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  • 1 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:ExamplesfromThailandandSoutheastAsia

    VasuPoshyanandana

    PresentdayThailand is situatedon IndochinaPeninsula,at the centrepointofSoutheastAsia. In thepastwhen the landwasnotdivided into countries, itwas locatedby severalancienttownswhichdevelopedfromagriculturalvillageswhoseorigincouldbetracedbackto theNeolithicperiod. Those ancient townshaddeveloped andprospered from tradinglocal produce, namely, forest finds, spices and herbswhichwere abundant in the area.Tradebroughtaboutintercommunicationbetweenlocaltownsaswellasvisitsfromforeigncountries,even fromabasinofcivilizationsuchas India, fromwhichbeliefs,religionsandartswere imported alongwith business andmerchandise. Apart from Bhraminism, laterknownasHinduism,Buddhism,alsooriginated in India,was introduced into the land thatwascalled Suvannabhumiin thosedaysashasbeen recorded thatEmperorAshokahadsentBuddhistmonkstoSuvannabhumionreligiousmission.Contemporaneously,agraftoftheBodhitreefromBodhGayawasdeliveredtoSriLanka,thusinitiatingSriLankaasoneofthe prominent centres ofBuddhism and distinguishedBuddhist architecture had evolvedaccordingly. Architectural style from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has influenced that ofseveral trade towns and administration centres in SoutheastAsia,which, eventually,haddeveloped into Buddhist architectural heritage with distinctive styles according to eachspecificlocationasseeninThailandandneighbouringcountries.SeveralsitesofheritageasmentionedhavebeenapprovedoftheirOutstandingUniversalValuesandhavebeenlistedasWorldHeritage, for instance, Sukhothai andAssociated Towns andAyutthayaHistoricCity,whereagreatnumberofBuddhisttemplesclearlyindicatesitssignificanceascentreofBuddhism.InCambodiaandIndonesia,eminentBuddhiststructuresstillexist,for instance,BayonTempleofAngkorandBorobudur.Apartfromthese,othersitesinThailandwhicharenow in theTentativeListare :PhuphrabatHistoricalPark,Phimai,andmost recently, thesitetobenominatedinthenearfutureisWatPhraMahathatNakhonSiThammarat,whichis, apart from the architectural characteristics that evidently reflect the Indian and SriLankaninfluence,theplaceisasacredsite,acentrefaithwheretraditionalreligiousfestivalsarestillpracticedcontinuallyfromthepastuntiltoday.

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    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:OriginfromtheIndiansubcontinent(India/Pakistan/SriLanka)

    India

    - MahabodhiTempleComplexatBodhGaya - BuddhistMonumentsatSanchi - AjantaCaves

    MahabodhiTempleComplexatBodhGaya

    DateofInscription:2002Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3 rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6 th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

  • 3 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    BuddhistMonumentsatSanchi

    DateofInscription:1989Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    Onahilloverlooking theplainandabout40kmfromBhopal,thesiteofSanchicomprisesagroupof Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars,palaces,templesandmonasteries)allindifferentstatesofconservationmostofwhichdatebacktothe 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldestBuddhistsanctuary inexistenceandwasamajorBuddhistcentreinIndiauntilthe12thcenturyA.D.

    AjantaCaves

    DateofInscription:1983Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(vi)

    The first Buddhist cavemonuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.During theGuptaperiod (5th and6th centuriesA.D.),manymore richlydecorated caveswere added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, consideredmasterpiecesofBuddhistreligiousart,havehadaconsiderableartisticinfluence.

    ThestyleofAjantahasexertedaconsiderableinfluenceinIndiaandelsewhere,extending,inparticular, to Java.With its twogroupsofmonumentscorresponding to two importantmoments in Indianhistory, theAjanta caveensemblebearsexceptional testimony to theevolution of Indian art, aswell as to the determining role of the Buddhist community,intellectualandreligiousfoyers,schoolsandreceptioncentresintheIndiaoftheGuptaandtheirimmediatesuccessors.

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    Pakistan

    - Taxila - BuddhistRuinsofTakhtibahi

    Taxila

    DateofInscription:1980Criteria:(iii)(vi)

    FromtheancientNeolithictumulusofSaraikalatotherampartsofSirkap(2ndcenturyB.C.)andthecityofSirsukh(1stcenturyA.D.),TaxilaillustratesthedifferentstagesinthedevelopmentofacityontheIndusthatwasalternatelyinfluencedbyPersia,GreeceandCentralAsiaandwhich,fromthe5thcenturyB.C.tothe2ndcenturyA.D.,wasanimportantBuddhistcentreoflearning.

