900 YEAR OLD Preah Vihear shiv Temple: shows SHIVJI FIGHTING WITH ARJUN & mHaaBHaart & puraaAN HISTORY....now Thailand and Cambodian fighting.....
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on August 2, 2008



Hindu American Foundation Press Release: WASHINGTON D.C., July 29, 2008:

An ancient Hindu temple located in the mountains on the Cambodia-Thailand border is once again at the center of tension between the two neighboring countries.

The Preah Vihear Hindu temple complex, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, saw a buildup of 1200-1500 troops (800-1,000 Cambodian and 400-500 Thai) in and around the large temple complex.

The Preah Vihear Temple was built by the Hindu Khmer Empire in the 10th and 11th centuries, and was dedicated to Lord Shiva, according to Sanskrit inscriptions. The elaborately carved temple is an important part of ancient history and Hindu culture, and must be protected and preserved.

Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the buildings that make up the sanctuary are dedicated to Shiva. The temple dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded.

This site is particularly well-preserved, mainly due to its remote location near the border with Thailand. The site is exceptional for three reasons: its natural situation on a promontory, with sheer cliffs overlooking a vast plain and mountain range; the quality of its architecture adapted to the natural environment and religious function of the temple; and, finally, the exceptional quality of the carved stone ornamentation of the temple.

Samir Kalra, Esq., the incoming coordinator for the fifth annual Hindu American Foundation Hindu human rights report due out next year, called on the Thai and Cambodian governments to resolve their dispute peacefully and withdraw their troops from the historic temple complex and surrounding areas.

 "The presence of troops and weapons at the temple site violates the sanctity of this Hindu monument, and the temple has already born the scars of decades of fighting," said Kalra.

"It is ironic that the much-deserved listing of this heritage site began a conflagration that could destroy it, and we condemn this violent turn of events."

By clicking on the next line....You can learn a very exciting vEDik history, Astro-archaeology and Archaeo-astronomyof  Preah Vihear Temple on the next page.....



Sundial, calendar and Khmer temples
Astro-archaeology = Astroarchaeology
Prasat Preah Vihear
Archaeo-astronomy = archaeoastronomy
North 14.39038°, East 104.68029°

The basic information needed to do calculations on astronomical events eventually related to an archaeological site is: Location, date of construction, and orientation. Also important is information about religious concepts and level of astronomical knowledge at the time of construction.

We can measure the location and the orientation, but the time of construction is unknown. The temple was constructed some time in the 9th century, or maybe even centuries before. From stone inscriptions we have information about which gods were installed in the main sanctuary at various epochs, but very limited details about religious practices. No written information about astronomical knowledge at the time of construction has come down to us. From inscriptions we only know that various kings were praised for their Vedic knowledge, here among astronomy. As the ancient Khmers had close cultural ties to medieval India we can suppose that Indian astronomical textbooks as the Surya Siddhanta was in vogue in Kambuja in the end of the first millennium.

The only 'hard evidence' we have is artistic expressions in stone. Like at so many other ancient Khmer temples the dikpalas (the Guardians of the Cardinal Directions) and the Kala figure ('time') are depicted on lintels and pediments above the doorways of the temple. A most interesting art-piece is a frieze depicting the Navagrahas (the Nine Planetary Deities), which expression and present location is not known to the author of this paper. We do not know how these religious expressions were perceived by the ancient Khmers. Neither do we have any written details about how and when, which rituals were performed. Hinduism and Buddhism originated in India but was probably practiced in 'Khmer way' in ancient Kambuja. The Khmer navagrahas originated in India, but were conceptually very different. Solar temples are absent, and so are mithunas (erotic art), which are very common at Shiva temples and Solar temples in India.

Location: North 14.39038°, East 104.68029°
Preah Vihear (Khao Phra Viharn in Thai) is located on top of the Dangrek Mountains, on the border between nowadays Cambodia and Thailand. The temple is located on Cambodian territory, but easily accessible from Sri Saket Province of Thailand. The associated baray (reservoir) right north of the sanctuary is located on Thai territory. The above position is measured at the main sanctuary.

