Project: Xiang-mai
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: November/01/2006
Last updated: January/01/2010
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 Chinese word "Seng-kao" or "Seng-chi" is a corruption of the word "Seng Tche" meaning the city of the monks that is the exact translation of the Pali word "Lawasangharatha" and later the Tai word "Xiang Chi Mai". Seng-kao was often mentioned with connection to the indigenous tribes that scholars mistook as Africans. In reality, they were the Lawa tribes that made up the majority of population of the Menam Valley. According to Siam tradition, Xiang-mai received its name when Buddha Gautama and disciples came to Suvannphumi for religious mission (CMC: The Buddha and the Lawa). After a feast organized by the Lawa tribes to welcome Buddha Gautama, four Lawa men were ordained into monk-hood. The place was then called Xiang Chi Mai, the city of the new monks in Tai Language which was corrupted to become Xiang Mai of today. Because of its antiquity, Xiang-mai retained a deep tradition shared among Indochinese nations of today. The naga legacy of the Khmer-mon people was perhaps the most ancient of all. Echoed in the northern Siam tradition of the Great Deluge, the Naga culture of the Paramkamboja might have been derived from the same legacy of the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC). Northern Siam Traditions recalled about king Borom's spreading civilization among the northern tribes of the Siam country. The story starts with the great flood unloosed by the Chief of gods (THAI: The Tai Village and Muang).
Early in the earth's history mankind was uncivilized, rude, and brutal, and not yet settled to agriculture. Man's ingratitude to the Heavenly Spirit so angered the chief of the gods that he unloosed an enormous flood upon the earth from which only three chiefs escaped, Khun Khan, Khun Khek, and Khun Pu Lang Song. They made submission to the chief of gods and remained with him in the heaven until the flood subsided.
The story might have been originated from Mahayana or Hindu folklore about the flood myth and the re-population of the earth that followed. As we had seen, it was originated since the Great Flood of the Manu era and Nan-tchao (Srasvati in the old day) was the seat of the Man culture spreading among the survivors of the great flood. According to the same story, three chiefs survived the wrath of God: the Mongolian Khun Khan, the Kambojean Khun Khek, and the Yeuh-shih Khun Pu lang Song.
The Sakan legacy
As many other parts of Central and Southern China, the northern Siam retained strong legacies of the three chiefs, survivors the wrath of God. The Mongolian Khan's emergence in the world history happened first during the early Meru era and we need to wait until late in the thirteenth century for his next emergence. This time, he came as a descendant of Genzis Khan who went out his way to lead the worldwide Mongolian incursion. At the mean time, the other two chiefs, as we had seen, had already established themselves in Southeast Asia under the identities of the Kam (Kambojan) and the Cham kings (Po Vamsa).
At that time, they returned to earth with a buffalo, which help them lay out rice field around Dien Bien Phu and then died. From the nostrils of the dead buffalo there grew an enormous plan bearing gourds or pumpkins from which there soon came loud noises. When the gourds were pieced, mankind came pouring out to populate the earth. Those who came out of the gourds through the holes made with a red-hot poker are the dark-skinned aboriginal people, and those who came through the holes made with a chisel were the lighter-skinned Lao.
Consistent with the archeology finding at Dong son, Dien Bien Phu was then the settlement of the Tians and the dark-skinned aboriginal Hoabinhian peoples who came first out of the gourds. The Laotian who came next were also mentioned to be from the same gourd but because they stayed longer on the high mountain range after the flood, they became lighter-skinned (Notes: The Laotian identity). As we have argued, they were actually the Jins of the Nagalands where their Man culture had involved into the Tian or Meru Culture. Their migrations down to the plain brought the Tian culture to spread among the indigenous tribe and contributed to the emergence of the early Kamara or Khmer-Mon culture. The next story of Khun Borom as part of the early civilization spread among the Lao tribes, at the northern part of Indochina is next.
The population soon grew so numerous that it required assistance in governing. So the chief of the gods sent to earth his own son Khun Borom, who arrived on earth accompanied by courtiers and teachers, tools, and the useful and fine arts.
The story introduces Khun Borom as a son of the Chief of Gods, sent to civilize the Tai world with a complete court of courtiers and administrators. It reflects the northern Siam's attempt to connect Khun Borom to the early civilization of the Tai world. It was a claim that generated identity confusion since we had argued that the Flood Myth was spead through out the world, as part of the Meru development.
The Siam tradition about the emergence of the next Khun Borom and his son (brother according to some other sources), Khun Lo, was not to be confused with the primordial Khun Borom and the Flood Myth. Another version of the tale from Siang Khwang dates this event in 698 that coincided with the downfall of Chenla Empire, during the late reign of Isanavarman and the restoration of the Kambojan Empire back by the Khmer kings. It coincided with the fighting of the fugitive Funan kings against the Chenla clan to recover back their lost country. It was at the time that the Chinese sources mention about the raid of the Man rebels deep into the Chenla's territory (Chenla: The decline of the Chenla Empire: The attack of the Mans). We also know that during the fight, Tai-Yuan fought alongside the Funan kings. We shall identify that the next leadership of Khun Borm at Yunnan was in fact a resuscitation of the falling Khmer court of King Rudravarman. After regrouping themselves at Yunnan, they staged back to take control of Funan from the Chenla Clan. We shall argue that Khum Borom was in fact a Tai reference to the Sri Vijayan god king Paramesvara and Khun Lo as the God King Tribhuvanaditya of the Chola Dynasty. After the victory, the two ancient legacies of the Meru culture formed a consortium that leaded to the foundation of the Angkorian Empire.
