Monday, 10 February 2020



Suryavarman was sitting in his Angkor palace and was waiting for his Panditha guru to come.The Guru had earlier sent an emissary that he will come with a important missive to the king.
Suryavarman stood up.He can hear the sound of the foot steps,announcing the entry of the most important person of the Khmer kingdom.Divakarapandita was the advisor and guru for Suryavarman.
When Suryavarman decided to complete Preah vihar, he wanted to install the Lingam meant for the main sanctum after consulting with Panditar.

"Welcome sir,How are you"? Suryavarman after getting up from his reclining chair fell on Panditar's feet.
"When Suryavarman is there people are happy and that makes everyone happy which includes me also".
"All , because of you and that is because you are closest to Siva",exclaimed Suryavarman.
"Suryavarma" - only Pandithar can call the King by his name.?
"Yes please tell me".
"We need to go to Kurukshetra?
"Sir,you mean Bharatam(India)".
 "No,our Khmer kingdom has a Kuruksetra and what you want  will be taken from there".
"We will bring the stone meant for the lord from there".
"When we should go  sir?
"Suryavarma you also should come".
"Suryavarma you have made lovely roads to the place.240 km stretch can be covered in one month".
"For every nine miles you have constructed place to stay and hospitals to treat patients" Wednesday morning we shall start"?

The journey started from Angkor and the road connecting Angkor to Srestapura was well laid and maintained.
As the journey involved the King and the priest the soldiers were positioned almost every 100 meters for protection.

"Lingaprasatha means what Suryavarma?
"Lingaprasatha is present at Srestapura - the hill looks like a mountain and mountain itself is considered as Linga",answered Suryavarman
"Yes what you had said is correct".
Suryavarman had gone to Lingaparvata when he was young.
Khmer empire started from there when Sreshtapura was the capital.
When the capital was shifted  to Hariharalaya and then to Angkor,the kings traveled less to far flung places.
Their vassals ruled it,under the emperor.
As Pandithar instructed Suryavarman to come,this sacred visit to Linga prasata, is happening.
"Suryavarma, what you inferred about Kuruksetra".
"Sir,our sacred text is the war of Kuruksetra and we fight and rule using the principles laid down by Lord Krishna".
"Even the rules were broken in the war of Kuruksetra but we don't change sir".
"Lingaprasta has another name and it is Kuruksetra".
 Suryaverman has heard about this but he kept quiet.When he hears something from Pandithar he feels more enlightened.
 "Devanika - Have you heard Suryaverma".
  "Sir,you continue when you say there is knowledge and clarity".
  "Suryaverma, Devanika was the first ruler of our clan".
  He was inspired by Mahabaratha and when he came to Lingaprasta and saw the hill he saw lord Siva as mountain.
He was awe struck.
Visions of Mount Kailash came in front of him.
The land in front of the mountain he felt was Kuruksetra.
The war of evil vs darma ended at a place called, Kuruksetra,in India.
Devanika wanted Kuruksetra for himself and established his empire from here.
On the lap of lord Siva stood Srestapura.
"Do u know why we are going there,to get a stone from the mountain itself ?"
"When you install a Lingam at Preah Vihar it will be from lord Siva itself".

Suryaverman just followed the Pandithar without asking a single question.He knew he had a purpose.
Pandithar lives for Khmer kingdom and does each and everything for the welfare of the king and the people.
His decision to make a Sivalingam from a stone taken from Lingaprasata is an astute decision. Suryaverman bent is shoulder and gave respect to the real Brahmanan.
16th day their entourage reached Srestapura..
"Suryaverma,on day 18 we shall go to the hillock",uttered the Pandithar.
The reason being on the 18th day the Kuruksetra war ended and the holy man of Khmer kingdom had inner meanings for all his deeds.
17th day around dusk they tented at the base of the mountain.
Suryaverman as soon as he saw the hillock got connected with it.
On top of the hill he could see another small hill as if protruding from the bigger hill.
The fetus coming out of a womb.
The smallish one had a perfect resemblance of the Lingam or is it the Lingam itself.
"Mount Meru in front of my eyes".
Siva lives here and this mountain is Mount Kailash too.
Devanika was correct.
This place is not only Kuruksetra were good triumphed over evil but also the residence of the infinite.
The word,the descendant,the god,lord Siva himself.
Suryaverman started meditating in front of the holly hill.
He felt as if he was floating.
Day 18-" Suryaverma,nice to see the Baray is full of water".
"Yes sir "-Baray is the ocean and the hillock,the Mount Meru is rising from the ocean.
Nod of the head and they started alighting.