Date: 9th century.
The construction of Preah Vihear went on continuously from the 9th to the 12th century. The first construction of Preah Vihear is credited Yasovarman I, who reigned from 889 to 910, but ''a son of Jayavarman II (who reigned from 802 to 850) may have founded Preah Vihear even earlier when he took a fragment of rock from the Lingaparvata Mountain of Wat Phu in Laos to the site of Preah Vihear'' (ROVEDA, 2000:10). (Wat Phu = Vat Phou).

No inscriptions inform about the year of construction. The first stone-construction was probably done in the last part of the 9th century, but the north-south orientated layout of the temple could well have been in use in older structures made by lighter materials.

Religion: Saivite (Bhadresvara version)
Preah Vihear was a Hindu temple dedicated Shiva in his aspect of Shikharesvara (Lord of the Summit) and a Bhadresvara linga was installed in the main shrine.

Prasat Banteay Srey, Prasat Sek Ta Tuy, Prasat Trapang Khyang from the 10th century were all dedicated to the linga Tribhuvanamahesvara, which is the name of the god of Lingapura (Prasat Koh Ker). The three sanctuaries were made misrabhoga (co-participant) of certain revenues with the god Bhadresvara (BRIGGS, 1951:138). Bhadresvara, an angry version of Shiva, was also worshipped at Wat Phu, the cradle of Khmer culture which flourished in the beginning of the first millennium in what is now Southern Laos.

Right: Cambodian 100 riel note.

Orientation: 0.5° true bearing.
Two series of GPS-measurements (conducted by the author in 2004 and 2006) indicate that the orientation of the temple is not 100% straight north. Over a distance of 845 m the 'error' is approximately 8 to 9 m. Compass readings indicate that other parts of the structure (e.g.. Gopura IV) is approximately 1° from true cardinal orientation.

Preah Vihear was constructed before the invention of the compass. Constructing an east-west oriented alignment by use of the sun is relatively easy, but a north-south line (especially on sloping terrain) is a little more complicated.

Preah Vihear has an axial layout resembling Prasat Vat Phou (Laos), Prasat Phnom Scisor (Cambodia), and Prasat Phanom Rung (Thailand).

The stone floors at Preah Vihear have carved lines following the orientation of the structure. The lines run from door-step corner to door-step corner or mark the centre-line. Level IV has an intricate pattern of east-west and north-south lines.

Right: Carved east-west (91°) centre-line in Gopura IV

Art related to astronomy:
A Navagraha frieze (the Nine Planetary Deities: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu) was found in the forest near the temple (ROVEDA, 2000:24). If the reader knows where this frieze is exhibited today, the author will be very pleased to be informed, as he is collecting information on this feature, which has strong astronomical relevance.

Dikpalas (Guardians of the Cardinal Directions) are depicted in the stone carvings of the temple: The Vedic head god Indra mounted on his vehicle, the elephant Airavata, faces east, the cardinal direction guarded by him. Yama on his buffalo guards the southern direction. Kubera guards the western direction and Brahma the northern.
The Kala (literary 'time' and in the literature also called 'the time-eating-demon') is represented in the centre of many lintels of the temple.

Solstitial alignment are embedded in several parts of the layout. The 'solstitial angle' (my phrasing) is defined as the difference in azimuth angle of the rising sun at equinox and solstice.

Above: Deity on Kala

Above:  Shiva Nataraja (the King of Dancers) on an elephant's head above the Kala. The depiction is atypical as the elephant is Indra's vehicle and the Dancing Shiva is normally not depicted on a vehicle. Shiva's vehicle is the bull, Nandin (see below).

Shiva Nataraja is at Preah Vihear depicted on the pediment above the southern door of the mandapa ('entrance hall' in front of the main sanctuary). Preah Vihear is as an exception oriented towards north. Most ancient Khmer temples are oriented towards the east, and within an angle that allows the rays of the rising sun annually to penetrate the entrance door of the temple and illuminate the main deity.

