The cultural union of the whole of Indian subcontinent is well-known, but the how the region of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam were once a complete Sanatan land is not very much appreciated in the readings of history. However, eminent historians and the legacy of Cambodia sings the glory of the great king who became the establisher of Funan dynasty of Cambodia. And Kaundinya was the son of Kalinga, Bharat. The dynasty ruled from 1st century CE to 6th century CE.
Kaundinya from Kalinga
Cambodia which was earlier known as ‘Kambuja’ or Cambuchiya has a long maritime relation with Bharat. In the Indo-Chinese peninsula. Cambodia is oldest country which was Hinduized.
The first king to establish Funan dynasty was Kaundinya also known as Hun-t’ien. This king belonged to Bharat and he married the Naga princess Soma and established the Funandynasty. There are however disagreements, but major chunk of reliable evidences and historians have established that Kaundinya was a Brahmin from Kalinga (Odisha). The habitation of his clan was the Mahendra Parvat (mountain) of Odisha which also repeatedly appears in the history of Funan. On Mahendra Parvat Lord Shiva was ardently worshipped and this practise was also prevalent in the 1st century CE Cambodia until 5-7th century.
Funan translates to Mountain Kingdom, which in the local language called Khmer.
Marriage with the Naga princess
When Kaundinya, who was merchant by profession sailed to Cambodia, his ship was attacked by a pirate group led by Soma. Soma, was the daughter of the local Naga king. But Kaundinya showed his bravery and fought back. This filled Soma with utmost appreciation for the bold man.
Kaundinya and Naga princess Soma’s union is one the most important icon followed today in Cambodian culture. The couple represents the ultimate symbol of a happy married life, and till this date the couples getting married are dressed like Kaundinya and Soma.
Naga clan is an important part of Hindu itihasa as well the mystical iconography. They symbolise the spiritual power and deep secrets which are unknown to men.
Naga dynasties have reigned various parts of Bharat too in various time periods. Therefore, this union was also the symbol of union of two great clans.
Ambit of Hindu Dharma
Not only establishing a dynasty was important or the territorial victory but infusing the Vedic way of life and grandness of the Sanatan dharma was a prominent goal.
Cambodia is known for the striking and grand Angkor-Vat Temple which was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and shows the large iconography of Samudra-manthan. The temple has very striking similarities with that of Temple art of Odisha and the gopurams of Tamil temples. The subsidiary shrine are the prototypes of Pancha-ratha style of temple architecture.
Shaivism was called as the ‘devaraja’ sampradaya and was widely followed in Cambodia. Worship of shiv-lingam and also the vigraha was practiced. During the festivals the thevigrahas were taken in procession throughout the city, which is similar to what is practiced Mahakaleshvar, Lingarajtemple, etc in Bharat.
Therefore the beautiful relation which Cambodia had with Bharat in the past, was because of the strong linkage of Sanatan Dharma and its practices.