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Hinduism in Southeast Asia

Hinduism in Southeast Asia influenced the Champa kingdom in Vietnam, the Srivijayan kingdom on Sumatra, the Singhasari kingdom and the Majapahit Empire based in Java, Bali, and a number of the islands of the Philippine archipelago. The civilization of India influenced the languages, scripts, calendars, and artistic aspects of these peoples and nations. To quote from the Wikipedia article on India, the civilizing influence of "abstract qualities such as hospitality, family values, acceptance and toleration of differences, resilience and co-existence" somewhat moderates other aspects of the human condition.

Table of contents
1 Earliest known times
2 Dvaravati period
3 Seafaring Peoples
4 Java
5 Sumatra
6 Bali
7 The Philippines

Earliest known times

Indian scholars wrote about the Dvipantara or Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra around 200 BC.

The Taruma kingdom occupied West Jawa around 400. Buddhist influence about 425.

Dvaravati period

Other Indic influences, such as Theravada Buddhism, held sway during the Dvaravati period (6th to 11th century), which survive in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, and Thailand.

Seafaring Peoples

These peoples engaged in extensive trade, which attracted the attention of the Mongols, Chinese and Japanese, as well as Islamicic traders, who reached the Aceh area of Sumatra in the 1100s.


The Singhasari kingdom fell to the Majapahit who allied with Mongols
1293 to defeat the Singhasari. The Majapahit then turned on the Kublai Khan's forces and drove them out. This established Majapahit hegemony over Java.


The last prince of the
Srivijayan kingdom of Sumatra, after the loss to the Majapahit, converted to Islam in 1414, and founded the Sultanate of Malacca on the Straits of Malacca between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. As the Portugese came to trade for spices, they began to ally with the Islamic powers, which did not help the Majapahit.


The last Hindu court eventually retreated from Java to
Bali about 1500. The 1% of Indonesians who are Hindu today remain largely on Bali.

The Philippines

Until the arrival of an Arab trader to
Sulu 1450 and Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed in behalf of Spain 1521, the chiefs of many Philippine islands were called Rajahs, and the script was derived from Brahmi. Even today, the Tagalog (Filipino) word for teacher is guru.

In the archipelago that was to become the Philippines, the idols of the Hindu gods were hidden to prevent their destruction by a religion which destroyed all idols. One idol, a 4-pound gold statue of a Indo-Malayan goddess was found in Mindanao in 1917, which now sits in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and is dated from the period 1200s to early 1300s. Another gold artifact of Garuda, the phoenix who is the mount of Vishnu was found on Palawan.