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|Legend has it that during the
century AD, Kaundinya, an Indian Brahman priest, following a dream came to Cambodias
Great Lake to find his fortune. He met and married a local princess, Soma,
daughter of the Naga king, and founded the first Kingdom called the Phnom,
introducing Hindu customs, legal traditions and the Sanskrit language. Modern historians
refer to it as Funan, the first Khmer Kingdom, and the oldest Indianized State in the
Southeast Asian region.
The Khmers who
inhabited the Tchenla Vassal State took Funan in the mid-sixth century, thus enabling the
rise of the Khmer Empire, which became a dominant power in the Southeast Asian region for
more than 600 years.
a Khmer King, united all the Khmer people under his leadership around the year 800 AD.
Establishing his capital in the northwestern part of Cambodia, north of the Tonle Sap
Great Lake, Jayavarman II was crowned as King of Kambuja and adopted the Hindu
Khmer Empire era, a long succession of strong leaders enabled the Khmer
Empire to flourish until the 15th century, with the zenith of its influence, might and
architectural splendor reached in the 12th century.
With a succession of capitals located in and
around Siem Reap province, the Khmer Kings exhibited an enormous talent for marshalling
the genius of their people.
The legacy of this more than half-millennia
imperial flourish included one of the most extensive concentration of religious temples
anywhere in the world, the Angkor Wat complex. With the temple complex, the largest
religious monument ever built as the most significant and world-renowned legacy of this
era, the Khmer Kings initiated a four-century long construction boom of magnificent and
unparalleled historic sites.