarman VI. Once again, we see the aggressivity of the Chief priest in the politic of the Angkorian court. Conforming to the Vishnuite sect of Hinduim, Divakara was just exercising his priesthood' s right as a member of the top cast of the kingdom. Needless to say, his aggressiveness had led to more unrest during the next reigns at Angkor. After his coronation, there are not many records or legacies of Jayavarman VI left at Angkor's site. The next passage indicates that he was more active at Champapura.
When SM Cri Jayavarmadeva went on a pilgrimage to the temples and holy places .. went to K.J Cri Campasvara, the venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita was invited to go and make (concessions?) in all the temples.
It is important to note that Champapura became the homeland of the Sailendra since the formation of the cakravatin Empire. During the dynastic crisis, we saw the Sri Vijaya moving into Prey-Nokor and the Sri Vijayan community at the south of Pandaranga might had been formed at the same time. After a new consortium was formed, we shall see the return of the Sailendra back to Champapura. The presence of Jayavarman VI at Prey Nokor signals that the reestablishment of the Sri Vijaya court was not constrained only to Sri Dharmaraja. The next prince who was residing at Champapura before he returned to take the Angkorian throne under the name of Jayavarman VII, might have been taking part of the mission. After Jayavarman VI left for Mahidhara, Divakara was again performing the duty of Lord Guru for the coronation of king Dharnindravarman.
In the reign of SM Cri Dharnindravarma, brother of Cri Jayavarmadeva, the venerable lord Guru Cri Divakarapandita accomplished the duties of Vrah Guru to celebrate the royal coronation and perform the oblations at all sacrifices.
The crowning of both Jayavarman VI and Dharnindravarman reveals the high achievement of Divakara's career in the Angkorian court. However, he was a real guru for neither one of the two kings as they were already grown up and thus already been trained. His real achievement as the traditional Lord Guru was for the next king, Suryavarman II whom he was entrusted to take care of the prince's education since he was young. As we shall see Divakara would train the young Suryavarman II to become a powerful Cakravatin monarch who left a long lasting legacy of the Angkorian Empire. It is also important to note that this high achievement was amid a political development of intense rivalry at Angkor. He had to manage through difficult situations of consolidating two antagonist dynasties with many centuries of old feuds to join in the workable alliance. His effort appeared to pay off but was with a heavy cost. His aggression had jeopardized the stability of the Angkorian internal politic preserved through many generation of the Param-guru in performing the cult of Devaraja. Their uncooperation apparently let to the crack down on Xiang-mai during the reign of Suryavarman II. Their Vishnuite devotion had undermined the long-standing Sivaite-Buddhist heritage of Angkor. Condemned by the Angkorean king, evidences show that Xiang-mai sought protection of the Song Dynasty. On the other hand, the Chola itself would not fit under the cakravatin Empire of Angkor even though it was ran by the same Cholan leadership. Looking for its own supremacy, we shall see that the Chola own uprising had led to the secession of Champapura from the Angkorian establishment. As we shall see, the break-off of the two key cardinal states would undermine the Cakravatin security of Angkor for the long run.
The two Dynasties *
The inscription found at a foundation of the temple of Ban That, described the historical facts about Jayavarman VI, his elder brother Dharninvarman I, and their young successor Suryavarman II (Le Cambodge: Le Monument and le stele de Ban That, p.165: Aymonier). Their genealogy, though showing family connection, portrays different affinities of political and cultural background. Jayavarman VI was the son of Hiranyavarman from Kshitindragrama, and of Hiranyalaksmi. An otherwise unknown locality, Kshitindragrama (Kshita + indra + grama) was meant to be the land of the Indra ksatra which was the legacy of the Sailendra Sri Ksetra which we had identified as Ayudhya Puran (Dvaravati: Notes: Sri Ksetra). From the fact that Jayavarman VI brought his family to Mahidharapura and that he was originated from Kshitindragrama, we believe that Kshitindragrama is part of Mahidharapura, the stronghold of the Sri Vijaya where Suryavarman I also originated. It is certain that Jayavarman VI did not reign at Angkor for long, for he was mentioned only in an unfinished inscription. According to the inscription of Ta Prohm, Jayavarman VI appears to spend the rest of his life ruling at Mahidhara of Sri Vijaya.
Having obtained the supreme royalty of the sacred city of Yacodharapura, the king Jayavarmadeva, winner of all enemies, planted in every direction until the seashore his pillars of glory, fixed the residency of his family at Mahidharapura.
The inscription of Mount Prah Vihea, erected by the Bhraman Divakara, mentions his name in the construction of Sivaite temples at Phnom Sandak, Prah Vihea, and Vat Phu along with the construction of the Buddhist temple at Phimai. These construction works at northern part of Angkor reflected the attempts to take control of the Siam country during the unrest induced by the Cholan presence in Laos. At his death he received the posthumous name Paramakaivalapada. The next king was a brother of his who was also crowned by Divakara and received the crown name of Dharanindravarman I. The inscription of Ban That explicitly describes his ascension to the Angkorian throne as by circumstance.
Without having desired royalty, when his younger brother the king had returned to heavens, through simple compassion and yielding to the prayers of the human multitude without a protector, he governed the land with prudence.
Apparently Dharanindravarman I did not succeed directly Jayavarman IV, but his younger brother who died soon after his coronation. A king named Naripatindravarman, mentioned in inscriptions to reign at Angkor until 1113 might have been him. The title Naripatindravarman indicates that he was then a ruler of Lavo, a function traditionally assigned to the army general of the Angkorian Empire. Dharanindravarman I continued the building and endowment program of the preceding reign and pursued traditionalism to the point of taking as his wife the Queen Vijayendralaksmi, widow of the heir apparent prince who died before reigning. He had reigned for five years. He received the posthumous name of Paramanishkalapada. As much as Jayavarman VI and Dharninvarman I were retaining the Sri Vijayan legacy of the late Suryavarman I, the next king Suryavarman II, on the other hand, emerged as the new leader of the Chola clan. As the Inscription of Ban That put it, he would bring the Vishnuite legacy of South India to be implanted first time at Angkor. Worst yet, he had done it through violence.
Releasing the ocean of his armies on the fields of combat, he (Suryavarman II) gave terrible battle; leaping on the head of the elephant of the enemy king, he slew him, just as Garuda swooping down from the top of a mountain kills a serpent.
Garuda is an epic creature of the Vishnuite mythology originated from the Annanuki symbol of the late Sumerian folklore. As portrayed, it was the ennemy of the serpent or a naga. Young and energetic, Suryavarman II wrested the Angkorian throne from the contemporary Angkorian king, in a battle that ended the latter's life. The serpent or naga of the passage was referring to the late king Dharanindravarman I who was a member of the Sri Vijayan clan. As we shall see, his agressiveness undermined the Meru' s legacy of Angkor that was formed through the Buddhist peaceful discipline of a cakravatin empire. By further splitting of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire' s basic alliance with the Sri Vijaya, Suryavaman II set himself as the sole ruler of the universe.