    Taxilareacheditsapogeebetweenthe1stand5thcenturiesAD.BuddhistmonumentswereerectedthroughouttheTaxilavalley,whichwastransformedintoareligiousheartlandandadestinationforpilgrimsfromasfarafieldasCentralAsiaandChina.

    BuddhistRuinsofTakhtibahi

    DateofInscription:1980Criteria:(iv)

    TheBuddhistmonasticcomplexofTakhtiBahiwasfounded in the early 1st century. Owing to itslocation on the crest of a high hill, it escapedsuccessive invasions and is still exceptionallywellpreserved.Thecomplex, themost impressiveandcompleteBuddhistmonastery inPakistan,consists

    of fourmaingroups: theCourtofStupas, themonasticcomplexwith residentialcells, thetemplewithamainstupa inthemiddleandthetantricmonasticcomplexwithaseriesofdarkcells.Theseruinsareamongthemostcharacteristicofthistypeofstructure.

  • 5 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    SriLanka

    - SacredCityofAnuradhapura - AncientCityofPolonnaruwa - SacredCityofKandy

    SacredCityofAnuradhapura

    DateofInscription:1982Criteria:(ii)(iii)(vi)

    This sacred city was established around acutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', theBodhi tree, brought there in the 3rd centuryB.C.bySanghamitta,thefounderofanorderofBuddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonesepolitical and religious capital, flourished for1,300 years. The city is one of the principalshrines of Buddhism. The relics of Siddhartahave, moreover, shaped the religious

    topographyofAnuradhapura,wherethebigstupa(DagabaThuparama)wasbuiltinthe3rdcentury BC to house the clavicle of Buddha, an important religious relic presented byAshoka.

    AncientCityofPolonnaruwa

    DateofInscription:1982Criteria:(i)(iii)(vi)

    Polonnaruwa was the second capital of SriLankaafterthedestructionofAnuradhapurain993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanicmonuments built by the Cholas, themonumental ruinsof the fabulous gardencitycreated by Parakramabahu I in the 12th

    century. It is also a shrine of Buddhism and of Sinhalese history. The tooth of the LordBuddha,aremarkablerelicplaced intheuniquestructurecalledVatadage,wasconsideredasthetalismanoftheSinhalesemonarchy.

    SacredCityofKandy

    DateofInscription:1988Criteria:(iv)(vi)

    This sacredBuddhist sitewas the lastcapitalof theSinhalakingswhosepatronageenabledtheDinahalaculturetoflourishformorethan2,500yearsuntiltheoccupationof Sri Lanka by theBritish in 1815. It isalso the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (thesacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous

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    pilgrimagesite.Afirsttemplewasbuilt in1603,destroyedbythePortuguese in1637,andrebuilt in1697.AsareferencetothegreatarchitectureofAnuradhapura,thefirsthistoriccapital, the present grander edificewas built upon a granite substructure. In addition tograniteawidevarietyofmaterialswereusedforthisextraordinarilyrichbuilding:limestone,marble,sculptedwood,terracotta,metalandivory.

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:ExamplesfromSoutheastAsia

    BorobudurTempleCompounds

    DateofInscription:1991Criteria:(i)(ii)(vi)

    ThisfamousBuddhisttemple,datingfromthe8thand9thcenturies,islocatedincentralJava.Itwasbuilt in three tiers: a pyramidal base with fiveconcentric square terraces, the trunk of a conewith three circular platforms and, at the top, amonumentalstupa.Thewallsandbalustradesaredecoratedwith fine low reliefs, covering a total

    surfaceareaof2,500m2.TheBorobudurTempleCompoundsconsistsofthreemonuments:namelytheBorobudurTempleandtwosmallertemplessituatuedtotheeastonastraightaxis to Borobudur. The two temples areMendut Temple,whose depiction of Buddha isrepresented by a formidable monolith accompanied by two Bodhisattvas, and PawonTemple,asmallertemplewhose innerspacedoesnotrevealwhichdeitymighthavebeenthe object of worship. Those three monuments represent phases in the attainment ofNirvana.

    Criterion (i): Borobudur Temple Compounds is a harmonious marriage of stupas, temple and mountain that is a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture and monumental arts.

    Criterion (ii): Borobudur Temple Compounds is an outstanding example of Indonesias art and architecture from between the early 8 th and late 9 th centuries that exerted considerable influence on an architectural revival between the mid-13th and early 16th centuries.

    Criterion (vi): Borobudur Temple Compounds is an exceptional reflection of a blending of the very central idea of indigenous ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.

