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  • 1 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:ExamplesfromThailandandSoutheastAsia

    VasuPoshyanandana

    PresentdayThailand is situatedon IndochinaPeninsula,at the centrepointofSoutheastAsia. In thepastwhen the landwasnotdivided into countries, itwas locatedby severalancienttownswhichdevelopedfromagriculturalvillageswhoseorigincouldbetracedbackto theNeolithicperiod. Those ancient townshaddeveloped andprospered from tradinglocal produce, namely, forest finds, spices and herbswhichwere abundant in the area.Tradebroughtaboutintercommunicationbetweenlocaltownsaswellasvisitsfromforeigncountries,even fromabasinofcivilizationsuchas India, fromwhichbeliefs,religionsandartswere imported alongwith business andmerchandise. Apart from Bhraminism, laterknownasHinduism,Buddhism,alsooriginated in India,was introduced into the land thatwascalled Suvannabhumiin thosedaysashasbeen recorded thatEmperorAshokahadsentBuddhistmonkstoSuvannabhumionreligiousmission.Contemporaneously,agraftoftheBodhitreefromBodhGayawasdeliveredtoSriLanka,thusinitiatingSriLankaasoneofthe prominent centres ofBuddhism and distinguishedBuddhist architecture had evolvedaccordingly. Architectural style from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has influenced that ofseveral trade towns and administration centres in SoutheastAsia,which, eventually,haddeveloped into Buddhist architectural heritage with distinctive styles according to eachspecificlocationasseeninThailandandneighbouringcountries.SeveralsitesofheritageasmentionedhavebeenapprovedoftheirOutstandingUniversalValuesandhavebeenlistedasWorldHeritage, for instance, Sukhothai andAssociated Towns andAyutthayaHistoricCity,whereagreatnumberofBuddhisttemplesclearlyindicatesitssignificanceascentreofBuddhism.InCambodiaandIndonesia,eminentBuddhiststructuresstillexist,for instance,BayonTempleofAngkorandBorobudur.Apartfromthese,othersitesinThailandwhicharenow in theTentativeListare :PhuphrabatHistoricalPark,Phimai,andmost recently, thesitetobenominatedinthenearfutureisWatPhraMahathatNakhonSiThammarat,whichis, apart from the architectural characteristics that evidently reflect the Indian and SriLankaninfluence,theplaceisasacredsite,acentrefaithwheretraditionalreligiousfestivalsarestillpracticedcontinuallyfromthepastuntiltoday.

  • 2 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:OriginfromtheIndiansubcontinent(India/Pakistan/SriLanka)

    India

    - MahabodhiTempleComplexatBodhGaya - BuddhistMonumentsatSanchi - AjantaCaves

    MahabodhiTempleComplexatBodhGaya

    DateofInscription:2002Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3 rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6 th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

  • 3 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    BuddhistMonumentsatSanchi

    DateofInscription:1989Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    Onahilloverlooking theplainandabout40kmfromBhopal,thesiteofSanchicomprisesagroupof Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars,palaces,templesandmonasteries)allindifferentstatesofconservationmostofwhichdatebacktothe 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldestBuddhistsanctuary inexistenceandwasamajorBuddhistcentreinIndiauntilthe12thcenturyA.D.

    AjantaCaves

    DateofInscription:1983Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(vi)

    The first Buddhist cavemonuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.During theGuptaperiod (5th and6th centuriesA.D.),manymore richlydecorated caveswere added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, consideredmasterpiecesofBuddhistreligiousart,havehadaconsiderableartisticinfluence.

    ThestyleofAjantahasexertedaconsiderableinfluenceinIndiaandelsewhere,extending,inparticular, to Java.With its twogroupsofmonumentscorresponding to two importantmoments in Indianhistory, theAjanta caveensemblebearsexceptional testimony to theevolution of Indian art, aswell as to the determining role of the Buddhist community,intellectualandreligiousfoyers,schoolsandreceptioncentresintheIndiaoftheGuptaandtheirimmediatesuccessors.

  • 4 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    Pakistan

    - Taxila - BuddhistRuinsofTakhtibahi

    Taxila

    DateofInscription:1980Criteria:(iii)(vi)

    FromtheancientNeolithictumulusofSaraikalatotherampartsofSirkap(2ndcenturyB.C.)andthecityofSirsukh(1stcenturyA.D.),TaxilaillustratesthedifferentstagesinthedevelopmentofacityontheIndusthatwasalternatelyinfluencedbyPersia,GreeceandCentralAsiaandwhich,fromthe5thcenturyB.C.tothe2ndcenturyA.D.,wasanimportantBuddhistcentreoflearning.

    Taxilareacheditsapogeebetweenthe1stand5thcenturiesAD.BuddhistmonumentswereerectedthroughouttheTaxilavalley,whichwastransformedintoareligiousheartlandandadestinationforpilgrimsfromasfarafieldasCentralAsiaandChina.