King Borom of Nan-chao
Among the three chiefs mentioned in the Lao Tradition, the Khek or the Kambojas had been cooperating with the Kamara kings, after the advent of king Ashoka, as promoter of Buddhism. Evidences show that they were descendants of the king Sinhanati of the Mauryan Empire who created a lineage of Tai kings during the Han Dynasty to be active in the Yunnan country as well as many other parts of Southeast Asia. We had seen that the late Khmer King Rudravarman who usurped the throne of Prey-nokor had a deep Tai connection through his mother side (Nokor Khmer: The three dynasties: Rudravarman). Despite the protest of Kaundinya Jayavarman, king of the Kambojan Empire, Rudravarman received investiture from the Sui court of China in 530 (Nokor Khmer: The Khmer Empire: Rudravarman). During the Chenla's take-over of Prey-nokor, the Sui court had conducted a raid against Champapura in 605 and it was recorded in Chinese texts that among trophies collected during the raid, were numerous Buddhist texts written in Kun-lun scripture. We have reason to believe that this salvation of numerous Buddhist texts along with many Khmer monks from the falling court of Champapura, would contribute to the next development of Mahayana Buddhism in China. After the fall of Chenla, the rising of Mahayana Buddhism in both the Pala court of Bengal and the Sailendra court of Sri Vijaya might have been the outcome of this Chinese development and was in close connection with the falling court of Khun Borom at Nan-chao. Concerning the beginning of political changes that lead to the advent of king Borom, the Lao tradition recalled the ruling of King Sihanara and the making of Nong-Sae, in Nan-tchao.
King Sihanara succeeded in reuniting the six Lao principalities into one unique kingdom and administration, thus making the kingdom of Nong-Sae one of the most prosperous kingdoms of the time.
On the other side, the Nan-tchao tradition mentioned about a king Si-nou-lo who, the same as Sihanara of the Lao Tradition, was a ruler of Yunnan. Connecting the two sources together, it is obvious that Si-nou-lo and King Sihanara were the same person as Sri Nara. As we had identified Sri Nara with the same Narapatindravarman of the Khmer inscription of Pre Rup and a descendant of King rudravarman (Chenla: The Yunnan's connection: Narapatindravarman), connecting Khun Borom to the late King Rudravarman is immediate. When king Sihanara died, his son named Lo-Seng ruled after him and after three more successions, the Lao history then mentions King Borom to take the throne of Nong-Sae in the year 729 AD. In addition, the Lao tradition attributes to Khun Borom the title of Rajadhiraja, the title of a Khmer Cakravatin monarch.
Khun Lo, the son of Khun Borom
During the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), the situation had changed for the new Nan-chao rulers. Under the pressure of the Han people, the Tang Dynasty would soon conduct a hostile policy against the foreign kings of Yunnan. Even though King Borom still managed at first to make peace with the new court of China, the Lao tradition already mentioned a preparation for an escape back to the south.
Khun Borom Rajathiraj, the ruler of Nong-Sae kingdom mindful of the power of China and its perpetual desire to invade the kingdom of Nong-Sae was clever enough to never relax his vigilance over the ties of friendship he had with China. His distrust of China prompted him in the year 1249 BE (731 AD) to build a new city in a locality known as Thong-Na-Oi-Nu.
Thong-Na-Oi-Nu was identified as Dien-Bien-Phu or Xiang-theng in Lao tradition, a locality that had deep past legacy with the ancient Hiong-wang Kingdom. At the same time, we know from Chinese sources that a non-Chinese monarch named Ko-Lo-Pong decided to invade eastern Chinese territory of the Hunnan region. On the other hand, ancient Annamese records also talked about an obscure figure named Mai Thuc Loan, nicknamed as the Black Emperor whom circumstantial evidences relating to his exploit connect him to Khun Lo of the Lao Tradition (Notes: The Black Emperor). Rebelling against the Tang Dynasty, the Black Emperor went out his way to conduct a similar campaign against Tonkin. Evidences show that many of Khun Borom's descendants, including his son Khun Lo (some sources says that he is a youger brother), were soon ousted off Chinese territory. Triggered by Chinese sentiment, the Tang Dynasty was forced to take a drastic measure, that resulted in the death of the Black Empeor (Notes: The fall of the Black Emperor). Many survivors took refuge to the Western Shan Countries, some even ventured far into Tibet and back into the Gangetic India. The Shan' s legend of Khun Sam-Lung-Pha and Su-Kham-Pha, mimicking that of Khun Borom and Khun Lo, was obviously a recollection of the falling court of the Black Emperor settling amoung the Shan communities of Muan Mau. We shall see that one of its many factions (or his legacy) would generate a dynasty of its own along with the Sri Vijaya king. Continuing the legacy of Khun Lo, the Lao tradition claims that the founder of the Lao Kingdom of Lan-xang at muang Prah Bang and his descendants, would resume their heritage, until the advent of Khun Fa Gnum in fourteenth Century (Nokor Champa and the Lao Kingdom of Lang-xang: The establishment of Lan-xang: The origin of Fa Ngum). There is not much evidence however to support the claim, as the attack of Tonkin must to wipe out completely the legacy of Khun Lo, allowing the Kaeo Kings to take back control of the region.
The legend of Khun Borom
The legend of Khun Borom was the least undestood among scholars, in writing modern history of the Tai world. As much as the early emergence of Khun Borom was worldwide and was part of the early civilzation of the man culture, his new emergence happening in the late seven century was particularly connected to Nan-tchao's history. In fact we had identify him not as a person but a God King representing the lineage derived from the Paramkamboja Kings (Notes: Khun Borom and Khun Lo). As part of the development of the late Xia Dynasty, he had manifested himself as the lineage of the Pyu Kings, descendants of Piao-tsui-ti. His last manifestation happened during the fall of the Funan Empire and represented the Nan-tchao Kings, descendants of King Rudravarman who escaped from the Chenla uprising . After an elapse time of 25 years, the next event was about his seven sons taking hold at the most Southern Indochina ancient cities.
After a prosperous reign of twenty-five years, Khun Borom appointed his seven sons to rule over the Tai world: The eldest to Luang Prabang, and the others to Siang Khwang, Lavo-Ayudhya, Xiang Mai, the Sipsong Pan Na, Hamsavati, and Champapura.
Since the locations indicated in the legend spread out pretty much on the mainland Indochina, scholars were quick to interpret the story as the outbreak of the Tai migration. As clearly indicated, it was the sons of khun Borom who were spreading themselves back over the Funan territory and had no connection whatsoever with the migration of the Tai people. As to Yunnan people, they stayed put and after the tradition of Khun Borom had left them, evidences show that they were back to their local Ho or Kaeo leadership. Only until the fourteenth century that the Lao king Fa Gnum resuscitated back the legacy of Khun Borom during his campaign to establish the Lao country of Lan-xang (Nokor Champa and the Lao Kingdom of Lang-xang: The establishment of Lan-xang: The origin of Fa Ngum). This rescucitation was in part due to the need in validating his right to the throne of Lan-xang by connecting him to the eldest son of Khum Borom, Khun Lo. With other sources, we shall identify the rest of Khun Borom's son who circumstances allowed them to retrieve back the control of the mainland Indochina and to restore back the Khmer Empire. As they were to become the next generation of Southeast Asian Kings, the split between the lineage of Khun Borom and his son Khun Lo constituded the dynamic of Southeast Asian history.