The ascension of King Dharnindravarman at Angkor marked a downturn of the Sri Vijayan influence in Angkor. Not only that he was reluctant to take on the responsibility as the Angkorian monarch, his reign was also plagued by the incidence that led to the usurpation of his throne. Under the leadership of Divakara, the Cholan Clan took the opportunity to rise up and to wrest the power from the weak king and handed it to the still very young Suryavarman II. By quieting down the rivalry of the Sri Vijaya powerhouse, he took sole control of Angkor. Crowned by his guru Divakara, Suryavarman II's audacity brought Angkor to the next status of a Cakravatin Empire. Angkor retained then the title of Maha Nokor, recognized by the Chinese council of rites as Ta-tche to be treated in honor by the Chinese court.
The Reign of Suryavaman II (1113-1145/1150) *
Suryavarman II was a grandnephew in the female line of Dharanindravarman I. His obscure background prevents us from further elaborating on his origin. However his Crown title appears to link him to Suryavarman I of whom the Khmer tradition associated to a specific lineage of Bottomsurya. This title of orthodox Vishnuite cult was unknown to the Angkorian tradition of Sivaite and moderate Vishnuite background, but was quite common to the Cham tradition. As we had argued, the Bottomsurya lineage was linked to the Solomon tradition of Middle Easter origin and could be due to the late western interference on the Indian Cholan Dynasty (The Chola Dynasty: The Divergence: The economic Factor). On the other hand, the background of his guru Divakara could be traced to the early ousted court of Jayavarman V (The Chola Dynasty: The Dynasty of Koh ker: The reign of Jayavarman V). Suryavarman II himself could have been born in Angkor from parents that were closely tied to the Jayavarman V's family circle. It was likely that they came back to Angkor when the Chola had made a deal with the Sri Vijaya. Having less legitimacy as compared to his uncle Dharanindravarman I in the Angkorian court that was now under strong Sri Vijayan influence, Suryavarman II 's right to the Angkorian throne was not secured. Even though the Cholan presence in Angkor was strong after the arrangement with the Sri Vijaya, there was indication that the Savaite legacy was still dominant in the Angkorian court. That would change over time as inscriptions started to mention that he received more and more esteem and support from family members. As much as we know more about the lineage of Suryavarman I, we know little about Suryavarman II's ancestry. Unlike Suryavaramn I, Suryavarman II was an insider of the Angkorian court and took hold of the Angkorian throne not by invasion but rather by usurpation. From the fact that he had not enough legitimacy to the Angkorian throne, he needed to work harder to earn his credential. The building of Angkor Wat was one among many of his achievements that had never been done before in the history of Angkor. We know then that he had a brilliant career after he took control of Angkor that was very much up to the expectation of his personal guru Divakarapandita. Evidences however show that even though he had bent himself to the Cakravatin rule of Angkor, there were still unrest during the early stage of his reign. As we shall see, the condemnation of the Param-Guru later signals the harsh resolution of Suryavarman II to curb down resistance from the Angkorian's Sivaite side of the court. At the same time, evidences also show that the control of Lavo was not trouble free. Lohac (as the Chinese called the court of Lavo) sent a mission to China on its own in 1115, two years after the ascension of Suryavarman II who was then very young. At a time that the young king had not yet fully established his authority over the outlying dependencies of his kingdom, Lavo under Jaya-Simhavarman took the leadership role. The finding suggests that in some circumstances, a cardinal state of a Cakravatin Empire might take the control if needed, especially when there are internal crises. Again in 1155, following the death of Suryavarman II, Lavo sent another embassy to the Chinese court. This time, evidences show that Lavo had detached itself from the control of Angkor and took the side with the Sri Vijaya of Sri Dharmaraja. An inscription of 1167 found in the region of Nagara Svarga (Nakhon Sawan) of a king named Dharmasoka who might had been another ruler of the Lavo throne. As Dharmasokaraja was a traditional title of Sri Dharmaraja (Sri Dharmaraja) Nagara Svarga was undoubtedly meant to be a city of Sri Dharmaraja. Perhaps due to restless state of Angkor, there were not many inscriptions that were directly dedicated to him. Due to the lack of information, we know little about the rest of his life and career in the Angkorian court. The end of his reign was obscure and the date of his death is still unknown. The last inscription in his name is dated in 1145, but there is every reason to believe that he was the instigator of the campaign of 1150 against Tongkin and, therefore his reign lasted at least until that date. An Annamite chronicle mentioned about a raid to Nghe-an in 1150 by Cambodian troops and suffered a lost due to hot and wet weather (BEFEO IV, Deux ittinaries de Chine en Inde: Paul Pelliot, p210). Contrary to the common belief that the building of Angkor Wat was done during his reign, we shall see that he died before the whole temple was actually completed, leaving some parts unfinished. We know from a depiction that his posthumous name was Paramavishnuloka.
Angkor wat' s Architecture *
Dispite all troubles of his reign, Suryavarman II left a much longer lasting legacy of him. The construction of Angkor wat became the iconic success story of the Khmer Empire. It was in this temple that he was deified in the form of Visnu incarnation and received the posthumous name of Paramavishnuloka. The new introduction of Visnuite legacy, as we shall see, marked the high point of the next Khmer architecture. Conforming to the Khmer legend of the building of Angkor Wat, an inscription found at the temple at Ban That, located near Kuruksetra where the scholar Sukarman resided, makes a reference to an architectural marvel. Under the Cholan influence, Suryavarman II ' s leaning toward Vishnuism was obvious. However, we had argued that true to its legacy from the Cholan legacy of the Sangum era, the Cholan clan of South India had very strong Sivaite legacy of the Nanda. For instance, the naga king that was the representation of the Soma Culture was still considered as proginator of the Vishnuite Cult. On the other hand, other aspects of the Meru legacy had been revised and included in the new Angkorian achitecture. On its face B, the inscription described an edifice of three towers, a representation of the three tops of mount Meru, the celestial mountain. This could be the reference to the temple of Ban That where the inscription was found, but it was also a prelude to an architectural design used in a larger scale for the building of the celestial temple of Angkor Wat as representing the mount Meru.
Three high edifices (Saudhhatrayam) represent the three tops of mount Meru, the celestial mountain where dwelled religious sages and celestial nymphes. Just as the Indra' s palace, with banner floating in the air, under the sound of music high into the sky, groups of women dance and sing with mellow voices accompanying string musical instruments.
The use of tower (prang in Khmer) is typical of Khmer architecture that could not be found anywhere else in India. Contrary to stone temples in Champapura of Po Nokor where Indian architecture was well noticeable, Angkor wat and its contemporary temples are undeniably free of Indian influence. It is reflecting that Suryavarman II was conforming to the Khmer custom of the Angkorian Empire. As a matter of fact, we shall see that many more khmer legacies were founded in Angkor Wat than in other temples of prior date. And for those who wonder what Angkor Wat was built for, the next passage of the inscription provides the best answer of all. One could imagine that it was used the same way as Buddhist temples are used in Cambodia today. Besides sheltering monks and religious members, it was the place where all sort of religious activities and ceremonies took place. At Ban That and perhaps the same at Angkor Wat, two such ceremonies were mentioned in the inscription.
During the Sraddha and the Dirghasatra, people listen to the recital of the pass history. There we can see, in anytime, the universe brought close on the magnificent tables displayed on the wall.