Most temples also depict the leader of the Guardians of the Cardinal Directions, Indra on his elephant, in the main orientation of the temple.

The elephant could therefore symbolize Indra and together with Kala have a guarding function

Above  The western gallery surrounding the mandapa and the main shrine.

Above  The mandapa is now used for Buddhist worship.

Above left: North-south carved line in the floor.
Above right: North-south carved line in the floor.

Above The western gallery.

Above  One of the two giant nagas guarding the staircase before ascending to the Naga-platform.

Above  Gopura IV seen from south-east

Above  View towards east.

Above Preah Vihear seen from south-east. Two small towers can be seen in the right part of the picture.

Above  Stones for the construction were cut right south of the main sanctuary. View towards NW.

Above Kala pediment on the eastern face of eastern 'library'

Above Northern entrance of Gopura III

Above: The dikpala guarding the southern cardinal direction: Yama on his blank buffalo above the southern door of Gopura III.

Above: The dikpala guarding the eastern cardinal direction: Indra on Airavata above the eastern door of the northern 'library'.

Above Kala (literary meaning 'time').

Above  Unidentified deity mounting Kala.

Above: The Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The devas and the asuras making soma.

Above: The Sun and the Moon (in circles) carrying lotus flowers. Detail from the churning scene (see above).

Above: Ornaments.

Above: Umamaheshvara: Shiva and his consort Uma on Nandin heading east like at Vat Phou.

Above: Krishna subduing the Naga Kaliya.

Above: Close-up of Krisna.

Above: Ornaments on blind door.

Above: E-W oriented sra (small reservoir) for ritual use.

Above: The eastern gallery and the view along the Dangrek Mountain chain.

Above: The western gallery. The cannon behind the gallery is not present anymore.

Above: Krishna subduing the Naga Kaliya.


BRIGGS, L. P. 1951
The Ancient Khmer Empire. American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia) vol. 41, 295 pp.. Reprinted by White Lotus Press, Bangkok, 1999.
FREEMAN, M. 1996 A Guide to Khmer Temples in Thailand and Laos. River Books, Bangkok, 1996.
HIGHAM, C. 2001 The Civilazation of Angkor, London 2001
JACQUES, C. and FREEMAN, M. 1999 Ancient Angkor, River Books Guides, Bangkok 1999.
ROVEDA, V. 2000 Preah Vihear, River Books Guides, Bangkok 2000.

Above: Bird-view of Prasat Preah Vihear (from a Cambodian 100 riel note).

Above: Vishnu on Garuda on Kala


12 August 2006 © Asger Mollerup



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Preah Vihear Temple

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Preah Vihear Temple

Name: Preah Vihear Temple
Creator: Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II
Date built: 11th & 12th Centuries CE
Primary deity: Shiva
Architecture: Banteay Srei style and others
Location: Preah Vihear, Cambodia

Preah Vihear Temple or Prasat Preah Vihear (Khmer: ????????????????, Prasat Preah Vihear) is a Khmer temple situated atop Pey Tadi, a 525-metre (1,720 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains in the Preah Vihear Province of Cambodia and near the border of Amphoe Kantharalak, Sisaket Province in northeastern Thailand. In 1962, following a significant dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over ownership of the temple, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park in Sisaket Province, Thailand, through which the temple is most easily accessible. On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]



[edit] Nomenclature

Preah Vihear is translated into Thai as Prasat Phra Viharn (??????????????) or Prasat Khao Phra Viharn (?????????????????) [In Thai the"Ph" is pronounced simply "p" ]. Prasat has the same meaning in Khmer and Thai ("castle", sometimes "temple") , and Khao is the Thai word for "hill" or "mountain" (in Khmer: "phnom", Cambodians occasionally refer to "Phnom Preah Vihear" as Thais sometimes refer to "Khao Phra Viharn"). The words "Preah" and "Phra" (???) mean "sacred," and the words "Vihear" and "Viharn" (?????) mean "shrine" (the central structure of the temple). In Thai, the word "khao" (???) has recently been omitted from the name in order to differentiate between the temple and the cliff it is built on. Thai mass media appear to have begun this convention.