Collaborating of the Northern Siam Tradition on the work of Anurudha in establishing the city of Lawasangharatha, we know that Water Chenla was extending its control over the northern Siam country. Like Dvaravati, Xiang-mai had been part of the Khmer Kingdom until the uprising of the Chenla Clan. To free it from the control of the Land Chenla and Champapura coalition, was obviously high in Anuruddha's next conquest list. As we shall see, the move was immediate and well received by the local court of Xiang-mai. Since then, it became the seat of the next development of the mainland Indochina known as Aninditpura. Along with Prey-nokor, Xiang-mai was one of the major players in the next formation of the Angkorian Empire.
The absorption of Xiang-mai by Water Chenla
In the "Meridionaux", Matounlin says that Seng-kao or Seng-chi was the capital of Chih-tu and in 638, it sent tribute along with three others countries to the China court. The history of the Sui (569-618) had paragraphs relating to the mission of Tchan Sun and Wang Kiun Tching to Chih Tu. The paragraphs describe in detail the trip of the two diplomats about the geographical and political settings of the country.
At the tenth month of the year 607, the two diplomats embarked with their entourage at the port of Nan-hai. Propelled by a favorable wind they arrived, after twenty days, at Tsiao-chi-chan. From there, directing toward Southeast, they arrived at Ling-kia-po-pa-ta, an island with a temple on top of a mountain and that the western coast looks over Lin-yi.
From the description we know that Lingaparvata (Ling-kia-po-pa-ta), the sacrifice place of the Chenla court, was located on an island overlooking to the west at Prey Nokor. Sailing for two or three more days, they arrived at the southeastern tip of the mainland Indochina where located an island called Ki-long.
Continuing southward they arrived at Sse-tse chi. Navigating in two or three more days they could see at the horizon the mountains of the kingdom of Lang-ya-siou. Having seen the mountains, the mission contoured at the south of the island of Ki-long and arrived finally at the shore of Tchih-tu.
From the description, the island of Ki-Long could be no other than the Kun-lun island or Ba-Phnom which I-tsing, during his visit shortly after, made it clear that is was no longer an island (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kamboja: The work of the naga king). The mountain range of Langkasuka (Lang-ya-siou) could be seen right after passing the contour south of the island toward the west. It is the Kedah Mountains of the Malay Peninsular and the shore of Chih-tu was described to be not far from the contour and was exactly right at the delta of the Menam Valley. Arriving at their destination, the two diplomats were welcomed warmly by the king of the country. During a ceremony, the chief of Brahmans announced to Tchang Sun a declaration.
We are not subjects to a small kingdom of Chih-tu anymore, now we are subjects of a big Empire. This gourmet that we are offering for proof of our sympathy, should be consumed in honor of the grand Empire.
This declaration, as we shall see, marked the beginning of a new era of the mainland Indochina's history, the development of its first Cakravatin Empire. It was in accordance with the statement of Matounlin in the "Meridionaux" that in 650-656: Seng-kao along with Chih-tu was absorbed into the Chenla Empire (Le Cambodge III: Le Siam Ancient: PP. 671-672, E. Aymonier). Its inhabitants have the same culture as of the court of the Huan, a Chinese word for Cakravatin Empire, established at Prey-nokor (Lin-yi).
The recovery of Funan
The control of Xiang-mai by Water Chenla allowed the refugee court of Rudravarman at Yunnan to moved back establishing the Funan Empire and fought the Chenla clan under King Isanavarman. In an effort to gain some supports from the Tangs, the new Funan rulers sent diplomatic embassies to the Chinese court.
In the periods of Won-to (618-626) and (627-649), says the history of the Tang, the Funan resent their embassy to China court bringing as tribute two men of white heads.
We have no idea what the two men of white head were, but we know that the diplomacy probably did not work as the Tangs were already making pact with the Chenla Clan. The mentioning of Funan from Chinese source, during the late stage of the Chenla's conquest confirms not only that the descendants of Rudravarman did survive the attack but also asserted itself into the Tang court. After driven away, evidences show that they brought the latest Mahayana development of Buddhism back to Vanga. In cooperation with the grass-root Nanda of India, they reestablished the Buddhist communities under the tutelage of the Bala court. By then, the water Chenla had already drove the Land Chenla out of the mainland to take refuge at Java (Dvaravati: The last of the Chenla Kings: The Land Chenla and its last standing at Stung-treng). What we shall see next is a strong development involving the unification of all political factions of Southeast Asia that set the mainland of Indochina into becoming the next Cakravatin Empire. According to the northern Siam Tradition, the legendary Khun Borom and Khun Lo moved down from Yunnan to establish many localities that proved to be on the habitable dried land of Indochina. The reestablishment of Lawasangharatha, in particular, was one of the major developments leading back to the recovery of Funan. Evidences show however that they were in fact the two divine brothers who were the God Kings of the Khmer Cakavatin Empire. The Khmer Tradition completes the story by having the Devavamsa and the Ketomala Kings establishing the Angkorian Empire under the God Kings of Paramaesvara and Tribhuvanaditya.
Having been under Water Chenla, Xiang-mai was crucial in the fight aginst the Land Chenla. Supported by the Tang Dynasty, the latter was not to give-up its control easily. The escape of Colo-feng from Yunnan, by the attack of Land Chenla and the Tang Dynasty appeared to provide Water Chenla more support. Finally the coalition forces managed to drive the Land Chenla out to Java. It was now time to rebuilt back the Khmer Empire and Xiang-mai was surely the first to be rebuilt, along side Lawo and Ayudhya. True to its past legacy, Lawasangharatha was formed as a Buddhist state and remained so until modern days.
