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See Dvaraka for the Yadava capital of the Mahabharata.
Territory of Dvaravati
Mon Wheel of the Law (Dharmacakra), art of Dvaravati period, c. 8th century.
Buddha, art of Dvaravati period, c.9th century
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The Dvaravati (Thai: ทวารวดี, rtgsThawarawadi) period lasted from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Dvaravati refers to both a culture and a disparate conglomerate of principalities.


The Mon Kingdom of Dvaravati, which may or may not have existed in the fifth and sixth centuries, was controlling at least in the seventh century the Buddhist sites of Phra Pathom and Phong Tuk;[1] legends engraved in on royal urns report the following kings: Suryavikrama (673-688), Harivikrama (688-695), Sihavikrama (695-718).[2] A Kmher inscription dated 937 documents a line of princes of Chanasapura started by a Bhagadatta and ended by a Sundaravarman and his sons Narapatisimhavarman and Mangalavarman.[3] But at that time, the 10th century, Dvaravati began to come under the influence of the Khmer Empire and central Thailand was ultimately invaded by King Suryavarman II in the first half of the 12th century.[4] Hariphunchai survived its southern progenitors until the late 13th century AD when it was incorporated in the Lanna Kingdom.[5] The people of the region used the Mon language, but whether they were Mon people is unknown. There is evidence that these principalities may comprise many cultural groups of people, including Malays and Khmer people. The theory of Thai migration into Dvaravati has been refuted and is now known to have happened much later.

The term Dvaravati derives from coins which were inscribed in Sanskrit śrī dvāravatī. The Sanskrit word dvāravatī means "she with many gates" (from dvar "door gate"). Its name may derive from the city of Dvārakā in ancient India.

Little is known about the administration of Dvaravati. It might simply have been a loose gathering of chiefdoms rather than a centralised state, expanding from the coastal area of the upper peninsula to the riverine region of Chao Phraya River. Hinduism and Buddhism were significant. The main settlements appear to have been at Nakhon Pathom, U Thong and Khu Bua west of the Chao Phraya. Other towns like Lavo (modern-day Lopburi) or Si Thep were also clearly influenced by the Dvaravati culture but probably were not part of the Dvaravati state.

The traditional chronology of Dvaravati is mainly based on the Chinese textual account and stylistic comparison by art historians. However,the results from excavations in Chansen and Tha Muang mound at U-Thong do not support the traditional dating. Newly dated typical Dvaravati cultural items from the site of U-Tong indicate that the starting point of the tradition of Dvaravati culture can be pushed back to 200 CE and lasted until 600 CE. Thus a tradition of "Early" or"Proto-Dvaravati culture" might have been established during this period.[6]


Dvaravati itself was heavily influenced by Indian culture, and played an important role in introducing Buddhism and particularly Buddhist art to the region.


  1. ^ Coedés 1968, p. 63
  2. ^ Coedés 1968, p. 86
  3. ^ Coedés 1968, p. 122
  4. ^ "The Mon-Dvaravati Tradition of Early North-Central Thailand". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  5. ^ David K. Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo. The Chiang Mai Chronicle, p.33
  6. ^ Glover, I. (2011). The Dvaravati Gap-Linking Prehistory and History in Early Thailand. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, 30, 79-86.


  • G. Coedès (1968), The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Robert L. The Dvaravati Wheels of the Law and the Indianization of South East Asia. Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology, Vol. 18, Fontein, Jan, ed. Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1996.
  • Elizabeth Lyons, “Dvaravati, a Consideration of its Formative Period”, R. B. Smith and W. Watson (eds.), Early South East Asia: Essays in Archaeology, History and Historical Geography, Oxford University Press, New York, 1979, pp.352-359.
  • Saraya, Dhida. (Sri) Dvaravati, Bangkok: Muang Boran, 1999, ISBN 974-7381-34-6
  • Swearer, Donald K. and Sommai Premchit. The Legend of Queen Cama: Bodhiramsi's Camadevivamsa, a Translation and Commentary. New York: State University of New York Press, 1998. ISBN 0-7914-3776-0
  • สุรพล ดำริห์กุล, ประวัติศาสตร์และศิลปะหริภุญไชย, กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์เมืองโบราณ, 2004, ISBN 974-7383-61-6

External links[edit]

Media related to Dvaravati at Wikimedia Commons