Reaching god is not easy.
We need to experience pain and with pain we get harder and then the process of learning is initiated.
Clarity then beckons,followed by realization. These are the initial steps of spirituality.
As they started alighting the steps closeted to the Baray they came close to the mountain.
Their spiritual journey had just begun.
Suryaverman was standing in front of the mountain.
Mountain as Siva&Siva as mountain.
A straight path with lot of grass on it welcomed them.Posts were present on either side of the long walkway and the posts also resembled the Linga.
"Suryaverma how do you feel".
"Im unable to say anything sir,the place has engulfed and swallowed me sir".
A series of steps welcomed them next.
A slight ache on the foot of Suryaverman was present and the Pandithar was slightly breathless and he is older after all.
On the left there was Nandhi temple.

"Suryaverma do you know where this road ends".
"I know sir,in front of Nandhi temple".

"Sir I have a doubt Nandhi should be infront of lord Siva but why here it is not facing the Siva".
"Suryavarama,Nandhi looks at the water in the Baray".
"What you can see in the water if you stand in front of it".
"My reflection sir and also I can see the mountain"

 "Nandhi will see the mountain's reflection on the water".
  "Nandhi will protect pilgrims who come to seek Siva's blessings and also see his master.
  "Im able to undertstand sir".
  "Suryaverma see the Nandhi and see the Baray in front of it.
   "Understood sir,I can see the reflection of the mountain on the Baray and the mountain is Siva.
   "Also the road you father constructed ends in front of Nandhi".


"Suyraverma the pilgrims who are coming here require a place to sleep and bath before alighting up,
 I request you to build two small palaces at the end of walkway just besides Nandhi".
"Sure sir".
"On the right side Suryaverma there is Ganesh the elephant god".
"We shall seek his blessings before we start".

A  five headed Naga welcomed them.
Another walk way started in front of them.
Suryaverman noticed the difference immediately.
The first walkway had grass on its surface.
This one had stones.
Two types of stones were seen.
One was latterite and was disjointed.
It ended up on a sandstone which was connected to the railings on either side.
Pandithar had noticed the quizzical face of Suryaverma.
"Are you deciphering?
"Not sure sir?
"Connect the walk way to the five headed Naga on either side".
"Sir,are we walking on a snake".
"Exactly,Suryaverma - the walk on the snake is the path of purification".
 Cleansing the sins - Suryverman was deciphering.
 Once the clean up begins we get connected to god.
 The snake pathway is the intermediary step between impurity and purity.
 The walkway ended and two Dwarapalakas were standing on either side welcoming them.

 Steep steps were in front of them.
 The next process of ascension to reach god started.
 Pandithar was panting and Suryaverman was able to walk up with relative ease and his panting was less.
After 7 minutes with some rest in between both of them reached the summit.
"Suryaverma,did you notice anything"?
"Yes sir,you are panting more and are you okay".
"Suryaverma,its because of my age and it will settle in five minutes but look down again".
He could not understand.
He walked down again.
The entire flight of steps was grouped into seven series.
After every series a flat walkway with a terrace was present.
It was followed by the next series of steps.
Each series of steps was made of 11.
7 series of steps and a total of 77 steps were present.


Suryaverman came up again.
What he noticed he communicated to the Pandithar.
Yes the rule of seven.
The earth has 6 worlds above it and including earth there are seven.Below mother earth there are seven more worlds.In the earth human beings dwell and above earth,air is inhabited by celestial beings and above air the inhabitants are Devas and  gods.Above this we find three more one for radiant beings,deities,pure souls and finally one for World of Truth.
There are seven more worlds below the earth inhabited by Demons.
This seven  can be interpreted as  Chakras in our body with navel being the earth and seven cardinal points above and seven below.
Our earth has seven continents and seven seas.
Agni has seven hands,sun has seven chariots,and the mother goddess Durga manifests as Saptha kannis(seven forms of the female goddess).
The earth has Jambudivpa from which arises Mount Kailash the residence of Lord Siva.
The summit opened into a threshold of a beautiful temple with clouds on top and mountain as its cradle.
As they entered the main temple which had three doors with the central one guarded by Indra on the three headed elephant, the omnipotent was standing still on the pedestal.
Water was pouring on the top of the Lingam and a representation of this magnitude was not available anywhere.
The water got collected at the pedestal and then found its way on the right to a small rock bed and from there it was channelized to the slopes of the mountain so that it can reach the Baray which in turn was the water source for the people.
The water came from the head of Siva like Ganges and then found its way to feed the people down.
The replica of mount Kailash - Devanikas creativity.
Suryaverman meditated in silence for some time and then walked with the Pandithar in the north westerly direction.
There was a cave and a hermit was sitting and chanting "Sivayanama".
The guards who were tailing the King and the Pandithar noticed the hermit and went near him with the intention of whisking him away.
"Don't touch him,he will burn you he is Pasupathan?
The guard stopped and retreated.
Pasupathas just live close and are with Siva.They lived,inhabited this rocky place and mostly lived alone,aloof and happy.
From the cave, water was falling down.
The water was channeled via a wooden conduit which went to a rock bed and from there found its way to the western entrance of the sanctum to flow on top of the Lingam.