The work of Anuruddha
The Chinese records about the mission of Tchan Sun and Wang Kiun Tching to Chih Tu provided another important historical fact about Xiang-mai's past. The trip of the two Chinese ambassadors from a Buddhist court of China, was a prelude to the restoration of Buddhism back in Southeast Asia. Retaining its tradition of as a Buddhist center of Lawa tribesmen, Xiang-mai suffered the persecution of the Chenla clan but was the first of the list where the restoration of Buddhism was taking place by the descendants of Bhavavarman, Anuruddha. According to the northern Siam tradition, Anuruddha then requested from Lord Indra a leadership for Xiang-mai where the teaching of Buddha was in the provenance importance. Indra then sent a Lawacakkradevaputta to start a lineage and his name was Lawasangkara. As his surname implies he would establish the state of monk-hood over the Lawa tribes and his kingdom was to become Lawasangharatha. Connecting with the Lao tradition of Khun Borom, Lawasangkara must to be one of his sons named Kamphong (Notes: The etymology of Kamphong).
At the time, King Anuruddha Dhammaraja summoned all the kings and rulers of the Jambu Continent to come together to his court. All the rulers and kings of the principalities assembled except those of Xiang-mai, as they had no king. (CMC: The Lineage of king Lawasangharatha)
Connecting to the event that Xiang-mai was under Water Chenla at the time, we have the reason to believe that king Anuruddha of the Xiang-mai chronicle was Bhavavarman I himself, or one of his immediate descendants(notably Bhavavarman II). Referred in the Burmese Tradition as Pyinbya, who after conquering all Jambudvipa was looking to establish order in the Siam country (Ramandesa: The foundation of pagan: The foundation of Pagan by Pyinbya). Since then Xiang-mai, known later as Lam-neang (Lanna), retained the legacy of Anuruddha becoming a lineage of the Burmese royalty. It is interesting to note that Anuruddha became an iconic figure who, in close connection with then Buddhist state of Ceylon, became the champion of Hinayana Budhhism's promoter. Another of his descendants, with the same name of Anuruddha, would become the ruler of Pagan, many centuries later (Ramanadesa: The three Dynasties: Anuruddha). In a campaign against Paganism he forbidded the Ari monks to practice their faith, in favor for Hinayana Buddhism in Upper Burma.
Lawasangharatha's court
In the "Meridionaux", Matounlin says that in 638, Seng-kao sent its first tribute to the China court. As the capital of Chih-tu, Seng-kao or Xiang-mai was then ruled by Lawasangharatha. The paragraphs in the history of Sui, relating to the mission of Tchan Sun and Wang Kiun Tching, provide further information about the court of Chih-tu.
The family name of the king of Chih-tu is Chu Tan (Chudam), and his personal name is Li-fo-shi. To what period the history of the ancestors of this prince dates back we do not know. We are told only that his father, having abandoned the throne to become a monk, transmitted to him the royal position, a position he has held for sixteen years. This king Li-fu-to-hsi has three wives, all of whom are daughters of the gates of which are about a hundred paces apart. On each of these gates, wreathed with small gold bells, are painted Bodhisattvas and immortals soaring in the air.
Scholars agree that the Chinese word "Li-fo-shi" or "Li-fu-to-hsi" is the transcription of Sri Vijaya implicating that Lawasangharatha was a Sri Vijayan king and that Xiang-mai had close connection with the Sri Vijaya court of Sri Dhammaraja. His family name Chudam (Chu Tam in the Chinese Text) is consistent with the Chudammani' legacy of Sri Vijayan. According to the Chinese source, he left the throne to his son Sri Vijaya and entered into monk-hood. On the other hand, we shall see that Lord Indra of the Siam tradition whom Anuroddha requested the leadership of Lawasangharatha was the god king of both the Pala and the Sailendra courts. It is important to note that due to the consortium between the Sri Vijaya and the Sailendra courts, the Angkorian Empire was about to form and became the powerhouse of the mainland Indochina. The lack of Skirmish between Angkor and the Sri Vijaya reveals the inclusion of Xiang-mai in the formation of the Cakravartin Empire. The history of Sui on the other hand provides more elaborate description about the state affair of the new court.
The buildings of the palace have only one story. All the doors are on the same level and face north. The throne, raised on a three step high platform, also faces north. The king appears there, dressed in a robe the color of a rising sun. His cap is adorned with golden flowers and pendants of precious stones. Four young girls stand at his side. His guards were numbered more than a hundred. Behind the throne is a sort of large niche made of five kinds of aromatic wood encrusted with gold and silver, at the back of which is suspended a disk with rays of gold in the form of flames. On each side of the royal platform are placed two large metallic mirrors; in front of each of these mirrors is a vase of gold, and in front of each vase is an incense burner, also of gold. At the foot of the platform is a recumbent golden ox, sheltered by a canopy, and, in addition, some very valuable fan.
From the description it appears that the palace was big and highly decorated. The court hall was big enough to seat hundreds of Brahmans and many more of court officials.
Hundreds of Brahmans, seated in two rows facing each other on the right and left of the platform, attend the royal audience. The high dignitaries, charged with collectively handling the affairs of the kingdom, consist of a first minister with the title sa-to-chia-lo, two officers with the title to-na-ta, and three other assistants with the title chia-li-mi-chia. The repression of crime is specifically entrusted to a great magistrate with the title chiu-lo-mo-ti. Finally, each town is placed under the authority of two principal mandarins called na-ya-chia and po-ti. With its elaborate court, Lawasangharatha was a powerful country. It correlates to the fact that Xiang-mai became part of Lawaratha or Lavo, one of a cardinal states of Angkor, known in Angkorian inscriptions as Aninditpura. A long lineage of the Lao kings, mostly from father to son, had been drawn and all the succession seamed to be peaceful. The reigning kings were often referred as "Rajaputs", other than that the Chinag-mai chrinicle has nothing to say about any major event during the transition of these Lao kings.
