Old Kedah Festival news roundup

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Source: Bernama, via Malay Mail 20160521

Old Kedah, or Kedah Tua in Malay, and the archaeological findings of the Bujang Valley in northern Peninsular Malaysia were the focus of a local festival held last month. The events included an international conference, and from the news reports two themes seem apparent: the disagreement on whether the ruins of the Bujang Valley represent an animist or Hindu-Buddhist tradition, and the news that the remains of the Hindu temples that have previously been uncovered in the valley will not be nominated and protected under Unesco World Heritage. There’s a lot of subtext to read between the news reports, but it seems there is an attempt to downplay the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism in the Bujang Valley sites.

Source: Bernama, via Malay Mail 20160521

Source: Bernama, via Malay Mail 20160521

Experts disagree on religion practised at ruins older than Borobodur and Angkor Wat
The Star, 21 May 2016

World archaeological experts fascinated by Sungai Batu ancient site
Malay Mail, 21 May 2016

Ministry seeks allocation to develop Sungai Batu into historical tourism site
Malay Mail, 21 May 2016

No to heritage listing on Hindu-Buddhist temple ruins
The Star, 21 May 2016

Religious pluralism a likelihood in Bujang Valley
Free Malaysia Today, 23 May 2016

Ancient seaport of Sg Batu
New Straits Times, 23 May 2016

Sg Batu declared SEA’s oldest civilisation
Free Malaysia Today, 23 May 2016

Bujang Valley: Need for proof to be a heritage site?
The Star, 26 May 2016

The solar alignments of Angkorian temples

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A recently-published archaeoastronomy paper discusses the direct connection between the orientation of Angkorian temples with rising and setting of the sun during the equinoxes, but more importantly that the slight deviation along the east-west orientation of most of the temples were in face deliberate.

Angkor Wat. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160425

Angkor Wat. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160425

Tech used to prove Angkor’s link to sun
Phnom Penh Post, 25 April 2016

An Italian professor has set about the task of verifying with angles and axes what has long been theorised about Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat – that the temples took their cues from the sky.

Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Politecnico di Milano, used modern technology to test age-old thought in a bid to prove the clear orientation of buildings to the west was “connected with the temple’s symbolism and the management of power by the Khmer kings”.

“I only believe in what I can measure,” Magli told the Post, explaining his motivation to map precisely the orientation of the temples.

Full story here; access the paper here.

The short-lived Bagan climbing ban

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Tourism in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160225

A small clash last week between the Ministry of Culture and the tourism industry in Myanmar when the former abruptly banned the climbing of all temples in Bagan. This decision was quickly reversed after it was met with vocal opposition from many parties.

Tourism in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160225

Tourism in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160225

Bagan ban: Myanmar stops tourists scaling prized pagodas
AFP, via Yahoo News, 22 February 2016

Tourism ministry joins fight against Bagan ban
Myanmar Times, 24 February 2016

Myanmar backpedals on Bagan climbing ban
AFP, via Channel NewsAsia, 24 February 2016

Ministry backflips on Bagan pagoda ban
Myanmar Times, 25 February 2016

The Ministry of Culture has backpedalled on a decision to ban visitors from ascending pagodas in Bagan.

The edict, announced on February 22, prompted criticism from the tourism industry as well as from within the ministry. In barely 24 hours the ministry clarified its position, saying visitors would be banned from ascending all but five pagodas – its previous policy.

The ministry took the unpopular original decision because a medical company had conducted a cultural show on Pyathagyi Pagoda in the second week of February. It was to come into effect on March 1.

Rain causes collapse of temples in Bagan

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Recent torrential rains in Bagan have cause the collapse of at least two temples in the ancient temple complex. The conservation of the Bagan temples are problematic because there are so many of them, and some restoration efforts have been poorly done.

Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

Reconstructed pagoda collapses at Bagan
Myanmar Times, 12 August 2015

The dramatic collapse of a temple in Bagan after heavy rain could have been caused by botched conservation work, officials have suggested. Department of Archaeology and National Museum director general U Kyaw Oo Lwin told The Myanmar Times that the temple known as number 1752 collapsed on August 9, and the spire of temple 1297 collapsed two days later in torrential rain.

Nobody was injured in either collapse.

Temple 1752, which was 30 feet (9 metres) high, was restored in 2003 using new bricks that were laid on top of the original foundations.

U Kyaw Oo Lwin attributed the building failure to the mismatch of new bricks on the old structure during the renovation.

Full story here.

Replica Angkor Wat temple construction delayed following official protest

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The construction of a Hindu temple in Bihar, India modeled after Angkor Wat, has been halted after official protest from the Cambodian government.

Cambodia-2638 - Mighty Angkor Wat

Cambodia’s protest hinders Virat Ramayan Mandir construction in Bihar
IANS, via India Today, 03 July 2015

Work stymied on India’s ‘imitation’ Angkor Wat
Phnom Penh Post, 04 July 2015

The Cambodian government protested in June that the temple, proposed to be built at Janki Nagar near Kesaria in East Champaran district that is about 150 km from Patna, was a “replica” of world famous 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was built during the rule of King Suryavarman II and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

“The temple’s construction was to commence in June, but has since been delayed following the Cambodia government’s protest to the government of India,” said Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust, which will take up the ambitious Rs.500-crore project.

Full stories here and here.

Ayutthaya temple in Pattaya to be restored

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Funds have been raised and plans are in place to restore an ancient temple dating to the Ayutthaya period in eastern Thailand. The news article has a short video on the temple as well.

Restoring ancient temple
Pattaya People, 28 April 2015

Plans are afoot to go ahead and restore an ancient Buddhist temple located in Banglamung district after many attempts by local residents for authorities to bring the building back to its former glory. Already, a sum of 900,000 baht has been raised for the project from local and social network contributions. On the morning of Sunday, 26th April officers from the Thailand Fine Art Department paid a visit to the temple, which is believed to have been constructed during the Ayutthaya period in Siamese/Thai history that existed from 1351 to 1767. For some unknown reason the temple was abandoned and is now almost a ruin. If approved, then reconstruction could commence within 60 days.

Full story here.

Archaeologists investigate buried ruin in East Java

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Buried ruin in Lumajang Regency, East Java. Source: Tempo 20150113

Archaeologists in Indonesia are investigating a buried ruin, believed to be a Majapahit-period temple, in a village in Lumajung Regency, East Java.

Buried ruin in Lumajang Regency, East Java. Source: Tempo 20150113

Buried ruin in Lumajang Regency, East Java. Source: Tempo 20150113

Arkeolog Mulai Teliti Temuan Situs di Lumajang
Temp, 13 January 2015
Article is in Bahasa Indonesia
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