The amazing work of Devanika and his fathers stunned Suryaverman.
Towards south few more hermits were working on the rocks.
A chiselled out of ten handed lord Siva with Brahma and Vishnu worshiping lord Siva could be seen on the south western side of the sanctum.
Similarly an elephant carved on the rock and a crocodile and naga face to face the exact reason for it is not known.

"Suryaverma take the rocks from here and use the stone as the first stone for Preah Vihar".
"Let the Linga be made from this mountain and it can be installed at Preah Vihar".
"As long as mother earth is present Lingaprasata,Preah Vihar and You will be remembered and cherished".

Suryaverman completed two palaces for staying purposes subsequently.


We know Siva is everywhere.
In India and Pakistan there is a undercurrent tension and misunderstanding between Hindus and Muslims,in some parts of their respective countries.
Similar to this there is a ownership dispute about a Siva temple lying on top of a cliff.
This cliff is present at Dongrek mountains bordering Thailand and Cambodia.
A lengthy dispute between the two countries was finally ruled in favor of Cambodia at the International court of justice.
Lord Siva is the chief of the mountain here.
The temple belongs to Cambodia but Siva belongs to all.
To reach this part of Cambodia it's better to first reach Siem reap.
From Siem reap hire a taxi and reach the base of the cliff.
At the base a ten dollar ticket has to be purchased.
To go up we have two options one is to hire a bike for 5 dollar or a car which can take up to 6 people and it costs 25 US dollors.
A six km ride and it's little steep but not scary will bring us to this "Temple of clouds".
There are lots of check posts with Cambodian soldiers and this is the border between Thailand and Cambodia.

After getting past the final check post the land opens up into a vast terrain.
We have a gradual ascension and we encounter the fifth gopuram. This is now in a dilapidated state.
From here on the right the pathway ascends in a northerly direction.
But before going up it's better to go behind the gopuram on the southern side.
From the southern side few steps takes us further down and this is the original path in those years.
The view from down is fantastic.
As we climb up again we see the fifth gopuram and then the terrain opens up with Naga balustrade on either side guarding the temple.

The architectural stand point of this temple is the gradual ascension as we go up which means we cannot see the fourth gopuram from the fifth and the third from the fourth.
Once we reach the fourth gopuram which is guarded by the lions some of which are decapitated and amputated.

The fourth one has beautiful carvings of the churning of the ocean by lord Vishnu.
Just before the fourth gopuram on the left we have a beautiful pond.
The concept of Mount Meru is the singular concept in all Siva temples built by the Khmer kings.
The ocean and from there the mountain arises.
Between the ocean and the mountain there are arid land in which people stay.
People who follow the king and do good reach heaven and if not they go to hell.
To reach the top of Meru mountain one has to go through five levels of hardship and on top of it there is lotus apparently lord Siva.This is represented as five tiers of their gopurams.
Mount Meru is where Siva resides.
The Kings of Khmer identified them with Siva,Vishnu and at times both and some believed in Trimurti which included Brahma too.
Jayavarman 7 who believed in Buddhism and Devaraja cult brought an end to the Hindu domination in this area.
Jayavarman 8 was a Saivite and he broke and disfigured Buddha statues but he was very unpopular among the public.
In the end Buddhism prevailed.
After relishing the beauty of the fourth gopuram we are welcomed by another shorter walk with naga balustrade on either side.

We now see the third gopuram.
The third one is big and has side ways which probably were the libraries.The third gopuram has beautiful carvings of Siva and Parvati on top of the holy bull.
Krishna dancing on the sea serpent.

The distance between gopuram three and two  is very small which makes a quick walk.