The Sraddha, known as the ceremony of ancestral observance, consist of bathing procession of the ancestral royal linga. On the other hand, the Dighasatra was referring to a sacrifice ceremony of some sort, for the god Soma. During these two ceremonies, people might entertain themselves and learn the pass history from the recital of scholars. The two ceremonies were undeniably not Vishnuite. It confirms the fact that under Suryavarman II, Angkor was retaining no less of its Sivaite legacy. On its architecture, Angkor's temples undoubtedly adopted new feature that reflected the greatness of the Angkor Empire of the time. The earlier mountain temples embedded the legacy of Nokor Phnom that consisted of using the pyramid bases to support a tower of lotus shape. Later temples, including the temple of Angkor Wat, were the aggrandizement of the previous architecture consisting of a central mountain temple surrounded by smaller towers at the cardinal points. With multiple enclosures and different level of terraces, the five towers represented the Cakravatin Empire consisting of its Middle Kingdom and its four cardinal states. One significant feature of the new architecture, more noticeable at Angkor Wat than any other temples, was the presence of the Naga sculptures. Under the Buddhist and Vishnuite influence, these Khmer nagas grew many heads out of the mouth of a Makara. Each head represented a Naga clan formed by the Meru Culture and classified by the Hindu culture: the Simha (lion), the Kala (Sura), the Guchasa (elephant) etc... Looking closely one might notice the Buddhist wheel of Dharma right at the beginning of spanning fan of the Naga heads. It was an integrated symbol of Naga races under the influence of mixed cosmology of the Hindu Trinity. The Simha or Lion sculptures were also noticeable, at the site of Angkor Wat, reflecting the importance of the Simha past legacy of the Khmer Empire.
Lavo as the Angkorian military Command Post
Another feature of Angkor Wat is the depiction on the hallway of each enclosure of bas-reliefs depicting various themes of either related Hindu cosmology or specific events of the Khmer Kingdoms. What standout from the rest of the depiction is a bas-relief that actually portrays the Angkorian court under Suryavarman II himself. Its presentation was of particular historical values that scholars attribute that division of the hallway as the historical gallery of the temple (JA Tome II, VIII serie: Aymonier, Les Inscriptions en vieux Khmer). The depiction is divided into many distinct partitions showing off the military parades to the public. Under the watchful eyes of Suryavarman and his entire court, different contingents displayed their military strength along with their commanders. The first or lower partition depicted the corteges of the queens and princesses with elaborate hair dresses of diadem with triple points. Five queens who were placed in the front, laid themselves on palanquins with magnificent dais. We know that one of them was the principal queen while the other fours were, according to the Cakravatin tradition, the daughters of the four cardinal states. At the background, princesses hit themselves in cabins covered by drape. They were observing the Khmer tradition known as "entering in shade" which required young girls at the age of puberty to be hidden in the shade out of public sight. At the higher partitions, lancers and archers stood guard the royal audience. Brahmans with long hair knotted in Chignon sit respectfully according to their ranks. Next came the depiction of the king himself. A small inscription tells us that he was Suryavarman II assembling his troops on the mount Civapada or mount Isvara.
Samtac Prah Pada Kamraten an Parama Viushnuloka na stac nau the vnam Civapada pi pancuh vala.
The fact that the inscription was referring to Suryavarman II by his posthomus name, we believe that the depiction was done after his death. As some parts were left unfinished, we also believe that the building of Angkor Wat was then not completed during his reign. Nevertheless, the depiction give us priceless information about his reign when . Wearing the makuta or the diadem, he sat in a royal pose surrounded by fourteen umbrellas. The inscription tells us that he is inspecting his troop. The depiction also shows the army of Suryavarman II in different contingents marching in a parade with each contingent has its own commander identified by a small inscription. A number of umbrellas surrounded each one of them indicating their ranking. Most soldiers were depicted with bare foot and bare torso. If they don't wear headdresses, the depiction shows them with crew-cut style hair cut. Their armaments were spears, knives and shields. On the other hand some contingents were depicted with specific discipline showing that the Khmer army is a coalition of forces composed of recruits from different cardinal and vassal states of the country. A small inscription of one of the contingents tells us that it was about the conduction of Lavo army under the command of Sri Jaya-Simhavarman.
Vrah kamraten An Sri Jaya Simhavarman Kamlun prey nam vala Lvo.
The army under Sri Jaya-Simhavarman was portrayed as having the same discipline and uniform, exactly as the Angkorian army of Suryavarman II. What is interesting is the portraying of Jaya-Simhavarman with seventeen umbrellas while other personalities of the Angkorian court had at most twelve and Suryavarman II himself had only fourteen. It is expected that Jaya-Simhavarman, as an obraja of the Angkorian Empire, had more status than other dignitaries of the Angkorian court. However, the depiction of more umbrellas suggests that his ranking was even above the younger Suryavarman II. It indicates that in a cakravatin establishment, the ruler of the Middle Kingdom was not always the supreme leader of the Empire. As we have seen, Dvaravati had been a cultural inspiration and the political support of the Soma line for the previous Angkorian kings and Lavo had been one of the strong cardinal states of the Angkorian Empire. This arrangement explains the influence of Lavo over the Angkorian court and also the shake off between the two when Suryavarman II decided to exert his full authority as a Cakravatin monarch.
The depiction on the wall of Angkor Wat reveals the solidarity of the Southern alliance that reflects no serious skirmishes with the southern powerhouses. By now, evidences show that Sri Dharmaraja, along with the hard core of the Sri Vijaya had been succumbed and absorbed in Suryavarman II's internal circle either by force or by persuasion. The last part of the bas-relief provides us with important information about the control of the Angkorian court over Dvaravati of the Menam Valley. Complementing the rare information from the Chinese texts, it shed light to the political aspects of the Angkorian dependency of northern Siam states during the reign of Suryavrman II.