The two versions of the name carry significant political and national connotations (see New dispute over ownership).

[edit] Location

The temple sits atop Pey Tadi, a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains which straddle the border between Thailand and Cambodia. During different periods it has been located in Cambodia and Thailand in turn. Following Cambodian independence and the Thai occupation of the temple it was listed by Thailand as being in Bhumsrol village, (which means Village of pine trees) Tambon Bueng Malu, (now merged with Tambon Sao Thong Chai) Amphoe Kantharalak, Sisaket Province (Thai: ????????????????? ??????????? ??????????????? ???????????????) in Thailand. It is 110 km from Amphoe Mueang Si Sa Ket, the center of Si Sa Ket province. After the 1962 ICJ ruling that it belonged to Cambodia permanently settled ownership of the temple, it was listed as being in Swaijrum, Kon Tuat, Choam Khsant District, Preah Vihear Province (Khmer: ????????????? ????????? ??????????????? ??????????????) in Cambodia. The temple is 280 km from Angkor Wat and 296 km from Phnom Penh. [2]

[edit] Ancient history

Temple of Preah Vihear*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lintel showing Shiva fighting Arjuna, gopura three.
Lintel showing Shiva fighting Arjuna, gopura three.
State Party Flag of Cambodia Cambodia
Type Cultural
Criteria i
Reference 1224
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2008  (32nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Plan of Prasat Preah Vihear.
Plan of Prasat Preah Vihear.

Construction of the first temple on the site began in the early 9th century; both then and in the following centuries it was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva in his manifestations as the mountain gods Sikharesvara and Bhadresvara. The earliest surviving parts of the temple, however, date from the Koh Ker period in the early 10th century, when the empire's capital was at the city of that name. Today, elements of the Banteay Srei style of the late 10th century can be seen, but most of the temple was constructed during the reigns of the kings Suryavarman I (1002 -1050) and Suryavarman II (1113 -1150). An inscription found at the temple provides a detailed account of Suryavarman II studying sacred rituals, celebrating religious festivals and making gifts, including white parasols, golden bowls and elephants, to his spiritual advisor, the aged Brahman Divakarapandita. The Brahman himself took an interest in the temple, according to the inscription, donating to it a golden statue of a dancing Shiva.

[edit] International dispute over ownership

In modern times, Prasat Preah Vihear was rediscovered by the outside world and became subject of an emotional dispute between Thailand and the newly independent Cambodia.

In 1904, Siam and the French colonial authorities ruling Cambodia formed a joint commission to demarcate their mutual border. In the vicinity of the temple, the group was tasked by the two governments to work under the principle that the border would follow the watershed line of the Dângrêk mountain range, which places Preah Vihear on the Thailand side. In 1907, after survey work, French officers drew up a map to show the border’s precise location. The resulting map, which was sent to Siamese authorities, showed Preah Vihear as being on the Cambodian side.

In 1954, Thai forces occupied the temple following the withdrawal of French troops from Cambodia. Cambodia protested and in 1959 asked the International Court of Justice to rule that the temple lay in Cambodian territory. The case became a volatile political issue in both countries. Diplomatic relations were severed, and threats of force voiced by both governments.

The court proceedings focused not on questions of cultural heritage or on which state was the successor to the Khmer Empire but on technicalities of the border demarcation work early in the century and Thailand's subsequent treatment of the resulting map.

Arguing in the Hague for Cambodia was former U.S. secretary of state Dean Acheson, while Thailand’s legal team included a former British attorney general, Sir Frank Soskice. Cambodia contended that the map showing the temple as being on Cambodian soil was the authoritative document. Thailand argued that the map was invalid, was not an official document of the border commission, and violated the commission’s working principle that the border would follow the watershed line, which would place the temple in Thailand. If Thailand had not protested the map earlier, the Thai side said, it was because Thai authorities had practical possession of the temple, due to the great difficulty of scaling the cliff from the Cambodian side, or had not understood that the map was wrong.