Once we enter the main or the first gopuram we can notice the beautiful carving of the Siva dance.
The main sanctum does not have the original Siva now.
Apparently there was a golden Nataraja statue too here.
The golden Nataraja was made by Suryavarman's guru and installed here.
The main sanctum was built by Yashovarman.
He had dedicated this to lord Siva and had installed a Siva lingam and called it as "God of Summit" apparently to tell the world the lord is at the top of the mountain which is the bridge between clouds, mountains and land.
Later on different kings Suryavarman 1 and 2 were associated with the temple and built different gopurams and the naga balustrade as well.
Suryavarman 2 despite being a Vaishnavite follower made offerings at this temple and asked Siva to be here and also at the Siva temple at Laos.
Once the Khmer empire went on the decline the temple also was not taken care of properly.

On the main sanctum we can see the carving of Nataraja.
The back side of the temple is full of destruction.
The main sanctum now has Lord Ganesh.
It took me by surprise and there were buddhist monks to the right.
I asked them the name of the god.
He is "Tedee"!
It means Mountain god.
I asked them is "Tedee -the other name of Buddha" and they said "No"
People worship lord Ganesh here.
He supposedly brings money,energy,fame and power.
Siva has been replaced by Lord Ganesh and he is worshipped by Buddhists as well as people who come and visit this place.
Ganesh is son of Siva.
In the spiritual journey one has to shun everything and reach Siva.
Probably Siva understood this.
As Cambodia is in poverty he had taken the form of Ganesh and is blessing people to have money,power and fame.
The main sanctum has no Siva now.

As I strolled  towards north the clouds move near me sometimes caress me.
A few meters and the end of the mountain comes.
What opens is jungle,clouds and a serene cliff.
Siva is there.

Chit Ambalam- Chidambaram-Cambodia's Chidambaram-Chitamabalam.


Lingaprasat is now called as Wat Phou and it is present at Laos.
To reach Wat Phou there are two options.To reach Vientene the capital of Laos and the a road trip to this place.
Easier and better option is to reach a place called Ubon Ratchathani which can be connected from Bangkok by a one hour flight trip.From here a taxi ride to Thailand border and walk across to Laos.
An international bus at specified times starts at Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse.
Laos visa fees for Indians is 40 USD and a surcharge of one dollor was levied for me as I crossed the border after 6 pm.
From the border it takes 45 minute travel to reach Pakse where good hotels are present.
Pakse to Wat Phou takes another 45 minutes travel by car or Tuk Tuk.
A museum is present at What Phou and take some time for this.
There is a entry fee for the temple. Try to reach in the mornings to avoid the heat.
Reaching Siem reap read the prior blog.
From Siem reap to reach Preah vihar takes a three hour ride if a taxi is taken and there are bus options too.
"Temple in the clouds" is a book written by John Burgess about Preah vihar, temple.
Gopuram or gopura means entrance tower of Hindu temples.
Balustrade are usually built on sideways which protects people from falling.
The temple was started by Jasovarman in 9 th century and Suryavarman 1 and  2 completed it.
Suryavarman 2 built Angkor vat too.
Lord of Summit means Shikareswara - Mountain King
Divakarapandita is the guru of Suryavarman 2,the inscription of this is engraved.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018


Yashovarman was sitting alone.
He had just finished the magnificent reservoir.
It was meant for his people.He had become the emperor of Hariharalaya.
"Yashovarman your eyes are Vedas and your hands are justice".
When his poet said this, Yashovarman just asked him to sit down. Yashovarman knew the reality of life.
People call him Devaraja too.
How come devaraja have this disease?
It all started as a painless patch which Yashovarman chose to neglect.
The hair then started falling from his eyebrows.
The worst part was the wrinkles and furrows which had appeared on Yashovarman's face.
The self realisation had started in him. He felt he had everything and infact he had inherited a legacy which knew only victory.Why did he get it?
Yashovarman knew he had leprosy.
That's life.
His only source of solace was helping people and thinking of lord Siva,now.
Leprosy was death.
Curse of God.
My minister is making a story that the king had conquered the Naga and the Naga's blood had smeared his face and body.
He was further enlightened by his Guru.
When he has no work he sits with the Brahmanan.
His Guru was supreme Brahmanan.
The Brahmanans had come from India.
They preached about Adisankarar and his compassion to people.
His mind, soul and body gets enriched when the enlightened Brahmin talks.
Even when he has work Yashovarman comes and sits with the descendant of Adisankarar.











