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In Vietnam’s Shiva Linga discovery, more validation of a ‘Farther India’ past

In 2011, when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) embarked upon the task of restoring portions of My Son, a cluster of ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Quảng Nam province of central Vietnam, the reasoning was two-fold. One was to show solidarity with Vietnam that had lost out on large portions of the temple complex during the US bombing raid of 1969. More importantly, though, help from India was deemed valuable for the restoration of a site that is noted to be an exceptional example of cultural exchange, and one that introduced Hindu architecture to Southeast Asia more than a thousand years ago.

Therefore, last week when a four-member restoration team of the ASI discovered an 1100-year-old monolithic sandstone shiva lingam, a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva, it was seen as a moment of great pride by India. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar announced the discovery on Twitter saying it reaffirmed a ‘civilisational connect’ between India and Vietnam and is a ‘great cultural example of India’s development partnership’.

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