  • 7 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    Angkor

    DateofInscription:1992 Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

    AngkorisoneofthemostimportantarchaeologicalsitesofSoutheastAsia.Itextendsoverapproximately400squarekilometresandconsistsofscoresoftemples,hydraulicstructuresaswellascommunicationroutes.ForseveralcenturiesAngkor,wasthecentreoftheKhmerKingdom.TemplessuchasAngkorWat,theBayon,PreahKhanandTaProhm,exemplarsofKhmerarchitecture,arecloselylinkedtotheirgeographicalcontextaswellasbeingimbuedwith symbolic significance. The architecture and layout of the successive capitals bearwitness to a high level of social order and rankingwithin the Khmer Empire. Angkor istherefore a major site exemplifying cultural, religious and symbolic values, as well ascontaininghigharchitectural,archaeologicalandartisticsignificance.

    Criterion (i): The Angkor complex represents the entire range of Khmer art from the 9th to the 14th centuries, and includes a number of indisputable artistic masterpieces (e.g. Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Banteay Srei).

    Criterion ( ii) : The influence of Khmer art as developed at Angkor was a profound one over much of Southeast Asia and played a fundamental role in its distinctive evolution.

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    Criterion ( iii) : The Khmer Empire of the 9th1 4th centuries encompassed much of Southeast Asia and played a formative role in the political and cultural development of the region. All that remains of that civilization is its rich heritage of cult structures in brick and stone.

    Criterion (iv): Khmer architecture evolved largely from that of the Indian sub-continent, from which it soon became clearly distinct as it developed its own special characteristics, some independently evolved and others acquired from neighboring cultural traditions. The result was a new artistic horizon in oriental art and architecture.

    IndianInfluencedBuddhistHeritage:ExamplesfromThailand

    HistoricTownofSukhothaiandAssociatedHistoricTowns

    DateofInscription:1991Criteria:(i)(iii)

    SukhothaiwasthecapitalofthefirstKingdomofSiaminthe13thand14thcenturies.Ithasa number of finemonuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture. The greatcivilizationwhichevolved intheKingdomofSukhothaiabsorbednumerous influencesandancientlocaltraditions;therapidassimilationofalltheseelementsforgedwhatisknownasthe'Sukhothaistyle'.Threeoldtownsweretheprincipalcentresofthekingdom:Sukhothai(the capital), Si Satchanalai (second royal residence), and Kamphaengphet. In theirarchitecture,builtfrombrickwithdecorationsinstuccoandwood,theyofferagreatvarietyandskilfulmixtureofelementsinspiredbytheSinghaleseorKhmers.

    (i)Themain sanctuaryofWatMahathat is in the shapeofa lotusbud,only found in theSukhothaiera.Therefore the lotusbud chedi is typically themainelementofa temple inSukhothaistyle.

    Sukhothai

    The historic town of Sukhothai liesapproximately12kilometres from themoderntown. The town was surrounded by rings ofearthenwalls,alargepartofwhichstillremainsuntil today. The principal monumentscomprise, for instance, Wat Mahathat, theroyaltemplesituatedinthecentreofthetownwith Sukhothais typical lotus bud stupa as

    principalstructureandminorstupaswhichcontainrelicsofSukhothaisroyalfamily;WatSiSawaiwith Khmerinfluenced style stupas ; and an impressive Buddha image atWat SiChum.Thesitehasbeenexcavatedandstudiedsincethemid20thcentury.

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    SiSatchanalai

    ThehistorictownofSiSatchanalai,famousfor itsceramics, isseparatedfromthemoderntown by the river Yom. Some of the most outstanding monuments among the 140monuments on the site are:Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo, impressivewith the lotusbud stylestupaandsevenrowsofminorstupas,erectedtohousetheashesoftheroyalfamilyandWat Changlom with the bellshaped stupa surrounded by elephant statues. Three kmsoutheastof the cityofSiSatchanalai liesanotherancinet town calledChaliang,which isbelievedtohaveexistedcirca13thcenturyAD.

    Kamphaengphet

    OutstandingstructuresintheKamphaengphethistoricsitearethearchaeologicalremainsofChakangrao,ancienttowntotheeastofthePingriverandAranyikarea,whichwastheareawhereagroupoftempleswerelocatedoutsidethetownwallsformonkswhoconcentratedmainlyonreligiouspractice,followingthetraditionofSukhothaiandSiSatchanalai.Structuresareusuallymadeofbiglateriteblocks,forexample,themonolithcolumnsatWatPhraNon.ThedistinguishedSukhothaistylearchitecturefoundinKamphaengphetisthe Mandapa forFourPosturedBuddhaImages,orMondopPhraSiIriyaboth,inwhichfourBuddhaimagesindifferentposture,standing,walking,seated,andrecliningareenshrined.