Aninditapura as the birthplace of the next Angkorian power elite
Many Khmer inscriptions indicate that Aninditapura emerged as the last of Southeast Asia society that had important role to play in the formation of the Angkorian Empire (Notes: Aninditapura). As many other pre-Angkorian cities, Aninditapura had its name overlaid through out history by the dynamic of cultural and political changes. The mentioning of Aninditapura alone does not provide any clue since it is no longer subsisted. Its existence as witnessed in inscriptions was prominent but for a short time during the early formation of Angkor. The Inscription of Stok Kak Thom makes a reference to a family of the Brahman Sivakaivalia coming from Aninditapura and specified that it was "tem srok Satagrama krong Bhavapura". The reference indicates that Bhavapura was a city (krong) of Aninditapura and as we had identified Bhavapura as Lavo, we could deduct that Aninditapura was no other than Dvaravati, extending itself over Xian-mai. The Brahman Sivakaivalia, as we shall see, became the first Angkorian priest to perform the cult of Deveraja. The Inscription of Kauk Prin Crum (K92), mentioning about the origin of an illustrated family, also from Aninditapura to serve in the Angkorian court. The inscription also connects Aninditapura to "sresthavarna santanagatatih vraislapura", a reference to the ancient city of Shrestha of naga family at the betel forest country. The illustrated family was perhaps the family members of the Brahman Sivakaivalia and the betel forest country was always known as the home-land of the Parama-gurus (The Contruction of Angkor Wat:The Dependency of the Siam Country:The crack-down on Xiang-mai). Another inscription also gives the following reference "bhagavata sruk santoma praman anin(ditapura)", suggesting that Aninditapura was a vicinity (praman) of "bhagavata sruk santoma". Bhagavata or the abode of Bhaga might be a reference to Ayudhya where another Khmer inscription mentions to be the abode of Guchanaga with its ruler named Bhagadatta. All these indications pointed-out that Aninditapura was no other than the Angkorian reference to Dvaravati of the Siam country, then known as Sri Ksettra that included both Xiang-mai and Ayudhya. Continuing the tradition of Prey Sla (Betel Nut)' s legacy, Aninditapura was not only the home land of the illustrated family members of future Angkorian court but also was the birthplace of the next generation of the Parama kings. Lined from the Aditya family of Prah Thong and the Nagi Princess, they included the first Devaraja kings and later the famous Angkorian temple builders, known in Khmer Tradition as Prah Ketomala.
We do not know what dates attributing to a series of princes, ancestors of the early Angkorian kings, on whom the genealogies confer the title of king. They were apparently the rulers of various principalities into which central and lower Cambodia were divided. A senior queen, Jyeshtharya, grand daughter of Nripendradevi and great grand daughter of King Indraloka (Indravarman as referred by his posthumous name), made an endowment (at Sambor) in 803, a year after the ascension of Jayavarman II. During his early years, says the inscription of Sdoc Kak Thom (Le Cambodge: Le Temple de Sdok Kak Thom, Aymonier, p.248), the Khmer court was still in disarray and under the harassment from Java. Jayavarman II performed the Deveraja cult to sustain the Khmer unity and elevated the new Empire to the level of a Cakravatin. His leadership was credited as the progenitor of the Angkorian Empire that was going to bring up the Khmer culture to a new high. However, evidence shows that it was not an isolated event and was closely connected to the formation of the Cakravatin Empire at Prey Nokor. His contribution was to unite the principalities of the central and lower part of Cambodia to make up the Middle Kingdom of the Cakravatin establishment. The strategic move, as we shall see, was at first designed to protect the central court from the harassment of Java but as time went by, it became the set point of the emergence of a world power. Angkor became a Middle Kingdom of its own right after Magadha, the Middle Kingdom of the Gangetic India went into decline. Looking broadly it was a part of the overall Kamara evolution, as circumstances had made a big play once again to enable the phoenix of the Kamara legacy to rise up from the ashes.
The startup of the Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire
After the last Cham kings were driven out from the mainland, both Prey Nokor and Champapura were ruled by the Khmer dynasty. In 758, Chinese texts stop mentioning about Lin-yi (Prey Nokor) and substitute it with Huan-wang. The Chinese word "Huan-wang", meaning the Ring Kingdom or more forcefully the Ring Empire, is the reference to a Cakravatin Empire. It was happening at Prey Nokor where the reigning dynasty started to inaugurates the use of posthumous names indicating the divine status of the king after his death (ISSA: Southern Champa or Huan Wang, George Coedes). The first king of the dynasty was Prithivindravarman whose posthumous name of Rudraloka reveals connection to the late King Rudravarman. This is the first time that we see a posthumous name used to commemorate a king after his death, a tradition that was quite common for Khmer future kings. In consistency with the cult of Devaraja (The Angkorian Empire: The Cult of Devaraja), the use of posthumous names was part of a Cakravatin tradition. Huang-wang was perhaps centered at the site of the ancient city of Pandaranga or Virapura that was the Khmer legacy since the era of Nokor Phnom. A short time later, Virapura was subjugated by the first Javanese raid, in 774, says the Sanskrit inscription of Po Nagar (ISC: P. 286: Barth and Bergain). The inscription describes the strange attackers as foreigners, coming by ships but were chased out by the King Satyavarman.
Men living on food more horrible than cadavers, frightful, completely black and gaunt, dreadful and evil as death came in ships.
The description matches perfectly the natives of Southern islands in general, but they might be specifically from Dhruvapura of Java where the ousted Chenla Court was taking refuge (Dvaravati: The rise of the Javanese Empire: The foundation of Dhruvapura). The attack might start since 767when Vietnamese source mentions that Tonkin was also attacked by bands from Java (She-po) and Kun-lun. Coincidentally enough, a passage of an Arab account mentions about a conflict between a young Khmer king and the ruler of Java that ends with the death of the Khmer King (JA: L'Empire Sumatranais de SriVijaya, Gabriel Ferrand).
A young king of Komara (Khmer), with no specific name mentioning, went on insulting the king of Zabag (java). Ignoring the advice of his high court, he went on expressing out-loud the wish to have the Zabag king's head presented to him on a plate. Driven by a need to revenge and to build up his own prestige the Java king was eager to retaliate. After a careful preparation, he leaded himself the campaign to the Khmer court. The young Khmer King was captured and had his head decapitated. His head was brought to Java on a plate, the exact opposite way of what he had wished for.
As we had seen, the Zabag king was no other than the Sanjaya king of Java, a descendant of last Chenla Kings. As the fight between the Chenla and the Khmer kings resulted in the displacement of the former to Java, he was in no mood to receive such foolish insult. Judging from the fact that the first Javanese raid was conducted against Virapura and Dai-viet in 767, the Khmer king in the Arab story might have been a son of Prithivindravarman. The next king to ascend the Khmer throne was Satyavarman, a son of Prithivindravarman's sister. He was undoubtedly succeeding the slain son of Prithivindravarman. After repelling the Javanese attack in 774, Satyavarman built a new sanctuary of brick in 784. He received the posthumous name of Isvaraloka.