The Siam Kut and the Siam Kuk
What could not be missed is the last depiction on the wall of Angkor was the section under the label of "Syam Kut", apparently depicting non-Khmer troupes under their own commander. The depiction shows contrast between a contingent of Siamese troupes with the Khmer army of Angkor. Another small inscription identifies their commander as "Anak rajyakaryya bhaga paman jen jhala ta nam Syam Kuk", a royal officer bearing the title of the "bhaga paman Jen jhala" named "Siam Kuk". It is important to note the difference between the two words "Siam kut" and "Siam Kuk" as the former was referred to the whole Siamese contingent and the latter as part of the title of the Siamese commander. We shall identify that the Siam Kuk (gog), as referred to the Siamese commander, was in general a reference to the Tai leadership of Western Kambojan stock (The Meru Culture: The impact of Cinicization: The Identity crisis). On the other hand, we had also identified that Siam Kut was a Khmer reference to a southern community of the Menam Valley (Nokor Khmer: The Syam country: The Syam Kuti and Lawaratha). Located around Ayudhya, Siam Kut was part of Sri Dhammaraja. The depiction portrays the soldiers in the Syam Kut' s contingent to be more primitive than the rest of the Angkorian troupes and clearly less organized. Looking closely, they fit the description of the Guchanaga warriors in various Chinese texts. Of their attire in consistency with the Naga traditional vogue, we could identify them as Ligor' s warriors of Sri Dharmaraja. When they came to the country for trading, Chinese merchants often had to interface with Sri Vijayan soldiers and noticed their particular appearance in their memoirs of the Southern Sea's empire. From their description, we are confident enough to identify the depicted Siamese troupes of Angkor Wat to be the Sri Vijayan warriors, in joining Lavo troops as part of the Angkorian army. Setting them apart from the Angkorian troops, peacock and other exotic bird' s feathers were used for decoration on both their spears and headdresses. On the other hand, their skirts appear to be the same as the traditional Mon or Malay "sarong" called "longyi" that was still in use until modern days. They were recruited from southern indigenous tribesmen whose lifestyle was preserved until modern days. Despite their primitive appearance, they were often mentioned in Chinese Texts as of incomparable bravery. Chinese merchands were then advised not to mess around with these Sri Vijayan Law enforcement officers. On the other token, evidences show that the Siamese or Lao people of the northern countries were already adopting the Khmer culture. Through Lavo, Xiang-mai received the Khmer Culture long before the creation of Haripangjaya. It could be checked out that their traditional dress consisting of a larger piece of cloth wore with the front end passed between the legs and tied to the back. Called in Khmer as "Kbin", the same apparel was good for both sex and was common to all citizen of Angkor (Nokor Khmer: The Siam country: The customs). Had they been recruited into the Khmer army they would blend in completely with the depicted Lavo contingents. In the depicted military parade, it is expected that they wore exactly the same uniform as the depicted Khmer and Lavo Soldiers were wearing. At the time, we shall see that Suryavarman II had already subdued Xiang-mai and was in the process of reorganizing the whole northern region. As Lavo was now under his tight control, evidences show still that the northern Siam countries were in disarray. It was due in part to the fact that Haripangjaya emerged as a serious contender against Angkor since the reign of Suryavarman I and sided itself with Ramandesa. As an inscription put it, Suryavarman II himself went into the countries of his enemies to eclipse the glory of the victorious Rashu who was the ancestor of Rama. It was referring to Ramanadesa that was then under the last Triphuvanaditya' s lineage of Kyansetha. There was no indication that Suryavarman II succeeded in consolidating back Haripangjaya and other northern Siam countries into the Khmer Cakravatin Empire during his reign. For concrete evidences showing these northern Siam troops joining in the Khmer coalition army, we would have to wait until later under the reign of Jayavarman VII when evidences show that Ramandesa along with other northern Shan countries were absorbed under Angkorian control. At the mean time, Suryavarman II still had more unrest to quiet down. As we shall see, the challenge came from Champapura that was all along a cardinal state of Angkor. The crisis stayed until the reign of Jayavarman VII, when many inscriptions witness the coalition force of Pukam, Shan and Khmer troops fighting against Angkor's enemy, Dai-viet.
The Conflict with Xiang-mai *
As the capital of Dvaravati, Lavo was always been the strategic center of the Angkorian Empire. In connection with Siam internal affairs, evidences show that Lavo had very much credential to exert its own control over the Siam Country. Chao-ju-Kua confirms in his Chu-fou-chi when it was compiled in 1178 Chao-ju-Kua, that Lavo was the capital of Chin-la (CJK: Kambuja (Chon-la): P.52). It explains why Lavo was often mentioned in northern Siam tradition as a cakravati, instead of Angkor. Under the Mahidhara leadership, the role of Lavo was still retained as the military command post of the new Angkorian Empire. The depiction on the wall of Angkorwat confirms Lavo's dependency to Angkor during the reign of Suryavarman II. It was undoubtedly Jaya-Simhavarman who wrested it from the control of Sri Vijaya. After the south had been subdued and stabilized, evidences show that the priority of Suryavaramn II and his Guru was shifted to the northern Siam Countries. The settlement of Divakara at Phnom Sandak and the resuscitation of Phnom Prah Vihea as a new political center, reflect the new policy of Angkor concerning its northern dependency. It was in conjunction with the effort of Divakara as the governor of Rajapati to regroup the Cholan legacy back, during the rest of his career in the Angkorian court. It also agrees with the Shan tradition of commemorating the two celestial brothers, making their ways to make an extensive conquest to the west (Notes: The Pong Chronicle). Working under the suzerainty of his brother, Sam Long Pha extended the Shan dominion to cover up the ancient legacy of Varadhana. This extensive campaign, in the effort to consolidate the Cholan territory under Angkor however, created more impact on the last legacy of the Sri Vijaya that was already settled over the northern Siam country (Notes: The Tai race). Retaliation from the orthodox members of the Sri Vijayan clan, especially of Xiang-mai was to be expected. With no information, we only could speculate what was going to happen next during the late reign of King Suryavarman II. While Jaya Simhavarman succeeded to stabilize most of the southern provinces, Xiang-mai started to rebel and induce treats to the new king and his Cholan court. To recall back, Xiang-mai was part of Aninditapura and was the seat of the Parama-kings who were important players in the early formation of Angkor. In close connection with the Sri Vijayan establishment of the Menam Valley, Lawasangharatha was the progenator of Angkor's most powerful cardinal state. The locality of Prey Sla (Betel Forest), in particular, was connected to both royal and the Lord Guru 's family members of the previous Angkorian court. Following the cult of Devaraja that became the crowning procedure of Angkor, it was a direct family member of Lord Guru Silvakaivalia who took care the coronation of the Angkorian monarch. During the attack of Angkor by King Suryavarman I, the family of Lord Guru was also targeted but had survived the assault. They were reinstated back and continued to perform their works until at least the reign of Udayadityavarman II. The inscription of Stock Kak Thom indicates that Jayendrapandita still hold high position in the court of the latter. However, the merging with the Chola and the appointment of Divakara as the royal guru of Suryavarman II, would hint the end of Jayendrapandita 's legacy in the court of Angkor. Our speculation is that they were following Jayavarman VI to Sri Dhammaraja and then came back to reinstate his eldest brother Dharnindravarman I to the throne of Angkor. This maneuver obviously clashed with the youthful Suryavarman II who, under the tutelage of his Guru Divakarapandita, was also contending for the Angkorian throne. To no avails, the strong leadership of Suryavarman II would not let the insubordination happened. An inscription of Prah Vihear reveals a measure that concerned specific re-enforcement of order, conducted by Suryavarman II and his Guru Divakarapandita on Xiang-mai.
Concerning the villages and family estates of the lord Parama-guru who had committed faults, such as the village of Prey Sla, family of lord ... deva, and the village of Kantin, which the kings had given to gods, the venerable lord Guru Sri Divakarapandita made appeal to the royal favor. His Majesty redeemed them all, and all the guilty ones... again as henceforward.
The lord Parama-guru of the passage was undoubtedly a member of the last Angkorian elite and a family's member of the late guru lord Jayendrapandita. Under the condemnation, the people of Xiang-mai, along with family's members of the Param-guru, were put under strict control of Angkor and received harsh treatment. It was a punishment known of the Khmer tradition against any members of its Cakravatin Empire, found guilty of insubordination. In normal circumstances, both the rulers and the people were treated as war-slave until the condemnation was lifted. In their own history, the Xiang-mai chronicle recorded no events during the reign of King Lao Chun and Lao Meng of Xiang-mai. Considering that Sryavarman II was carrying a strict measure on them, it is undestandable that Xiang-mai was not in a position to challenge the Angkorian punishment. The emergence of Lao Meng's son, king Mangrai who rose-up later along with Rama-kamheang and king Ngam-muang to form a pact against the Angkorian Empire during the Mongol's incursion, however suggests a retaliation against the condemnation by the late Angkorian court.
