April 1st, 2017
The Golden Age of Cambodia History
Civilizations always approach to the world with a thrilling view and curiosity of phenomenon culture, including attractive arts, aesthetic architectures, strange religion and systematic social structure that are stained on the page under the title of “History.” Most of all, one of the conspicuous civilization in Southeast Asia is the Great Angkor Empire, known as the Golden Age. This is one of the civilizations that is shown the most brightness of its culture with a vast believing in many religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism and the extension of its territory throughout Southeast Asia. This civilization is the most memorable era in Cambodians and people’s mind.
Angkor Wat is the greatest legacy left from the Great Angkor Empire. This gigantic architecture was built up to dedicate to the god Vishnu which is a Hindu god, but there was an abundance of changes of religion believing throughout Cambodian history timeline. According to the Smile of Angkor information, there are four changes and transformation of religions throughout many different reigns of Kings. During the 9th century until 12th century, the religion was Hinduism under the reign of King Suryavarman II. Additionally, in the reign of King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat Temple building project was started. Afterward, the end of the 12th century, King Jayavarman VII, the new ruler also known as the greatest skilled and most memorable king of Cambodia made a switch to Mahayana Buddhism. At this point of information, there are many temples built up with the implementation of Buddhist statues instead of Hindu statues. Then, at the beginning of the 13th century, the religion experienced a brief reversal to Hinduism (Shivaism), but at the end of this century, there was a second form of Buddhism, known as the Theravada Buddhism. Not to mention, Neak Ta is a type of religions that is a part of Cambodian’s practices too, it is about the respect to the guardians of the land and water. So, there were a lot of changes of religions during the Khmer Empire and consequently affect Cambodian’s practices and festivals annually with a mixture of Hinduism, Buddhism and Neak Ta.
During the Golden Age of Angkor Empire, many temples were built claiming with a specific reason. As stated earlier, Angkor Wat Temple is one of the greatest legacies all around the world and Cambodia that took about three decades to accomplish, but there are many other ancient temples, pagodas and sites constructed with gorgeous, inspirational arts, rock carvings and amazing building structures in many different regions. Bayon Temple is one of the most prominent temples in Cambodia with enormous faces that express the wonderful states of mind, which are Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic, Joy and Equanimity (Darith Touch, Religions of Angkor, http://smiles-of-angkor.com). As a matter of fact, Cambodia has 4000 ancient temples and sites, but only 2000 of them had been found. The information of Khmerization stated that “There are 2603 temples and sites have been visited in 18 provinces and towns. Among the 2603 sites visited, 766 of them are temples, 996 are ancient tombs, 487 are ancient pagodas, 89 are ancient bridges and 265 are ancient walls and ancient sites.” This clearly shows how appreciable Angkor Empire is that it contains with many ancient sites and buildings with aesthetic arts and sculptures. Therefore, massive, blow minding architectures are taking a long time to construct, but they always come with the beautiful and enjoyable view.
As always there are many collapsing moments of civilization in the world history such as Akkadian Empire, Hittite Empire, Mycenaean Greece and Angkor Empire. In the 14th century, Angkor Empire suffered a tragic moment and steady decline. Regretfully, this civilization declined in the 15th century. There are many curious and acquiescent aspects claiming about this big settlement of this Angkor Empire. In addition, according to the article of Wikipedia claimed confidently that “Historians have proposed different causes for the decline: the religious conversion from Vishnuite-Shivaite Hinduism to Theravada Buddhism that affected social and political systems, incessant internal power struggles among Khmer princes, vassal revolt, foreign invasion, plague, and ecological breakdown.” In detail, there were many opinions and events which are might cause this devastated, collapsing civilization that there are many neighboring kingdoms were taking control of Cambodia, for example, the Thai Kingdom and Dai Viet, known as Vietnam. Also the calamity of religious divisions between nations which are Hinduism and Buddhism. Moreover, the lack of control and power of the Angkorian kings which made a union of nations and territory were breaking apart to other nations.
To conclude, as many believe that Angkor Empire is the best civilization that emerges to Earth planet. Also, throughout the information and evidence stated in this research clearly shows how great Angkor Empire is of displaying many best arts on the temples, specifically Angkor Wat temple and amazing construction structures of temples and different king reigns in the history which are really entertaining and fascinating. Sadly, this powerful empire declined with unrecognizable effects that left many great legacies to next generation.
Stark, M.T. (2006). From Funan to Angkor: Collapse and regeneration in ancient Cambodia. After collapse: The regeneration of complex societies. Pp.144-167.
“Khmer Empire.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Apr. 2017. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
“Religions of Angkor.” Religions of Angkor｜Smiles of Angkor. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
Khmerization. “Cambodia Has 4,000 Ancient Temples and 2,000 Have Been Found and Located.” Khmerization. 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.