On June 15, 1962, the court ruled 9 to 3 that the temple belonged to Cambodia and, by a vote of 7 to 5, that Thailand must return any antiquities such as sculptures that it had removed from the temple. In its decision, the court noted that over the five decades after the map was devised, the Siamese/Thai authorities did not object in various international forums to the map’s depiction of the temple’s location. Nor did they object when a French colonial official received the Siamese scholar and government figure Prince Damrong at the temple in 1930. Thailand had accepted and benefited from other parts of the border treaty, the court ruled. With these and other acts, it said, Thailand had accepted the map and therefore Cambodia was the owner of the temple.

Thailand reacted angrily. It announced it would boycott meetings of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, with Thai officials saying this step was to protest a U.S. bias toward Cambodia in the dispute. As evidence, Thai officials cited the pro-Cambodia vote of an American judge on the court and Acheson’s role as Cambodia’s advocate; the U.S. government replied that Acheson was merely acting as a private attorney, engaged by Cambodia. Mass demonstrations were staged in Thailand protesting the ruling.

Thailand eventually backed down. In January 1963, Cambodia formally took possession of the site in a colorful ceremony attended by close to 1,000 people, many of whom had made the arduous climb up the cliff from the Cambodian side. A fit Prince Sihanouk, Cambodia’s leader, bounded up the cliff in less than an hour, paused to sip lemonade, then made offerings to Buddhist monks. In the ceremony, he made a gesture of conciliation, announcing that all Thais would be able to visit the temple without visas, and that Thailand was free to keep antiquities that it had taken away from the site.[3]

[edit] Civil war

Civil war began in Cambodia in 1970; the temple's location high atop a cliff served to make it readily defensible militarily. Soldiers loyal to the Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh continued to hold it long after the plain below fell to communist forces. Tourists were able to visit from the Thai side during the war. The Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in April 1975, but the soldiers at Preah Vihear continued to hold out after the collapse of their government. The Khmer Rouge made several unsuccessful attempts to capture the temple, then finally succeeded on May 22, 1975 by shelling the cliff, scaling it and routing the defenders, Thai officials reported at the time.[4] It was said to be the last place in Cambodia to fall to the Khmer Rouge.

Full-scale war began again in Cambodia in December 1978 when the Vietnamese army invaded to overthrow the Khmer Rouge. Khmer Rouge troops retreated to border areas. In January, the Vietnamese reportedly attacked Khmer Rouge troops holed up in the temple, but there were no reports of damage to it. Large numbers of Cambodian refugees entered Thailand after the invasion. In June 1979, Thai security forces forcibly expelled tens of thousands of them back into Cambodia in the vicinity of Preah Vihear. Unknown numbers were killed by landmines, gunfire and exposure; the government that Vietnam installed in Phnom Penh put the number of fatalities at more than 300.

Guerilla warfare continued in Cambodia through the 1980s and well into the 1990s, hampering access to Preah Vihear. The temple opened briefly to the public in 1992, only to be re-occupied the following year by Khmer Rouge fighters. In December 1998, the temple was the scene of negotiations by which several hundred Khmer Rouge soldiers, said to be the guerrilla movement's last significant force, agreed to surrender to the Phnom Penh government.[5]

The temple opened again to visitors from the Thai side at the end of 1998; Cambodia completed the construction of a long-awaited access road up the cliff in 2003.

[edit] Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site

On July 8, 2008, the World Heritage Committee decided to add Prasat Preah Vihear, along with 26 other sites, to the World Heritage Site list, despite several protests from Thailand.

As the process of Heritage-listing began, Cambodia announced its intention to apply for World Heritage inscription by UNESCO. Thailand protested that it should be a joint-effort and UNESCO deferred debate at its 2007 meeting.