Right after the disappearance of the Sailendra Empire from the Malay Archipelago, we see the formation of Indrapura at Don-doung. Satyavarman's younger brother who succeeded him is said to have been warlike and had the coronation name of Indravarman I. He was also subjected to a Javanese raid in 787 that destroyed a sanctuary of Bhadradhipatisvara, located west of Virapura. The Arab account about the Javanese raid mentions that it was not the intention of the king of Zabag to take back the Khmer kingdom, however the campaign had reduced drastically the Khmer control over Prey-nokor. Many more raids conducted by Sanjaya along the eastern coast of Indochina were by all means the carry-on of this Javanese policy. Up north, a short block of inscription found at Mi-son (BEFEO II: Notes d' epigraphy de Champa: Bloc inscrit de Mi-son, M.L. Finot) indicates that at 791, a king named Harivarmandeva was reestablishing the God King Isanabhadrresvara at the ancient site of Champapura. It was among the rare inscriptions in Cham language; the event coincided with the reemergence of the Sanjaya court in Central Java. Judging from his coronation name, Harivarman was perhaps a member of the Javanese court and was obviously trying to reestablish back the control over Champapura. The move prompted Indravarman I to take action to prevent Harivarman from establishing himself at Mi-son. After sending an embassy to China in 793, Indravarman moved to Dong-Duong in 799. Due to the lack of sources, we could not speculate on how it was proceeded, clearly it was a hostile move that marked the end of the Cham' s rule from Champapura for good. Many inscriptions (BEFEO II: Notes d'epigraphy de Champa: Steles de Dong-Duong, M.L. Finot) confirmed that Indrapura, located on the site of Dong-duong, was the new capital of Prey-nokor. We shall see that Jayavarman II of the Angkorian Empire was brought up in this city before he went on to found Harihalaya at the Angkorian site (Cakravati). Haravarman I succeeded his brother-in-law Indravarman I around 802. In 803 he launched a successful expedition in the Chinese province; in 809 he renewed his campaign there with less success.
The reestablishment of Cambhupura
After Jayavarman II left Indrapura (Dong Doung) to form the Angkorian Empire, Champapura became a cardinal state of the Cakravatin Empire. The next king of Champapura under the crown name of Prithivindravarman was no other than a maternal uncle of Jayavarman III. His son, ascending the Angkorian throne in 877, after the reign of Jayavarman III received the crown name of Indravarman II. Prithivindravarman was a Buddhist and erected the great temple of Dong-Duong known in the inscription as Laksmindralokesvara, the first known temple of Mahayana Buddhism in Champa. From an inscription found at the temple (BEFEO IV:Notes d'Epigraphy: Premire Stele de Dong Duong, M.L. Finot), his son Jaya Indravarman declared himself as a maharaja adhiraja, the title of a cakravatin monarch. The inscription also provides a clue about his humble legitimacy to the throne of Champapura that was mostly by his own merit and not by inheritance. This could be a confirmation that Indravarman would not be legitimate to ascend the throne of Champapura, let alone the Angkorian throne, if Jayavarman III did produce a heir of his own. With the merit of his ascetic and intelligence, the inscription continues, Indravarman won the throne of Champa in 875 AD. The inscription also mentions about the linga of Cambhu, undoubtedly Cambhubhadresvara that was the god king of Cambhupura. Previously residing in Malaya, the linga was transported to Champapura. Indravarman was then belonged to the Malay court of Kedah where the linga was residing before it was moved. It explains why his descendants later ascending the Angkorian throne received the surname of Ketomala, meaning the Mala king of Kedah. He sent an embassy to China in 877. At his death he received the posthumous name of Paramabudhaloka. The next ruler was Jaya Simhavarman I, for whom we have only two dates, 898 and 903, given by the inscriptions that deal with the erection of statues of apotheosis made during the reign.
Indra was one of the prominent Hindu gods from the early phase of the Vedic era and had played important roles in both Hindu and Buddhist folklore. His intervention during the formation of Lavo court was to send Lawacakkradevaputta to start a lineage of the Lao dynasty. His intervention did not stop there and we shall see the formation of new dynasties that were going to change the course of Southeast Asian history: the Sailendra and the Ketumala kings of the future Angkorian Empire. Besides having strong connection with the Lord Indra, the two dynasties were known as great builders of stone temples and were patron of Mahayana Buddhism. This connection would lead us to believe that they were from the same line of kings originated from Bengal where Mahayana Budhhism was in full bloom and taught at the University of Nalanda. In Indian history it is said that Balaputra, a Sailendra sovereign of Sri Vijaya had a monastery built for his father, the contemporary monarch of the Pala Dynasty. The king Devapala, in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, offered many villages as donation to the monastery (ISSA: Foundation of the Kingdom of Angkor; the Sailendra in Sumatra: The Sailendras in Java and Sumatra from 813 to 863).
Sri Sundarapakrama of Ayudhya
After an elapse of time, the inscription of Ayudhya mentions a new line of king originated from Madvapura that apparently had no relationship whatsoever with the Southeast Asian's past.
Then was Sri Sundarapakrama who brought prosperity to the Kula family of Chandra, with the battle name (Yudharanama) as Sri Sundaryvarman Kantanya Udaya and the hero name (Varanama) as "athik saktaya" (The great saktaya), son of Sri Madvapura.