The Reestablishment of Muang Nan *
The Nan Chronicle is by far the only chronicle that dedicates the Nan Country as a country of its own right (Notes: The Nan Chronicle). The chronicle started from the formation of Muang Chandapura (Vieng-chan) and Muang Varanagara (later became Muang Pua) to satisfy the need of two princely brothers by the ruler of the Phukha Dynasty. The mentioning of the two brothers, hatched from two eggs in the story line reflects the obscure background of the next rulers of Nan and Vien-chan. Found by a hunter, the two eggs were handed over to Phraya Phukha.
While resting under the tree, he (the hunter) saw two large eggs the size of Coconuts. He picked them up and brought them to Phraya Phukha.
As usual, when dealing with unclear historical facts, the compiler of the chronicle used myth to hideout the obscurity. The formation of Vieng-Chan, as we had seen dated back since the Han when it was built around the same time that the Han took hold oy Yunnan (Sakadvipa: The Cham Countries: Yueh-tiao and the kingdom of the Chan). On the other hand, Varanagara appears to be a legacy of Varadhana (Hiong-wang in Chinese source) that dated back since the antiquity. Nevertheless, the Nan Chronicle makes a reference to Muang Phukha (Puga) or Muang Yang to be the progenator of both states. The chronicle also referred to Phraya Phukha as an authority figure of Muang Yang but left his real identity very much in the dark. The obscurity leads us to believe that Phraya Phukha' s origin was not local to the Shan country. Two neighboring powerhouses that might be his home country were Pagan and Angkor. However the Glass Palace Chronicle had made it clear that the ruler of Muang Maw was a threat to Ramandesa during Anuruddha (Ramandesa: The Angkorian Connection: The frontier cities). It is implying that Phrya Phukha could not be from the court of Pagan, but was from the court of Angkor. We shall identify him as no other than Rajapativarman, the governor of Muang Yang of the Khmer inscriptions of Prah Vihea. Chronologically, the event was in conjunction with the formation of Rajapati as an Angkorian control-post of northern Siam Countries. After stabilizing Xiang-mai, it is obvious that Suryavarman II was in the mission to take back the Shan country. The reestablishment of Muang Nan and Vieng-Chan, as we shall see, was a strategic move to secure the northern part of the Angkorian Empire. Of the court of Nan, descended Vidyanandana who spent most of his youth at Angkor and, as we shall see, would be instrumental in the reorganization of the Angkorian Empire during the reign of Jayavarman VII (Nokor Thom: The restoration of Angkor: Vidyanandana-Suryavarmadeva). Another Shan source that might provide us with additional information about Muang Yang or Muang Mao is the Pong chronicle. The chronicle was found at Manipura and was likely compiled by the displaced court from Srasvati. The fact that it is known as the Pong chronicle refers that the Shan states were part of Vanga or the Pong' s Kingdom. It supports our assumption that Vanga was initially the same as Nokor Phnom (known in Chinese as the Shan country). Under the occupation of the Han, we had argued that the original Cholan rulers were driven down to Prey Nokor while the rest was retracted to Manipura. The Pong chronicle places the new epicenter of the Shan Country, not at Manipura but at Muang Mao, identified as Moung Yang or Rajapati in Khmer inscriptions (Notes: The court of Vanga). It was the involvement of the Angkorian Empire in the resuscitation of the ancient Shan legacy of Nokor Phnom that scholars mistook as the Tai migrating west (Nokor Thom: The new development of the Shan Country: The dependency of the Shan Mao country ). Mimicking the Tai and Northern Lao tradition of Khun Borom and Khun Lo, the Pong Chronicle introduces two celestial brothers Khun Lung and Khun Lai to become the next kingship of the Shan country (SHAN: Appendix II: The story of Mung-Mau: P. IX). As we had identified Khun Borom and his brother Khun Lo as the Angkorian God King Paramesvara and Indra of the Sailendra royal house, we shall do the same for Khun Lung and Khun Lai. According to the Shan chronicle, their legacies were carried on through their descendants, Khun Kam Pha and Khun Sam Lung Pha. In the new reality, the Shan legacy was just renewing the Angkorian legacy of the Sri Vijayan and the Cholan ancestry of its ruling classes. That might have been before the dynastic crisis since through their recent works on Rajapati, we know that both Suryavarman I and II had implanted their own family members in northern Shan countries to strengthen Angkorian control up north. Another important event that links to the next return of the Cholan court was also hinted in the Shan chronicle. While the two celestial brothers were at first undecisive in their role of ruling the earth, the chronicle comments on the third prospector who through better preparation became ruler of Mithilda.
To many scholars, the disappearance of the Chola from India was still a mystery. The last time that we heard about its existence was when Chinese sources mention that it became vassal of the Sri Vijaya. While many scholars are still skeptical about this sudden fall, evidences show that the Chola did really move its court to join with the Angkorian Empire. Unfortunately, the return of the chola was problematic. Through contact with the west, the new Cholan court lost most of their zeal for Buddhism. They came back with the Sharia Law to establish Champapura as a duplication of South India. New monuments erected at the site of Po Nagar and Mi-son were unmistakably of South Indian architecture styles.
The Return of the Nanda *
The circumstance that forced the Chola in becoming subordinate of the Mahidhara court of Angkor was due to the invasion of the Muslim front-line that shook-up the Hindu world under the leadership of the Chola itself. Before his death in 1030, the Musulman invader Mahmud led the Muslim force against Jayapala of Shahis whom we had identified as no other than Jayavarman V (The Chola Dynasty: The Cholan Consortium: The Cholan Empire of Tanjore). The conquest had reached Delhi and further more infiltrated deeper into the Cholan territory. The Muslim's infiltration in India also lent support to the rising of two of the Chola's ancient rivals, the Pandya and the Hoysala of South India (Notes: The decline of the Chola). At the other front, the Buddhist consortium also rose up to fight off the Cholan supremacy. With the support from Anuruddha of Ramandesa, Ceylon drove the last of the Cholan yolk from Sri Langka. Facing with enemies of many fronts, the Chola's glory day was over. Since the reign of Rajadhiraja I, the Cholan presence in the Indian history started to fade and finally disappeared altogether after the next few remaining reigns. Before merging with Angkor, the Chola conducted the last raid against the Malay Peninsular to free its maritime venture from the control of Ramanadesa. According to Chinese sources, the Chola then handed the conquered territory back to its previous owner, the Sri Vijaya. As we shall see, the latter took no time to resuscitate back their old business and the same time, left Angkor into the hand of less competent family members. Leaving the Angkorian throne to his brother Dharanindravarman I, Jayavarman VI moved to Mahidhapura. In return, the Chola was allowed to move to Prey Nokor and gradually infiltrated itself into the Angkorian court through Champapura. On the other front, evidences also show that the Cholan campaign against Anurudha was not only concerning the lost of the Malay Peninsular but of Ramandesa itself. The Triphuvanaditya's legacy of the last Mon's King Makutavamsa was seen returning in the court of Tathon and Pagan, during the reign of Anuruddha's successor, Kyanzittha. It is important to note that during his reign, the Chinese council of rites recommended to give him the same honor as the ruler of Ta-the (a reference to Angkor). At Angkor, the Chola's return might start as early as the high priest Divakara performing the coronation of Dharanindravarman I while Jayavarman VI brought his court to Mahidhara where he reestablished the Sri Vijayan Empire. At the same time, an inscription found at the shore of the Mekong River near Wat Phu bring enigma to this region long time connected to the Cholan (Cham) legacy. Known as the inscription of Wat Luong Kau (Pagoda of the king Kau), it commemorates a king named Divanika with the title of Maharajadhiraja (Notes: The title of Maharajadhiraja). Unlike other Angkorian incriptions of the time, it uses Gupta characters of the ancient Kaundinya court. The immediate reaction among scholars is to date the inscription around the fifth century and to relate the king Divanika to a member of the Kaundinya family.