  • 10 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    HistoricCityofAyutthaya

    DateofInscription:1991Criteria:(iii)

    Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became thesecondSiamesecapitalafterSukhothai.ItwasdestroyedbytheBurmeseinthe18thcentury.Its remains, characterized by the Prang(reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries,giveanideaofitspastsplendour.

    Ayutthaya was a center of economics andtradeattheregionalandgloballevels,andanimportantconnectingpointbetweentheEastandtheWest.TheRoyalCourtofAyutthayaexchanged ambassadors far and wide,

    includingwiththeFrenchCourtatVersaillesandtheMughalCourtinDelhi,aswellaswithimperialcourtsofJapanandChina.

    The large palaces, the Buddhist temples andmonasteries constructed in the capital, forexampleatWatRachaburanaandWatPhraSiSanphet,aretestimonytoboththeeconomicvitality and to the appeal of the intellectual tradition they embodied. All buildingswereelegantlydecoratedwiththehighestqualityofcraftsandmuralpaintings,whichconsistedofaneclecticmixtureoftraditionalstylessurvivingfromSukhothai,inheritedfromAngkor,

  • 11 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    andborrowedfromthe17thand18thcenturyartstylesofChina,India,PersiaandEurope,creatingarichanduniqueexpressionofacosmopolitancultureand layingthe foundationfor the fusion of styles of art and architecture popular throughout the succeedingRattanakosin(Bangkok)Era.

    Criterion (iii): The Historic City of Ayutthaya bears excellent witness to the period of development of a true national Thai art.

    PhuphrabatHistoricalPark

    Criteria:(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    DesignatedasPhuphrabatHistoricalPark,thesite isthe landscapeofawoodedsandstonehill adornedwith patches of huge bare rocks in spectacular overhanging positions, somebalanced on pedestals of oddity. The scenic Phuphrabat associative cultural landscape isuniqueinthatthissinglesitecontainsculturaltreasuresthatrepresentculturesofdifferentperiodsoftheregionSoutheastAsia.Alltogether,thesiteincorporatesseparate68culturallocations,most ofwhich contain rock paintings of the prehistoric period aswell as thestylised, religious iconsandboundary stones (sema)of theBuddhist culturalperiods.Theiconic representing theearliestBuddhistDhvaravadi civilisationaswellas theKhmerandLanchangcultures.ItissignificantthatbothDhvaravadiandKhmerimagescarriedthenativecharacteristicstypicaloftheLaotrait,whichfinallydevelopedandestablisheditselfaswhatisknownastheLanchangBuddhistculture.

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    Moreover,therearealsothreesymbolicfootprintsofLordBuddhaofcarvedstonewhichwasenshrinedinthestupaof Lanchang art style. It is for this reason that thehill isknownas"Phuphrabat",whichmeanstheHillofBuddha'sFootprints.AllthisaddedtotheuniquenessofPhuphrabatandharmonisedwith itsoverallcultural landscapeand itssignificanceasasacredandceremonialplace.

    Inadditiontothisassociativephysicalconnectionbetweennature and culture, an old Lao folklore had also addedanother cultural dimension to the cultural context ofPhuphrabat and the associated groups of wondrousformationsof the rocks.Their individual imaginationhadbeenascribedtoandnamedafterthemythical figuresofthe UsaBaros dramatic folklore of ancient Vientiane's

    origin.

    Phimai,itsCulturalRouteandtheAssociatedTemplesofPhanomroongandMuangtam

    Criteria:(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

    Phimai or Vimayapura is a large rectangular ancient Khmer city, lying 260 kilometresnorthwestofAngkor.PrasatPhimaiwastheMahayanaBuddhistsanctuarysituatedatthecentreof thecity.Phimai, togetherwith thecultural routeand theassociated templesofPhanomrung andMuangtam are among the finest Khmermonuments and constitute atestimony to the civilisation, prosperity, and the power of the Khmer Empire at its peakduringMahidharapura dynasty founded by JayavarmanVIwho built Phimai temple andlaterbecamethekingofAngkor.SuryavarmanIIwhobuiltAngkorWatandJayavarmanVIIofAngkorThomalsobelongtothisdynasty.

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    From Pimai the ancient route stretched Southeast , leading to the pass across PhnomDangrekmountain range. In the time of the Khmer Empire, travellers and pilgrims whotravelledbythisroute,whichconnectedAngkortoPhimai,hadattheirdisposalresthouses(Dhammasala)which are setup at various locations along the route, aswell ashospitals(Arogyasala).TheremainsoftheseresthousesandhospitalsdistinguishPhimaiasauniqueculturalroute,coveringadistanceof150kilometresapproximately.