Obviously Sri Sundarapakrama was not local to the Menam Valley and was mentioned as a Sakya. He was the son of Sri Madvapura whom we shall identify as no other than Madhavagupta. According to Indian History (Ancient India: Later Guptas, R. C. Majumdar), Madhavagupta reigned at Magadha during the last part of the seventh century and we have the reason to believe that he had also a close connection with the Pala king of Bengal, Devapala. According to the inscription, Sundarapakrama was sent to Southeast Asia to start the new lineage at Dvaravati and the emergence of the Sailendra court might had been the outcome. The inscription mentions about Sundaraprakrama coming to bring prosperity to the Chandra Family which, as we remember it, was the same as the Kaundinya family exiled from the Chadragupta II's court. It is consistent with the Khmer tradition of the birth of the Ketomala line of kings of Angkor, through the intervention of lord Indra (The making of a Cakravatin Empire: The ketomala Dynasty). The elapse of time is consistent with the fall of the Khmer Empire under the attack of the Chenla clan. Subdued by the Chenla attacks they were very much beaten and Sundaraprakrama had been requested to bring up the Kaundinya family back to prosperity and at the same time restore the Khmer Empire. We have the reason to believe that Sundaraprakrama was no other than Balaputra, the first Sailendra sovereign of Sri Vijaya. A Chinese text mentioned that Dvaravati and its cultural center Takkola was ruled by king Vibala who was a good match for Baladitya. Po-lo-ti-po that is mentioned by the Chinese as the capital of the king name 'Po-lo' was obviously referring to Baladityapura. His title Balaputra, the son of Bala, reveals that he was perhaps the son of Baladitya mentioned in the Inscription found on the foundation of the temple of Pre-rup (Inscription du Cambodge: La Stele de foundation of Pre Rup, George Coedes). Baladitya is quoted by the same inscription to be a direct descendant of Kaundinya and the nagi Soma who were considered later by the Angkorian kings, as their common ancestors. One of his successors, a certain Naripaditya who left a Sanskrit inscription in western Cochin China might have been the same person. The inscription is undated but it may go back to the beginning of the eighth century.
The Sailendra
Scholars agreed that the word Sailendra (Saila-indra) was the reminiscence of the word "Lord of the mountain", a past legacy of the Nokor Phnom or the Shan country. In the inscription of Han Chey we came across the word "Parvataphubala" of Mahidhara that we had identified as a Khmer king of the Menam Valley, chased out by the Chenla King Bhavavarman (Chenla: The Chenla Dyanasty:Bhavavarman I). Collaborating to the Lao traditions of khun Lo, the Sailendra came back to take control of Kambuja Desa, after the fall of Chenla. Requested by Auruddha, they returned back to join with the Sri Vijaya court and this time they were under the protection of Lord Indra. According to the inscription of Kalasan, the next monarch of Central Java, Panangkaran, who ruled in 778 had claimed connection with the Sailendra Dynasty (History of Indonesia: Kalasan Inscription of the Saka year 700, B.R. Chatterji).
In the prosperous reign of the king (Panamkarana), the best of the Sailendra Dynasty, the temple of Tara was constructed by the pious guru of the Sailendra kings.
Since it was just a few years ago that Sanjaya from Central Java had sailed to harass the Khmer establishment at Prey Nokor in 774, the erection of the Kalasan inscription in 778 leaded scholars to postulate that Panangkara was a second descendant in the Sanjaya Lineage (ISSA,George Coedes). This assumption, based on the fact that Kalasan was at Central Java and in the presence of Panangkara a few years later, identifying himself as belonging to the Sailendra dynasty, leads to the wrong conclusion that the Sailendra was the Buddhist version of Sanjaya. However, it is clear that we see such connection never mentioned in the inscription. The attack of the Sanjaya court against the new settlement of the Khmer Kings at Prey-nokor might have been the cause of the Sailendra's move to Central Java. From vestiges left behind we know that, in contrast to the Sanjaya kings who were devout Hindu, the Sailendra kings were patron of Mahayana Buddhism (Notes: Buddhist faction of the Javanese Empire). From the same inscription, we know that Panangkaran founded a sanctuary dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Tara in honor of his guru and dedicated the village Calasa to the temple.
When seven centuries in the era of the Saka king had elapsed, the Maharaja Panamkarana built the temple of Tara in honor of his guru.
Another Sailendra king with the crown name of Sangramadhananjaya, a guru from Gaudi (Western Bengal) named Kumaraghosha consecrated in Kelurak, not far from Kalasan, an image of Bodhisattva Manjusri. In any case, we are confidence enough that the Sailendra was not a zion of the Sanjaya Court and that the twos were bitter enemies at the time.
The decline of the Sailendra
The advent of the Buddhist Sailendra was seen to provoke the exodus to the east of Java of conservative elements faithful to the Hindu cults. It indicates that the establishment of the Sailendra court in central Java was not in friendly term with the early court of Sanjaya. At the contrary, it was an incursion that drove the Sanjaya kings out of Central Java. As the fighting continued, it was the Sailendra 's turn to move out from Central Java, obviously due to the stage back of the Sanjaya or Javanese Empire. Evidences show that, under attack, the Sailendra would take refuge with the Sri Vijaya court of Sri Dhammaraja. In the inscription of Ligor (Recueil des incriptions du Siam: Stele de Vian Srah, George Coedes), there are commemoration, in each face, of two kings apparently with different dynasties. On its face A, there is reference to a Srivijaya king Dhamasetu. He dedicated in 775 a shrine to Buddha and two Buddhisatvas. On its other face B, there is a reference to a king who bears the title of Maharaja, but the date and the name of the king was missing. Scholars speculated that the latter king could be the Sailendra king Dharanindra of the time. It is interesting to note the Seilendra king Dharanindra would be a good match with Khun Lo, also known as "Lo Dharani" (Dharanindra) of the Lao tradition. The next king in connection with lord Indra was Prithivindravarman who settled at Champapura and later established the Khmer Cakravatin Empire at Prey-nokor in 758. Scholars are leaning to believe (ISSA, George Coedes) that the inscription indicates a parental connection between the Sri Vijayan king Dhamasetu of the front face with the Sailendra king of the other face. Other inscriptions also show double identities of the Sailendra Maharajas; often enough they were mentioned as Sri Vijayan kings. It was the last evidence of the Sailendra Empire residing with Sri Vijaya. The establishment of the Khmer Kings at prey-nokor, claiming themselves as protege of Lord Indra attests the move of the Sailendra court back to the ancient site of the Khmer Empire. As we shall see, attacks from the Sanjaya court of Java, on the new settlements, continued. The establishment of Angkor, by Jayavarman II, after more harassment from Java, was seen next around the year 800.