All those characteristics that belong to the Pallava scripture of the 5th century, were found in the most ancient inscription of Funan, that of Gunavarman, that appears to be dated at the 2nd half of that century. In all the finding, the inscription of Vat Luong Kau could not be posterior to the 2nd half of that century. (BEFEO II: La Steles de Vat Luong Kau, George Coedes)
To recall back, Gunavarman was a heir apparent of Kaundinya Jayavarman and the nagi princess Praphavati who left many inscriptions in Gupta style charactors during his reign at Prey Nokor. Connecting the King Divanika with the Kaundynia immediate lineage however created more problems to fit an ancient legacy of Vishnuite folklore into the Brahmanic Buddhist family tradition of Kaundinya.
The question is now to place in which lineage the king Divanika whose name is found in the puranic tradition among the ancestors of Rama.
The Rama' s connection places the king Divanika in Vishnuite clan of the Cholan Empire. Even though Gunavarman was Visnuite, we know that the rest of immediate family members of Kaundinya were Sivaite-Buddhist. His title Mahadhiraja indicates that he claimed himself as a cakravatin monarch which none of the immediate descendants of Kaundinya could claim as such. At the time of its early foundation, Nokor Khmer was still a small kingdom and the Kaundinya kings were not crowned as Cakravatin monarchs.
The Secession of Champapura *
The success of Suryavarman II' s aggressive expansion had unfortunately its dark effect. Done mainly through military conquest, the expansion created its own crisis. During the progression, internal skirmishes intensified. During the early phase of his reign, he had to face the unfinished business with the Sri Vijayan court. Nevertheless, the real challenge came from his own Cholan side of the family. While the depiction on the wall of Angkor shows cooperation of Sri Dhammaraja with his court, Champapura was on the other hand not in the same picture. As soon as it was delegated to the Cholan court, Champapura became increasingly restless while looking for its own independence. The concentration of the Cholan clan in Champapura, this time with Vishnuite orthodoxy, allowed the Cham legacy to revive itself and to seek its political secession from the Angkorian Empire. The situation worsened by the emergence of Dai-viet as a free agent during the down turn of China's central authority. AS we recalled back Dai-Viet was formed by the Han Dynasty as a southern commanding post of China. Following the fall of the Tang Dynasty, China was broken into different factions allowing local rulers to exercise direct authority on their own terms. According to Chao-Ju-Kua, Dai-Viet was kept still as a command Post of China until the last review by the Song Dynasty.
The various dynasties (of China) kept troops continually stationed (in Kiau-chi) although the revenue (derived from it) were extremely small, while the military occupation was at the contrary was extremely expensive. (CJK: Kiar-Chi: P.45)
The cost had proved to be too much for the Song dynasty to keep Tongkin as a military command post.
In view of these facts the government of our present dynasty, out of the affection for the army and for the veal of the poor humanity, deemed it advisable that our troops should no longer be kept in this pestilential climate for the purpose of guarding such an unprofitable territory, and in consequence the territory was held merely for the collection of tribute. (CJK: Kiar-Chi: P.45)
The change from a costly command post to a tribute-paying vassal of China explains the next activities of Dai-viet in regard to its southern neighbor, Champapura. Relieved from military duty, Dai-Viet needed revenue to pay tribute to China in addition of sustaining its own cost. Their military strenght was what becoming the main source of their survival mean of income. As Angkor was there to take back the control of Champapura, Dai-Viet joined Champapura in the political conflict with the Angkorian Empire. Being a Cakravatin monarch, Suryavarman II had to adhere to the interest of the Middle Kingdom and saw the interference of Dai-Viet as a serious treat to Angkor. In 1128, he led 20,000 men to invade Nghe-an but was driven out by Ly Cong Binh soon after. Suryavarman renewed his attack by sending out a fleet of more than 700 vessels to pillage the coasts of Tan-hoa. In the campaign, he dragged along the Champa King Harivarman to fight Dai-Viet. Again, the Dai-viet garrisons of Nhe-an and Thanh-hoa united under the command of Duong Anh-nhe drove them out. After the fight, Champa was apparently making a pact with Dai-viet and when Suryavarman II launched the next campaign in 1138, the Champa King refused to take any more part in the fight. At the contrary, Harivarman sent tribute to the Emperor Ly-Than-tong in the beginning of 1131 to settle their alliance. Realizing that the ruler of Champa had betrayed him, Suryavarman II decided to launch a campaign against him in 1145. The Angkorian army captured Champapura, seized Vijaya and apparently ended the control of Harivarman. When another Champa king named Jaya Harivarman I established himself in the south at Pandaranga in 1147, Suryavarman II sent another army, composing of both Cham and Khmer troops, led by Senapati Sankara against him in 1148, but was once again defeated on the plain of Rajapura. Another campaign with more troops did not fare better. As soon as Suryavarman II installed his brother in law, prince Harideva to be the ruler of Vijaya, Jaya Harivarman marched on Vijaya and threw its ruler off from power. The defeat ended once for all Suryavarman' s attempts to bring Champapura back into the Angkorian control. In cooperation with Dai-viet, Champapura succeeded to outmaneuver military campaigns carried by Suryavarman II to take back the control of the region. Angkor's last fight against Dai-viet also took a worst turn. Without support for ground troops and a relay station for fresh supplies from Champapura, the Angkorian troops arrived at Nhe-an so weak that they had to withdraw without fighting. After the obscure end of Suryavarman II' s reign, the Angkorian court was virtually broken down. As internal fighting intensified, the attempts to unify back the Cakravatin Empire faced with a serious setback. The next Angkorian monarchs spent most of their time curbing uprisings and succumbed in the process.
