Monday, May 31, 2010

The Land of Langkasuka

The Land of Langkasuka
Langkasuka was a kingdom located in the region of modern Pattani in southern Thailand during the thirteenth and fourteen centuries CE as well as the name given to a series of states on the Malay Peninsula dating from the early first Millennium.

The country of Langkasuka is first mentioned under the name Lang-ya-hsiu, in the record of an embassy sent to China in 515 CE.

This record has survived in some detail. Lang-ya-hsiu’s territory was described as being a thirty day’s journey from east to west and twenty days from north to south.

Both men and women were described as wearing only a sarong, with nothing on the upper part of the body, although the king and senior official covered their shoulders with cloth and wore gold rings and belts of gold cord.

Women of high status would also wrap themselves on cotton cloth and wear jeweled girdles about their bodies.

The city of Lang-ya-hsiu was descried as being enclosed by walls, with double gates, towers and pavilions.

The king would ride on an elephant, shaded by a white parasol and fly whisk and he was accompanied by lags, banners and drums. The soldiers of his guards are well appointed.

Further embassies from this Kingdom of Lang ya-hsiu to China were recorded in 523, 531, and 568, but no were mentioned after the last date.

I-Ching described Lang-chia-shu as lying southeast of “Shi-li-ch’a-ta-lo” (the city of Srikshetra in the central Irrawaddy Valley of Myanmar and west of “Tu-ho-po-ti” (the kingdom or city of Dvaravati in Central Thailand.

During the early eleventh century, the Malay Peninsula was raided by the Cola dynasty of southern India and in an inscription of King Rajendrachoha at Tanjore dated to 1030-1031 CE, Langkasuka is named among the list of conquests in the Malay Peninsula under the name Ilangashoka.

Excavations have reveled a brick structure near the former site of Langkasuka. One appears to have been a Buddhist sanctuary in The Indian styles.

Votive tablets with inscription indicate an occupation from the the late 6th to 8th century.

From the records that Langkasuka was a popular stopping place for Chinese Buddhist pilgrims on their way to India.
The Land of Langkasuka
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