Relations between India and Cambodia goes back to ancient times. India's influence in Cambodia is visible from the Tamil Hindu-style temples of Angkor Wat to written Khmer, which is a derivative of Sanskrit and Tamil script from South India. Tamil Pandya King Sri Maran established a Hindu empire in Cambodia in 2nd century AD. His name is in a Sanskrit inscription in Cambodia.
The first Indians in modern times to settle in Cambodia arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. Primarily coming from the northern province of Punjab, they worked as jewellers, moneylenders and traders around Central Market, but they left the country once the Khmer Rouge arrived. The Indians returned to Cambodia when Pol Pot’s regime collapsed.
Today, many Indians in Cambodia are involved in pharmaceuticals, the United Nations and businesses such as restaurants. The growing economy is also attracting more opportunity seekers from India. Unlike other Indian communities in Southeast Asia such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, the Indian population in Phnom Penh is too small to support a Little India quarter, but it remains an intimate and close-knit group that has integrated well into local society.
Indian culture is visible in Cambodia. Indian Hindu festivals like Diwali and Holi are celebrated by the Indian community. Thanks to satellite television, popular Hindi soap operas are shown daily while a small selection of Indian restaurants hosts weekly showings of the latest Bollywood Hindi films as well as cricket matches. Hindi film DVDs can be bought throughout the capital, and expatriates can peruse a number of Indian-based websites for the latest news and entertainment.