The Challenge to the Angkorian Throne*
In the attempt to identify king Divanika of the inscription of Wat Luong Kau, we had to trace back the history of Champapura after Jayavarman IV left Angkor to restore back the Sri Vijayan Court and left Champapura in the hand of the displaced Cholan Court. His Vishnuite connection indicates that Divanika was a great king of the Cholan Empire whose settlement at the Khorat plateau was during the time that the Chinese sources mentioned its becoming vassal of Ta Tche. Beside the arrival of king Divanika, the inscription also mentions about religious artifacts that had been brought from abroad (duradesa) to be installed at Wat Phu (Lingaparvata). Among them was the linga Bhadrasvara deifying the first Kaundinya king of Prey-nokor. As we recall back, the prince Kaundinya was exiled by his father from the Gupta court and came to Prey-nokor to build the Khmer Kingdom. A faction of his immediate family later formed the Chenla house that, along with time, merged with the Chola Empire. Another clue that denies the antiquity of the inscription to the Kaundinya's time is that it was dedicated to the memory of Kuruksetra, a northern Indian locality that has never been mentioned in Khmer inscriptions before but was mentioned in the recent inscriptions of Phnom Sandak and Prah Vihear. When Suryavarman I awarded a land to an abroad scholar named Sukarman, it was named Kuruksetra in memory of his Indian origin from the region (Notes: The original Kuruksettra). All these indication led us to believe that king Divanika was actually a member of the ancient Cholan clan of the Sangum era and perhap was a descendant of the Gupta Court, but not of Kaundinya. The late use of the Gupta script is not a surprise, considering that the Cholan court was so conservative to let go of any past Gupta legacies. The establishment of his court at Wat Phu reflects an arrangement between the Chola and Angkor. As had been done in the past, the diplomatic connection between two of the Southeast Asian powerhouses was carried on by a joint religious project. One side built a religious temple and the other provided all the supports to the temple. In 1005, the Sailendra king Chulamanivarman built a Buddhist temple at Nagipattana and the Cholan king Rajaraja offered the revenue of a large village to sustain the temple. In the reverse role, king Divanika built the Hindu temples at Wat Phu and at the location of wat Luong Kau, to facilitate the stay of religious figures from the Chola court. During the last development that forced the Chola to escape the Indian continent, Wat Phu might served as the refugee camp for the Chola at the last moment of its fall. Divakara who was perhaps one among the refugees, would start his career at the Angkorian court under the reign of Udayadityavarman II. Inscriptions of Prah Vihear reveal later that the God King Bhadrasvara, consecrated at the first time at Mi-son of Champapura, was now consecrated at Lingaparvata site of Wat Phu. In parallel to the Chola settlement at Champapura, evidence show that Prey-nokor was also delegated to a Chola ruler under the name of Tribhuvanaditya. Two inscriptions on silver plates, commemorating the god king Tribhuvansvara, were found in a cave of Prey-nokor (BEFEO IV: Notes d'epigraphy: Les Plateaux de Nui Cam, M. L. Finot). The first one mentioned about Sri Kalapavvaka, a daksina kamraten jakat, performing the ritual samvakapuna for the god king Tribhuvansvara at 1166. The second inscription mentioned about Tribhuvanadityavarman, a ruler (kamraten jakat) at Lingapavarta, performing the ceremony of kotihoma. As the god king Tribhuvansvara was a legacy of the Rashu line of kings, its mentioning in the silver plates indicates that it was brought back to Champapura during the settlement of Maharaja Divakara at Vat Phu. It is also suggesting that Tribhuvanadityavarman who was a ruler of Vat Phu (Lingaparvata), was himself a member of the Chola or Rashu line of kings. His title of Maharajadhiraja was clearly a show of insubordination to the Angkorian court that might reveal his true identity neither as a member of the Sri Vijayan nor of Champa court and that he received the title because he was actually reigning over the Angkorian throne (Notes: The Title of Maharajadhiraja). He was likely the same personage of the "Bharata Rashu Samvuddhi", mentioned in the inscription of Banteay Chmar to revolt against the next Angkorian monarch, Yasovarman II. As we shall see, The revolt gave him the control of the Angkorian throne until he was dragged down and killed by the new Champa king with the name of Jaya Indravarman IV (Nokor Thom: The Shake-up of the Angkorian Court: The Reign of the Cham King Jaya Indravarman I). As we shall see, the Champa King also reigned over the Angkorian throne and took the same title of Maharajadhiraja.
The Sharia Law *
A new settlement in the Khorat plateau by the Cholan powerhouse of India brought the Nanda' s legacy back in the birthplace of the Khmer Empire. At first, scholars found in the inscription of Wat Luang Kau the same format of ancient inscriptions erected by previous members of the Kaundinya family of Prey-Nokor. This time however, the sponsor of the inscription, king Divanika presented himself as an ancestor to Rama. It is an Indian legacy that could not be confused with the Sivaite and Buddhist legacies brought by the first kaundinya during the first establishment of the Khmer kingdom. In consistency with the fact that the new Nandas were the primary catalyst of the Vishnuite drive in South India, the Cholan members of Angkor were now dominantly Vishnuite (The Chola Dynasty: The Cholan Connection: The formation of the Cholan Empire at Tanjore). After Suryvarman II 's disappearance, evidences show that Angkor was plagued with even more internal conflict. Traces of vandalizing and the replacement of Buddha's image by Vishnuite devinities might have dated from the next reign. According to the inscription of Ta-Prohm, Dharanindravarman was the cousin of Suryavarman II and the son of Sri Mahidharaditya, the governor of Sri Vijaya. His mother was Rajapatindralaksmi, a princess from the royal house of Rajapaticvaragrama of Northern Siam. He married a daughter of Harshavarman III, the princess Chudamani by whom he had a son who reigned much later under the crown name of Jayavarman VII. His origin from Mahidhara through his father side, was perhaps to cause of discontentment that led to more unrest at Angkor where the presence of the Chola legacy had already been seated. However, he was also closer to the Cholan side through his mother ancestry. Judging from the unfolding next event, he would suffer the consequence of the unrest that already took hold of the Angkorian court. The Khmer tradition recounted a clash between the ruling king named Prah Bat Sanghacakra and his naga officials.
During his reign, when he came out to conduct his court he noticed that his ministers were not as respectful as they should. In furor, he killed a naga minister with his own sword. According to legend, the blood from the dead naga made him ill of leprosy and people called him the Leper King. (RPNK: The Leper King)
The story confirms the presence of the Sri Vijayan official members at Angkor late after the reign of Suryvarman II. As we recall back, the tradition of mixing naga and Khmer officials started since the consortium between the Khmer King Prah Thong and his father in law, the Kambunaga king. The union was from the beginning a successful campaign to launch first the Khmer and later the Angkorian Cakravatin Empire. Not only that mix blood between the Khmer and the Sri Vijayan royal houses were ruling Angkor, Naga officials were also presented in the court of Angkor, since its formation. The inclusion of the Cholan members however needs serious adjustment. As we had seen, Suryavarman II had done his best to curb down conflict between both extreme factions of the Sri Vijayan and the Cholan clans. However, his way of handling conflicts by military mean failed to accomplish its goal as fighting still continued during the next reign of Dharanindravarman II. The rebellious attitude of the naga officials moreover reveals the leaning of the latter king toward the Cholan side of the court. The incidence that resulted in the king becoming ill of Leprosy, was an iconic event in Khmer tradition of Angkor about the bad effect of internal crisis during the last stage of the Angkorian period. Oral tradition moreover identifies the Leper King as the father of Jayavarman VII who was no other than Dharanindravarman and stresses that he had spent the rest of his life as an hermit on mount Kulen, trying unsuccessfully to cure himself. The rest of his reign was obscure as inscriptions stopped mentioning about him. The incident obviously contributed to more unrest at the end of his reign that was carried on to the next reign. At Champapura where the Nanda took control after the agreement with the Sri Vijaya, the come back of Vishnuism was even more noticeable. New Cham inscriptionsthat were erected at the site of Champapura, started to commemorate a new line of kings who introduced themselves as Civananda but unmistakably with Vishnuite affinity. The crown title of Harivarman or Jaya Hariarman, for instance, confirms that they were not Sivaite. To make the matter worst, evidences also show proof of orthodox practices of Sharia Law by the new Cham court that mimic South Indian schools of Vishnuism. According to the inscription of Mi-son, when the Cham King Harivarmandeva died, a ceremony was performed in his honor (MI-SON: Inscription found in front of the big temple: Face C: Lines 25-27, P.939).
He died with his unshakable faith in 1103 saka. Then accompanying him in the death, his wives, princesses and concubines, altogether at the number of fourteen.