"What is 108? and why it is so special sir?"
The King asked his guru.
"Sir,it's 109 and not 108".
"The 109 is lord Siva or the athma".
"The athma has to reach Siva".
"If Siva decides he can make everyone and the entire universe into unison at 109".
"He is the center".
"Around him the world rotates".
"The lunar month is 27 days and it  has 4 cycles. When we multiply it becomes 108".  
"All 33 gods of Siva and the world belongs to and revolve around Siva".
"That's why devaraja the mala which we usually pray with  has 108 beads."
"The 109th one is everyone's athma".
 "The concept of  athma searching lord Siva is realisation , the path of reaching him is sprirituality and when we reach him we become Sivam"
The king was not sure.He clasped his hands and fell on his Guru's feet and then  walked off.
Yashovarman did not sleep at that night.
109 and the Meru mountain should be together.
The people should understand the mighty of lord Siva and his love for all.
Siva will be at the center.
I had seen the place.
I know where it has to be built.
I know everyplace of my kingdom.
Like my father I also should be buried there.
Hariharalaya has severe water scarcity.
The population has grown.
The resettlement will happen in a new place.
Blessed by Siva and his concept of 108.
I will soon die because of leprosy.
Before that I shall build a new place,new settlement for my people with the blessings of the almighty.
On a hillock and that will be mount Meru.
Siva will be the fulcrum there.
All 108 forms of Siva will be there.
The king summoned the chief architect.
"Yes sir".
"We are going tomorrow and I will show you a place".
"Around that place we are shifting the new capital".
"We should do it soon".
The Angkor vat came into existence this way.
The new city was called Yashodarapura.
The mountain was called as Phnom Bakheng.
On top of it a main temple was built and it had Sivalingam,
which was called ""Yashodaraeshwara. It was installed in 907AD,.three years before Yashovarman's death who was posthumously called "Paramaasivaloka".
Around the main sanctum there were four more sanctums.
The base had four entrances and it is surrounded by 44 sanctums.
On the way to the top of the hillock there are five terraces.
Each terrace has 12 sanctums.This number 12 corresponds to the Jupiter's 12 year cycle in a human beings life.
So in total we have 44 plus 60 plus 4 and plus 1.
Totally 109.
The central sanctum is the main sanctum depicting Siva and around him everything revolves.
The base plus 5 terraces and the top level makes 7 levels corresponding to 7 heavens.
This was deciphered and understood by Jean Fillozat, a french scholar.
The temple is just infront of the gateway to Angkor Thom complex.
If we are coming from Angkor vat towards Angkor Thom complex we need to take a left and we will see the small mountain.


Two lions will welcome us.
There are steps which has no access.
The current path can be accessed around the mountain by walk or with the help of the elephant too.
When I walked with my guide there were no one.
This place becomes crowded and vibrant during sunrise or sunset as visitors throng this place to see the glimpse of Angkor from here.
I was there at 10 am.
It's just a 500 meter walk and once we reach the summit the experience to see the hillock with so many sanctums  and most of them damaged badly was something which can be felt for the viewer only .
Just in front of the hillock we can see the beautiful Nandhi.(Sacred bull)
It's still there and prayers are still offered for this Nandhi.
Most of the sanctums are broken and I could see some sanctums having the Sivalingam.
The main one also is badly damaged and a small hermit statue is present  now.
I sat there and could feel Yashovarman and his feelings.
His staunch belief on Siva has made him immortal .
Yashovarman had engineered a brilliant Siva cosmology, 1300 years ago on a hillock.
The main sanctum does not have Siva.
Siva has three forms.
One is Nataraja which everyone can see.
The second one is form and formless which Yashovarman had installed in 108 sanctums as Sivalingam.
The other form of Siva is formless which he had taken at this place and only the discerning can understand this.

Angkorvat visit is never complete without visiting this temple which an American scholar Paul Wheatley aptly called as "An astronomical calender built in a single stone"


Hariharalaya was the first capital of the Khmer empire in Cambodia.
Now its called Roulous.
Yashovarman ruled Hariharalaya between 889 to 910 AD . He shifted his capital to Yashodarapura and this temple was built by him.
Yashovarman did have leprosy and the Terrace of leper king was built for this king at Angkor thom complex.
About reaching Siem reap,kindly go through Kbal spean blog.
Jean Fillozat is a french doctor. He lived in Pondicherry as well and established the French institute of Pondicherry.He deciphered the logic behind this temple,in 1944 and he is well versed in Tamil and Sanskrit.
Phnom means mountain.