    ThestatuaryofPhimaiclearlyindicatesthatitwasbuiltasaMahayanaBuddhistsanctuary.ItissignificanttonotethatotherKhmertemplesbelongingtothesameera,suchasAngkorWat, Phanomrung or Muang tam, all were built as Hindu temples, thus the Buddhistsanctuary of Phimai is a unique exception. Apart from the Buddhist temple of Bayon inCambodia, Phimai has duly been recognised as the most important fullfledged KhmerBuddhistsanctuarybyJayavaramanVII.

    Phanomrungtempleismagnificent,standingontopofanextinctvolcanoanddominatesthehistoricvillagewhereMuangtamtempleissituatedinthemiddle.

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    WatPhraMahathatNakhonSiThammaratCriteria:(i)(ii)(vi)

    Wat Phra Mahathat Nakhon Si Thammarat is the main Buddhist temple of Nakhon SiThammarathistoriccity,thelargestprovinceinSouthernThailand.AccordingtotheNakhonSiThammaratsChronicle, theMainstupaof the temple,calledPhraBorommathatChedi,literally, theGreatNoble Relics Stupa,was built prior to other religious buildings in thetemplebyKingSriDhammasokaraja in theearly13thcenturyCE. inorder toestablish theTheravadaBuddhistsymbolonhislandandtoverifythebeliefofhispeopleonthepresenceoftheBuddhasrelicswhichshouldbehoused inthestupa.TheGreatNobleRelicsStupa,regarded as themost important building of the temple, is a gigantic bellshaped stupainspired by Sri Lankan Buddhist architecture reflecting the belief on the transmission ofEmperor AshokastraditionofstupafromIndiatoSriLanka.

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    After establishing themain stupa and other religious edifices of the temple, Nakhon SiThammaratbecametheimportantcentreofTheravadaBuddhism,bothinthereligiousandart aspects . Nakhon Si Thammarat had also a strong influence on Sukhothai Kingdomregarding Theravada Buddhism as well as the architectural style of the stupas. Thesacrednessandsignificanceof theBuddhas relicsbelieved tohavebeenenshrined in thestupahasmadetheplacean importantplaceofworshipandpilgrimagesitesinceancienttimes.

    Nowadays,thetemple isstillacentreofBuddhisttraditionsbecauseofthecontinuityofaspecialworshipfestivalHaePhaKhuenThat,carryingPhraBot,theBuddhistpaintedrobetowraparound thebellshapedbodyof thestupa.The longprocessionofpeopleholdingthe incredibly longyellowrobes isoneofthemostspectacularandunique livingreligiousactivitiesoftheworld.

    Conclusion

    As seen from various examples, theOutstandingUniversalValue of BuddhistHeritage inSoutheastAsiacanbesummarizedasfollows:

    (i) Human creative genius: originated from the adoption of foreign influences viareligiousmission, fromwhich distinguished styles evolved based on each specificcultural identity, aswell as great faith inBuddhism that inspired the art creation,whichwasconsideredaformofmeritmakinganddedicationtoBuddhism.

    (ii) Interchange of culture: which should include both the giver and adopter.Communications and contacts which have been going on since ancient timesbetween various places in the regionmust have naturally brought about culturalinterchanges in the aspects of religion, art, architecture, or intangible culturalheritage such as traditional practices and beliefs, thus both sides influenced eachotherratherthanonesidebeingaprototypefortheother.

    (iii) Ancientlandsorkingdoms,althoughsituatedinthesameregionorinclosevicinity,havingthesamereligiousbelief,couldhaveculturaldifferenceswhichhavemanifestedinculturalheritageofvariousidentitiesandstyles,eachstyle

  • 16 37THICOMOSTHAILANDMEMBERGETTOGETHER17.11.2012

    representingeachgroupofpeopleandeachdateofcreation.Thisisthetestimonyofculturaldiversity.

    (iv) Buddhist architectural heritage of different periods and cultures has its ownuniquenessand identity, fromwhichexamplesofarchitecturalmasterpieces couldbedistinguishedasimportantrepresentativesofvariousarchitecturalstyles.

    (v) The relationshipbetween the templeand the community isapparent through thecharacteristics of settlement. Religious place is spiritual centre,which could havecertain administrative or political implications, for instance, the temple that issituatedinthecentreofurbancommunity,orthetemplewhichissituatedfarawayon the mountain amongst natural setting, emphasizing sacredness in terms ofculturallandscape.

    (vi) Everysite isrelatabletothehistoryofBuddhistpropagation indifferentperiodsoftime.