The inscription blames the next development to his court that took advantage of the new heir, still in his prime youth (9 years old) to induce Sivaite practice back to Champa' s mainstream politic. It indicates the politically unstable of Champa facing with the Angkorian effort to curb the Vishnuite interference over the Angkorian establishment.

  1. ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
  2. JSS:Sanskrit Inscriptions of Campa and Cambodia:Phnom Prah Vihear, by M. Abel Bergaigne
  3. BEFEO XLII:The Steles of Phnom Sandak (K.194) and of Prah Vihar (K. 383), by G. Coedes
  4. INDIA: Ancient India, by R.C. Majumdar
  5. SHAN:The Shan State and the British Annexation, by Sao Saimong Mangrai
  6. IC VI:Inscriptions Of Cambodia: Inscriptions of Prah Vihar, by G. Coedes
  1. Chronology
    1006-1050: The reign of Suryavarman I; 1044-1053: The reign of Rajadhiraja I (Chola); 1050: The reign of Udayadityavarman; 1080-1107: The reign of Jayavarman VI; 1103: Probable reign of Kyanzittha; 1107-1113: The reign of Dharanindravarman; 1070-1122: The reign of Rajendra III (Chola); 1113-1145/1150: The reign of Suryavarman II; 1166-1178: The reign of Rajadhiraja II (Chola);
  2. The Legacy of Angkor
    Since the formation of Angkor, the title of Rajadhiraja (the king of kings) was an Angkorian tradition referring to a Cakravatin Monarch. On the other hand, the titles Rajaraja or Rajendra was typical of Cholan tradition. The emergence of Rajadhiraj on the throne of Cola suggests that he was from Angkor. More study might reveal his true identity. He could be Suryavarman I himself who during the last part of his reign, ruled also the Cholan Empire. He also could be a successor of the last Angkorian king Jayavarman V who was ousted in 1002 from the Angkorian by Suryavarman I. Considering that the two antagonist houses merged later proved of their common origin. The remaining question is how and when the reconciliation was taking place.
  3. Rajendradevakulottanga
    Kulottanga I, the son of the Eastern Chalukya king, Rajaraja, had a great deal of Cholan ancestry in him. His father's mother was the daughter of Rajaraja the Great, his own mother was the daughter of the great Rajendra Chola Gangaikonda, and he had married the daughter of Rajendra, the victor of Koppan (INDIA: Chapter XIII, South India: The Cholas: Rajadhiraja).
  4. The Pong Chronicle
    Among Southeast Asian kingdoms, we had argued that the Shan country was one of the ancient countries of the Mainland Indochina since the Great Flood (The Man Race: The Himalayan Culture: The Shan people). Its modern history however was made obscure by the interference of the Mongbol 's incursion and the transplant of Tai identity in the Mainland Indochina. The Pong Chronicle was so far the only one chronicle that would connect back the Shan country to its origin that was at the footstep of mount Himalaya where they once shared the Flood Myth with Manipura (SHAN: Appendix II: Some Earlier Shans: P.27).
    The most famous so far, of such chronicles is not that of any of our own Shan States, but of the Kingdom of Pong.
    We shall identify that the Kingdom of Pong was no other than Vanga centered at Manipura where the Pong Chronicle was discovered from.
    The Pong Chronicle was discovered by Captain R.D. Pemberton of the Indian Army who was sent to Manipur on intelligence work in the early 1830's.
  5. The Tai race vs the Cham
    Dated around the Christian era, the incursion of western Kambojan leadership into Southeast Asia brought the Tai culture to spread over the Lawa tribesmen of northern Siam countries. The Angkorian Empire was formed by consolidating the Tai legacy of the Sri Vijaya and the Cham legacy of the Chola under the Khmer Culture. Until the Dynastic crisis, Angkor became the middle kingdom controlling the Tai world of Soma Culture in the west and the Cham (Chola) world of Vishnuite Culture in the east. As we had argued, this arrangement that constituted the backbone of the Sumerian cosmogony allowed the Khmer Empire to thrive during the krita (or satya) timeframe but suffered during the Kala period.
  6. The Court of Vanga
    Inheriting the legacy of Kiao-tche, Vanga had its political center settlement according to political dynamic of Surrounding. Under the Angkorian control, Rajapati or Muang Yang was conveniently chosen because of its proximity to Angkor. During the Mongol incursion, we shall see that Vanga moved its court back to Manipura of Bengal. (Sokhodaya: The Mongol's affair: The fall of Pagan).
  7. The Nan Chronicle
    Compiled in 1894 by Senluang Ratchasomphan, an official at the court of Nan in 1894, the chronicle includes in part I, the history of the Yonok-Chiangsaen Dynasty from which the Nan rulers claimed descent.
  8. The next Development of Moung Mau
    The Chronicle appears to support the Nan Chronicle ablout the next development of Moung mau.
    But however this may have been during Anuratha's lifetime, certainly the succeeding kings of Mau were entirely independent, and they appear to have reigned in peace and unbroken succession until the death Pam-Yau-Pung in AD 1210, when a third influx of Khun Lung's posterity occurred in the person of Chau-Ai-Mo-Kam-Neng of the race of Kun-su of the race of Maing-Kaing Maing-Nyaung.(SHAN: Appendix II: The story of Mung-Mau: P. IX)
    We shall refer Chau-Ai-Mo-Kam-Neng to no other that Jayavarman VII ().
  9. The Decline of the Chola
    The decline of the Chola might have been started after the death of Rajadhiraja (1044-1053) in the battle with the Chalukya. It continued on during the reign of Rajendra III (1246-1279) who ruled as the feudally of the Pandya. The last legacy of the Chola Empire was ended, after the invasion of Malik Naib Kafu in 1310.
  10. The title of Maharajadhiraja
    Etymologically the title Maharajadhiraja (Maharaja-rajadhiraja) is the concatination of Maharaja and Rajadhiraja. Traditionally, Rajadhiraja is the crown title of the Choladhara king while Maharaja is on the other hand the title of Mahodhara king. In short, the title refers to the suzerainty of both Choladhara and Mahadhara.
  11. The original Kuruksettra
    Etymologically, KurKsettra (Kuru-Ksettra) menas the country of the Kuru kings. Originally it was Yunnan that was formed as part of Varadhana. During the spread of the Sun culture, Kuruksettra had been seen implanting itself around the world. The last of Kuruksettra implantation was at Gangetic India when the Chola took refuge during the dynastic crisis.
  12. Jayavarman V as leader of the Cholan Consortium
    Our conjecture about Jayavarman V is that after taking refuge at Haripangjaya, he joined the Chola consortium and became known as Rajaraja. His immediate family on the hand stayed in the court of Haripangjaya and Lampang to be merged later with the family members of the Cucumber king Nyang Sarahan (The Break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Legacy of Ramandesa: The Lineage of the Sweet Cucumber King)
  13. The Title of Maharajadhiraja
    The incriptions of Mi-son witness the transition of power occuring at Champapura along with two other strategic regions of Prey-Nokor, Virapura and Sri Vijaya (MI-SON: Inscription found in front of the big temple: Face D: P.939-940). From these inscriptions, scholars were able to compile a new list of kings during the transition at the Angkorian court from Mahidhara to the Chola legacy. Among the rulers of Champapura, let alone of Wat Phu (Champasaka), none claimed themselves as the king of king, unless he established himself on the Angkor throne as a cakravatin monarch.