Hinduism and Southeast Asia (8/16/2011)

Postcard received from Joseph T.

I was looking at my collection of postcards when I noticed one from Bangkok with a picture of the 46 meter long reclining Buddha. My mother had visited a couple years back and commented on the huge influence of Hinduism in the country (the King's name is Rama). The cit Ayutthaya is named after the city of Ayodhya in India, which is the birthplace of Lord Rama from the epic Ramayana (which there is a Thai version titled Ramakien). 

Postcard received from Katie S.

I always found it fascinating how the migration of people spread ideas and changed the way people live. I was curious where this influence came from and that led me on a trail to discover that Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple before it became a Buddhist temple in the 13th century. Several Southeast Asian countries were introduced to Hinduism when several Indian (mostly South Indian) migrant workers moved to these countries. All this mixing and sharing of cultures has some great benefits like one my favorite dishes, Gobi Manchurian! In all seriousness, it's fascinating to learn that people weren't so isolated back in the day.