    BuddhistRuinsofTakhtibahi

    DateofInscription:1980Criteria:(iv)

    TheBuddhistmonasticcomplexofTakhtiBahiwasfounded in the early 1st century. Owing to itslocation on the crest of a high hill, it escapedsuccessive invasions and is still exceptionallywellpreserved.Thecomplex, themost impressiveandcompleteBuddhistmonastery inPakistan,consists

    of fourmaingroups: theCourtofStupas, themonasticcomplexwith residentialcells, thetemplewithamainstupa inthemiddleandthetantricmonasticcomplexwithaseriesofdarkcells.Theseruinsareamongthemostcharacteristicofthistypeofstructure.

  • 5 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    SriLanka

    - SacredCityofAnuradhapura - AncientCityofPolonnaruwa - SacredCityofKandy

    SacredCityofAnuradhapura

    DateofInscription:1982Criteria:(ii)(iii)(vi)

    This sacred city was established around acutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', theBodhi tree, brought there in the 3rd centuryB.C.bySanghamitta,thefounderofanorderofBuddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonesepolitical and religious capital, flourished for1,300 years. The city is one of the principalshrines of Buddhism. The relics of Siddhartahave, moreover, shaped the religious

    topographyofAnuradhapura,wherethebigstupa(DagabaThuparama)wasbuiltinthe3rdcentury BC to house the clavicle of Buddha, an important religious relic presented byAshoka.

    AncientCityofPolonnaruwa

    DateofInscription:1982Criteria:(i)(iii)(vi)

    Polonnaruwa was the second capital of SriLankaafterthedestructionofAnuradhapurain993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanicmonuments built by the Cholas, themonumental ruinsof the fabulous gardencitycreated by Parakramabahu I in the 12th

    century. It is also a shrine of Buddhism and of Sinhalese history. The tooth of the LordBuddha,aremarkablerelicplaced intheuniquestructurecalledVatadage,wasconsideredasthetalismanoftheSinhalesemonarchy.

    SacredCityofKandy

    DateofInscription:1988Criteria:(iv)(vi)

    This sacredBuddhist sitewas the lastcapitalof theSinhalakingswhosepatronageenabledtheDinahalaculturetoflourishformorethan2,500yearsuntiltheoccupationof Sri Lanka by theBritish in 1815. It isalso the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (thesacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous

  • 6 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    pilgrimagesite.Afirsttemplewasbuilt in1603,destroyedbythePortuguese in1637,andrebuilt in1697.AsareferencetothegreatarchitectureofAnuradhapura,thefirsthistoriccapital, the present grander edificewas built upon a granite substructure. In addition tograniteawidevarietyofmaterialswereusedforthisextraordinarilyrichbuilding:limestone,marble,sculptedwood,terracotta,metalandivory.

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:ExamplesfromSoutheastAsia

    BorobudurTempleCompounds

    DateofInscription:1991Criteria:(i)(ii)(vi)

    ThisfamousBuddhisttemple,datingfromthe8thand9thcenturies,islocatedincentralJava.Itwasbuilt in three tiers: a pyramidal base with fiveconcentric square terraces, the trunk of a conewith three circular platforms and, at the top, amonumentalstupa.Thewallsandbalustradesaredecoratedwith fine low reliefs, covering a total

    surfaceareaof2,500m2.TheBorobudurTempleCompoundsconsistsofthreemonuments:namelytheBorobudurTempleandtwosmallertemplessituatuedtotheeastonastraightaxis to Borobudur. The two temples areMendut Temple,whose depiction of Buddha isrepresented by a formidable monolith accompanied by two Bodhisattvas, and PawonTemple,asmallertemplewhose innerspacedoesnotrevealwhichdeitymighthavebeenthe object of worship. Those three monuments represent phases in the attainment ofNirvana.

    Criterion (i): Borobudur Temple Compounds is a harmonious marriage of stupas, temple and mountain that is a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture and monumental arts.

    Criterion (ii): Borobudur Temple Compounds is an outstanding example of Indonesias art and architecture from between the early 8 th and late 9 th centuries that exerted considerable influence on an architectural revival between the mid-13th and early 16th centuries.

    Criterion (vi): Borobudur Temple Compounds is an exceptional reflection of a blending of the very central idea of indigenous ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.

  • 7 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    Angkor

    DateofInscription:1992 Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

    AngkorisoneofthemostimportantarchaeologicalsitesofSoutheastAsia.Itextendsoverapproximately400squarekilometresandconsistsofscoresoftemples,hydraulicstructuresaswellascommunicationroutes.ForseveralcenturiesAngkor,wasthecentreoftheKhmerKingdom.TemplessuchasAngkorWat,theBayon,PreahKhanandTaProhm,exemplarsofKhmerarchitecture,arecloselylinkedtotheirgeographicalcontextaswellasbeingimbuedwith symboli

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