Global Naatya Festival to showcase Indian influence on Cambodia

Global Naatya Festival to showcase Indian influence on Cambodia

The Global Naatya Festival Angkor Wat will be held between January 24 and 28, 2020, Vice President Angkor Tamil Sangam Cambodia M Rameshwaran told CSP, to promote the rich cultural artistic connections between India and Cambodia.

This time around Dr Sanjay Shantaram from Bangalore will be performing. Apart from being a Bharatanatyam dancer, he is also a film and TV serial actor.

ShivPadam a collection of over 1000 songs on Lord Shiva written by Brahmashri Samavedam Shanmukha Sharma involving 7 gurus and 15 students will be a part of the festival. Smt Vani Gundlapalli will be coordinating this event involving all the dances of India. An award will be given to the Guru and a participating title to the students of every team by the Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts Siem Reap, Cambodia. The dances are classical group dances of a duration of 20 minutes. The award ceremony will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Angkor Era Hotel.

The dances will be staged at the Terrace of the Elephants and those attending the dance festival will be taken to visit the Terrace of the Elephants, a late 12th century royal terrace, built by King Jayavarman VII. The Royal Terraces, comprising of the Terrace of the Elephants to the South and the Terrace of the Leper King to the North, form the Eastern boundary of the Royal grounds. Both terraces contain extensive sculptings of Devatas and Apsaras, of Indian origin.

The Elephants terrace consists of inner and outer sections. The inner sections were built first and later became buried under the soil during construction of the outer sections. The well preserved inner walls contain numerous carvings of apsaras, warriors and animals like multi headed horses. The Northern end of the outside walls contains carvings of sports, such as Polo games, wrestlers and chariot racing. The Central section of the terrace contains carvings of Garuda, Kinnarees and elephants engaged in a hunt.

The Leper King terrace is believed to be built as a representation of Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu cosmology. The 25 meter long terrace is completely covered with sculptings in high relief. Long rows of seated finely carved figures, mainly of multi headed snakes, armed guardians, Garuda and female celestial beings decorate the walls. The outer walls contain carvings like a Palace scene with a sword swallower and Shiva holding a trident. A trip has also been arranged to the Angor Wat temple, says Rameshwaran.

Owen Jarus, Live Science contributor, writes that the temple was built roughly between A.D. 1113 and 1150, and “encompassing an area of about 500 acres (200 hectares), Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Its name means ‘temple city.’”

Aerial view of Angkor Wat, Pic by Alexey Stiop,

Jarus says originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century, and statues of Buddha were added to its already rich artwork. He writes that at the heart of the temple was the central tower, entered by way of a steep staircase, a statue of Vishnu at the top. He quotes researcher Eleanor Mannikka who in the book Angkor: Celestial Temples of the Khmer Empire, says “This tower was at once the symbolic center of the nation and the actual center where secular and sacred power joined forces. From that unparalleled space, Vishnu and the king ruled over the Khmer people."

On January 27th, the entourage will be taken to visit the 1000 Lingas at Phnom Kulen Mountain followed by a visit to Tonle Sap Lake. Phnom Kulen Mountain, considered to be Cambodia’s most sacred mountain, is located 50 km from Siem Reap. The River of 1000 Lingas is sacred to Hindus. The riverbed is interestingly carved with numerous lingas. There are rock carvings along the river depicting Hindu deities.