Cambodia's 9th-13th century Khmer Hindu civilization was one of the most advanced in the world. The mind reels in awe before the temple complexes of Siem Reap, the center of Khmer rule, religion and home of the world's largest temple--Angkor Wat. For those unable to travel to foreign lands, Cambodian history need not remain a misty dream. Among the many books and videos lies a little-known jewel produced by Angkor Media in 2003. It is a DVD with great music, narration and deeply researched content on the Siva temple complex of Banteay Srei. Produced by a sympathetic Hindu team in Delhi, it "breathes " with authentic devotion, unlike most offerings on South Asia produced from a condescending Western academic anthropologist's view. Banteay Srei, though smaller than Angkor Wat, is considered the jewel of Cambodia's temples for its exquisite art, sculptures and inscriptions. While Lord Siva was the Ishta Devata of the day and the Sivalinga was central, temple art and culture were a rich integration of Vedas, Siva Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and classical yoga texts and practice. Angkor Media's Banteay Srei DVD is special in going beyond just an archeological survey. It is a window on a Hindu institution that was more than a temple. Banteay Srei was a center of education, humanitarian service, monastic penance and the spiritual anchor of political dynasties. To order: http:/www.sfrd.org
Hinduism Today's publisher is inviting readers to join him in January, 2008, for a pilgrimage to Siem Reap, Malaysia and South India.