Influence of Ramayana in Laos

Discussion in 'Ramayana' started by garry420, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    The Laotian version of Ramayana, called “Palak Palang,” is the most favorite theme of the dancers of Laos. The National School for Music and Dance, in this communist country, teaches the Ramayana ballet in the Laotian style. Several Buddhist monasteries and stupas of Laos have sculptures depicting Ramayana in stone as well as in wood panels. There is a perceptible Hindu-Buddhist syncretism in that entire region. There are sculptures of Rama and Krishna and other avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu in the Shiva temple at Wat Phu Champasak in southern Laos, which has been declared a World Heritage Centre by UNESCO.

    Interestingly enough, Lao narratives have much in common with Malay traditions in spite of their ethnic and linguistic differences and the geographic distance between them. Perhaps this may be due to the ancient Cambodian Hindu kingdoms that once encompassed these diverse areas. Subsequent Thai and Vietnamese attacks by land against the Khmer center led to the loss of traditions in the fertile plains, but not in the further reaches of the empire in the remote mountainous interior and distant coasts of the peninsula. The epic takes place mostly in Laos with boat journeys along the Mekong River, a reflection of the geography and isolation in this land-locked country. As in most Asian countries, the origins of local place names are based on events in the story. Rama is considered to be a previous incarnation of Buddha in Laos, just as he is in Cambodia and Thailand. Female characters are very strong and even become strong warriors in Guay Duorahbi that may date from the 15th or 16th century, which is reflected in the independent character of Lao women today. Pha Lak Pha Lam from the 19th century involves the abduction of two women by Ravana, which accounts for its considerable length. A unique addition is a magical flying and talking horse, a motif found in a more basic form in some Malay stories. Hanuman also is the son of Rama as in Malaysia. Dream sequences frequently appear in both Lao and Thai tradition.

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