Following this both Cambodia and Thailand were in full agreement that Preah Vihear Temple had "Outstanding Universal Value" and should be inscribed on the World Heritage List as soon as possible. The two nations agreed that Cambodia should propose the site for formal inscription on the World Heritage List at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2008 with the active support of Thailand. This led to a redrawing of the map of the area for proposed inscription, removing the 4.2sq kilometres of border territory awarded to Cambodia but still occupied by Thailand and leaving only the temple and its immediate environs.

Thailand's political opposition launched an attack on this revised plan (see New dispute over ownership) , claiming the inclusion of Preah Vihear could "consume" the overlapping area of the dispute lands. In response to the political pressure at home Thailand withdrew its formal support for the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site.

Cambodia continued with the application for World Heritage status and, despite official Thai protests, on July 7, 2008 (July 8th in Cambodia) , Preah Vihear Temple was inscribed on the list of World Heritage sites.

[edit] New dispute over ownership

[edit] Access

Preah Vihear can be approached via Tbeng Meanchey in Preah Vihear province or from Siem Reap in Siem Reap province via Anlong Veng. Although the highway is bitumen when it leaves Siem Reap, both roads are (occasionally) graded gravel once they begin to approach the Dangrek escarpment.

The temple can be approached from Kantharalak district, Sisaket Province of Thailand. Cambodia allows day-trip access to the temple on a visa-free basis from Thailand. Cambodia imposes an entrance fee of US$5 or 200 baht for foreigners (as of 2006, reduced to 50 baht for nationals of Thailand) , plus a fee of 5 baht for processing a copy of the passport. In addition, Thailand imposes an access fee of 400 baht for entering the National Park.

Cambodia has from time to time cut off access from Thailand during times of dispute with the Thai government.

[edit] The site

The temple complex runs 800 m (2,600 ft) along a north-south axis, and consists essentially of a causeway and steps rising up the hill towards the sanctuary, which sits on the clifftop at the southern end of the complex (120 m/390 ft above the northern end of the complex, 525 m/1,720 ft above the Cambodian plain and 625 m/2,050 ft above sea level). Although this structure is very different from the temple mountains found at Angkor, it serves the same purpose as a stylised representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods.

The approach to the sanctuary is punctuated by five gopuras (these are conventionally numbered from the sanctuary outwards, so gopura five is the first to be reached by visitors). Each of the gopuras before the courtyards is reached by a set of steps, and so marks a change in height which increases their impact. The gopuras also block a visitor's view of the next part of the temple until he passes through the gateway, making it impossible to see the complex as a whole from any one point.

The fifth gopura, in the Koh Ker style, retains traces of the red paint with which it was once decorated, although the tiled roof has now disappeared. The fourth gopura is later, from the Khleang/Baphuon periods, and has on its southern outer pediment, "one of the masterpieces of Preah Vihear" (Freeman, p. 162) : a depiction of the Churning of the Sea of Milk. The third is the largest, and is also flanked by two halls. The sanctuary is reached via two successive courtyards, in the outer of which are two libraries.

[edit] Notes

This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)
  1. ^ http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/08/america/NA-Canada-Thailand-Cambodia-Temple.php 900-year-old temple on disputed Thai-Cambodia border named world heritage site
  2. ^ Bunruam Tiemjarn, ????????? ????????????????? (Thai Lost the Case - Lost territories to Khmer), Animate Group Publishing Limited, Thailand, 2007 ISBN 978-974-09-1683-3 (Thai)
  3. ^ The New York Times, Jan. 8, 1963, p. 7.
  4. ^ United Press International, May 23, 1975
  5. ^ The New York Times, Dec. 6, 1998, p. 18.

[edit] References

  • Coe, Michael D. (2003). Angkor and the Khmer Civilization. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28442-3.
  • Higham, Charles (2001). The Civilization of Angkor. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23442-1.

[edit] External links

v  d  e
Angkorian sites
  • This page was last modified on 1 August 2008, at 09:57.


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