Archaeology of Hinduism in Southeast Asia

Indic religions arrived in the early centuries of the first millennium and left a profound mark on Southeast Asia’s past

Hinduism is a system of beliefs, rituals and traditions originating from India, and arrived into Southeast Asia in the early centuries of the first millennium through trade and probably Brahmin scholars who transferred their religion to the elite class of Southeast Asian societies. There are several forms of Hinduism, most notably Vaishnavism and Shaivism, and the earliest evidence for worship of these deities come in the form of inscriptions and temples. Some major Unesco World Heritage sites are ancient Hindu temples: the Prambanan temple complex in Indonesia, the My Son Sanctuary in Vietnam and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which is thought to be dedicated to Vishnu. Islam and Buddhism supplanted Hinduism as the dominant religions in the second millennium, but the effects of Hindu religion and culture persist in the languages and cultures of Southeast Asia today. A few groups of people still practice Hindu religion today, including the Balinese and the Chams.

In this page:

For more information, there’s also the Resources Page which has links to other themed collections such as the Virtual Archaeology page where you can visit Southeast Asian archaeological sites online, the Online Lecture Library, and academic papers for more up-to-date research.

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Hindu Archaeology in the News

The news reports indexed below usually link to external sites that were active at the time of posting; sometimes websites may be temporarily down or may have reorganised their underlying architecture or have even closed down – in these cases the links may not be available. Most of the news articles archived are in English; this is largely because I do not have a working competency in Bahasa, although when I am made aware of stories in this and other languages I try to index them.

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