Publication details

Tonlé Sap – spálené srdce Kambodži. Ekologie, přírodní procesy a mytologie

Title in English Tonlé Sap – Burning heart of Cambodia. Ecology, natural processes and mythology
Authors

KUCHLEI Štěpán

Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Civilizace Asie a Afriky od starověku po současnost
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
WWW
Keywords Tonlé Sap Lake; Tonlé Sap River; Cambodia; Khmer mythology
Description In the ancient tradition of the Khmer Empire, on the third day of the Water festival, when the Moon was full, the Khmer king used to stand above the Tonlé Sap River in the country´s capital and loudly order the waters of the current to change its direction and flow back from the Great Lake, Tonlé Sap Lake, to join the waters of the Mekong River and head for the sea. The waters of the Tonlé Sap River, sooner or later, obliged the orders of the Cambodian king, whose title was no less than “the Master of the Universe”. Thus, once again, the supreme divinity of the king was confirmed to the general satisfaction of his subjects. If the current didn`t change its direction immediately, then it was certain to do so very soon afterwards. This natural phenomenon is a consequence of a number of coincidental causes: snow in the Himalayas stops melting; there is the end of the seasonal monsoon winds and rains in Southeast Asia; and the gravitational power of the Moon is at its highest. This all causes the level of the Mekong River to drop under the level of the Boeung Tonlé Sap (filled like a natural reservoir during the rainy season) – so it wasn´t very difficult for royal clerks to estimate when the river´s flow was going to be reversed and use it to strengthen the traditional authority of their king.
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