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Khmer culture is “Indianized”; influenced mostly by India
- religion : Hinduism; worshiped Shiva and Vishnu; followed caste system with Brahmins
- architecture : temples and monuments were built in honor of Hindu gods such as Angkor Wat
- art : stone carvings taught by Indian Brahmans.
- public works : learned how to make irrigation systems and waterways from Brahmans
Religion and beliefs - The majority of the Khmer empire are people who follows the Khmer style of Buddhism, which blends the elements of Hinduism, Buddhism and spirit worship. The Angkor rulers also adopted its idea of god-kings, in which the kings were an incarnation of Shiva, a Hindu god who was known as the protector. -The Khmer Empire was formed from Indian cultural influences. Religion and beliefs were practiced in temples. In Angkor ancient kings built more than 700 temples. The largest temple was Angkor Wat. It covers 500 acres and is known as one of the largest monuments that was ever built. R.C. Period 1
square mile, and is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and was also used as an observatory.
Several temples at Angkor are some of the most outstanding architectural achievements ever.
Khmer Architecture B.A. Period 1
Decline of the Khmer Empire There are many reasons on why the Khmer Empire eventually fell. Environmental Issues
Soil Resources : Because the Khmer Empire had to sustain a large population, the constant farming using fertile soil ultimately led to the depletion minerals such as silt affecting the surplus of food the Khmer people needed.
Depletion of Wood : The Khmer people wood use a lot of wood for farmlands, to construct houses, temples, to make cooking materials, and for use of scaffolding in large construction products.
A.S. Period 1 Rice paddy
Failures in Irrigation Systems : ¹In some irrigation systems, the water may have become stagnant in some places and there would be a disease outbreak (i.e. malaria). ²Irrigation systems may have been different due to the shifts in monsoon patterns and therefore disrupted the normal water management system during the 14th/15th century. *There was a delicate balance between the reservoirs and irrigation canals and even the slightest disruption could have damaged something and have broken down the balance which added to the empire’s decline. Climate Changes : Abnormal climate changes could have occurred and upset the irrigation systems. Methane emissions from rice fields can alter climate conditions significantly. Irregular monsoon patterns could lead to droughts, famine, and infectious disease. Environmental Issues Continued Ancient Khmer Irrigation system (dry). A.S. Period 1
Conflicts with Neighboring People : The Khmers were often engaged in warfare with the Chams, Bagans, Sukhothai, and the Thais. In fact the Thais in 1431 sacked Angkor and forced the Khmers to work as slaves for them.
Many Unproductive People : People such as aristocrats and Brahman priests were part of the religious order and the royal family and usually didn’t contribute to the society.
Ruins of the Bayon Temple. ↑ Ruins of the Ta Prohm temple. ↓ A.S. Period 1