  1. ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
  2. CMC: The Xiang Mai Chronicle, by David K. Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo
  3. THAI: Thailand A short history, David K. Wyatt
  4. LAO: History of Lao, by Maha Sila Viravong
  5. VIETN:The Birth of VIETN, by Keith Weller Taylor
  6. TCHAO: Histoire particuliere du Nan-Tchao, by Yang Chen, Translated by Camille Sainson
  7. SHAN:The Shan State and the British Annexation, by Sao Saimong Mangrai
  1. Chronology:
    2070-1600 BC: Xia Dynasty; Buddha Gautama ordained four Lawa monks; 543 BC: Buddha passed into Maha Parinibbana; 605: Raid over Champapura by the Sui Dynasty; 607: Tchan Sun and Wang Kiun Tching, two diplomats of the Sui's court visited Chih-tu, Lawasangharatha (Seng-tche) declared to be part of Water Chenla; 618: Fall of the Sui Dynasty to the Tang; 618-907: Tang Dynasty; 638: Lawasankharatha (Seng-tche) sent if first embassy to the Tang court; 698: Emergence of Khun Borom in Nan-tchao; 729: Khun Borom ruled over Naong-sae; 731: Khun Borom established Thong-Na-Oi-Nu (Dien-bien-phu); 758: Establishement of a Cakravatin Empire (Huang-wang ) at Virapura of Prey-nokor (Lin-yi); 767: Javanese raid on Khmer establishment; 774: Virapura was subjugated by Javanese raid; 778: Panangkara of Sailendra Dynasty ruled over Central Java; 793: Indravarman established Dong-doung; 802: Jayavarman II established Hariharalaya at Angkor.
  2. The Laotian identity
    The Laotian identity here is referring to the actual people of northern Siam who were primary Lawa tribesmen. Their tradition concerning the great flood reveals that they have been in the region since ancient time. It is not to be confused with the Miao-Yao or other Central Asian stocks who migrated into the region in later time and their contribution to the Tai and Lao nationality of the medieval time.
  3. The Black Emperor
    The Vietnamese account of the Black Emperor was also another reference to the Tai and Lao reference to Khun Borom and Khun Lo. Beside his Vietnamese name Mai Thuc Loan, the Black Emperor was no other than Khun Lo in the Lao Tradition. Of dark complexion, Mai Thuc Loan was obvious of a Khmer-mon stock and was no other than a descendant of a Khmer King, presumably Rudravarman.
    In 722, Thuc Loan rallied people of thirty-two provinces, as well as contigents from Lin-I, Chen-la in the lower Mekong, an unknown kingdom named Chin-lin,and other unnamed kingdoms; calling himself the Black Emperor, presumably because of his dark complexion, he led a multitude numbering four hundreds thousand and seized all An-nam.
    (VIETN:The Protectorate of An-nam: Mai Thuc Loan:P.192)
    The unknown kingdom named Chin-lin, was Prajinpuri of the Khorat plateau. The title of Emperor is a Chinese equivalence to the Khmer title of the king of kings or Rajathiraja. Nearby mountains and valleys contain the tombs of Mai Thuc Loan's parents, as well as a citadel that he built. Inscribed in a temple located in the midst of this area are the lines:
    The Tang Empire waxed and waned. The mountains and rivers of Hoan and Dien stand firm through the ages.
    It indicates that Mai Thuc Loan was rebelling against the Tang reminding us of the Man rebels mentioned in the Tang records to fight against the Chenla kings. The mentioning of the mountains and rivers of Hoan and Dien might be a reference to the ancient Cakravatin Empire of Ta Tsin under the Tian culture.
  4. The fall of the Black Emperor
    Unlike the flurry end of the Tai and Lao tradition of Khun Borom and Khun Lo in Yunnan, the Vietnamese account of the Black Emperor provides better information of his end.
    The sudden appearance of Ssu-hsu took the Black Emperor by surprise, and he had no time to plan a response before it was too late. The corpse of the Black Emperor and his followers were piled up to form a huge mound.
    According to this account, The black Emperor's exploit into Tonkin ended with tragic death. There is no such mentioning in the Lao tradition, as a matter of fact, Khun Lo went on to take control of Champapura. The Annamese records also acknowledge that Yang Ssu-hsu went on crushing down all rebellion.
    (VIETN:The Protectorate of An-Nam:Mai Thuc Loan:P.193) In 728, he quelled a rebellion in modern Kuei-chou. He spent the entire year 726 putting down a rebellion in modern Kuei-chou. He spent the entire year 726 putting down a rebellion by a Lao leader in modern Kuang-his; over thirty thousand rebels were captured and beheaded. In 728, three Lao leaders in modern Kuang-tung seized more than forty walled towns. One of these men proclaimed himself the king of Nan Yueh. Ssu-hsu beheaded some sixty thousands rebels before the uprising was crushed.
  5. Khun Borom and Khun Lo
    As portrayed in Southeast Asian legends, the royal personages were often not of real persons, but the essence of a lineage of kings or a dynasty whose combined acts created the specific event of the legend. As of Khun Borom and his son Khun Lo of the northern Siam tradition, we shall see that they were the representation of Paramesvara and Trubhuvanaditya God Kings that were the two out of the three main divinities in the making of the Angkorian Empire. The Shan's tradition of Kun Lung and Kun Lai of divine origin echoes the same tradition.
  6. Aninditapura
    For long, scholars had identified Aninditapura as the capital of Water Chenla but failed to identify its exact location, because they tried to locate it inside of Cambodia today. The word "Aninditapura" is undoubtedly the short form of "An-Indra-Aditya-Pura". Its meaning depends upon the word "An" was intended either for the Sainskrit "Anu" meaning second or the Sumerian "An" meaning heaven. Aninditapura could then be either the second, or the heavenly country of the Aditya kings. It was the country of the famous line of kings, Anuratha or Anuruddha, well known in later Burmese history.
  7. The etymology of Kamphong
    The etymology of the word "Kamphong" is "Kam-phong" or "Kam-pang", meaning Kam Vamsa or King of Kamboja stock. It is the same as the Shan's identity of Chao-Kwam-Pha, offspring of the original lineage of Khun Lung-pha, the Shan equivalency of Khun Borom.
  8. Buddhist faction of the Javanese Empire
    Only after Angkor was formed as a Cakravatin Empire, that the Javanese court, being absorbed into the consortium, became Buddhist (The Chola Dynasty: The Javanese Connection: Sindok of Eastern Java).

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