So there’s a story which is very common in the inscriptions of Cambodia, Vietnam and so on, much later the Ankor and Charme empires rose but the story goes somewhat like this- There was an Indian Brahmin called Kaundinya who was sailing past the coast of what is now Southern Vietnam and Southern Cambodia, in the Mekong area and he was attacked, he was in the ship, he was sailing past with his bunch of traders and he was attacked by these pirates and he being a hero chap, he fought off the  pirates and drove them away. Unfortunately, what happened is that the ship was leaking as a result of this and he and his crew had to take it onto the shore and in order to try and repair it.

So when they were doing this, the local tribe, (which) they were the snake clan, decided that they would (they would) attack them. So evidently, they were surrounded and yet again Kaundinya, being a brave lad took out his sword and was defending himself. When the princess of the snake clan saw him and fell in love, her name, there are many names according to different traditions, but one of the names that is often used is-Soma, so Soma- the moon faced one, saw him and fell in love and proposed marriage to him and so Kaundinya I suppose, he didn’t have too much of a choice, but he married her and started a dynasty, which led ultimately to the foundation of these great, much much later, to the great Ankor and the Khmer civilization and of course the Charme civilization in Southern Vietnam.

What is fascinating about it also is, most of these lineages were matrilineal, not matriarchal. They trace their lineage through their female line, which is also reasonable because after all Kaundinya’s rise to, claim to royalty was through his wife and it’s quite interesting, this kind of continues to be remembered (through) for the next thousand years plus, because you can clearly see that many of the kings come to power, both in the Khmer and the Charme through the female line. So this remains embedded and this story then becomes the sort of the key myth on which the much of Southeast Asian culture is built. It is matrilineal, but also the iconography of the snake.

So, and you see that everywhere, so in Northern Malaysia, you have a major site (called) in the  Bujang Valley, in a place what was the kingdom of Kadaram. Now think about this it’s called the Bujang valley, Bujang means snake, snake valley and this term comes up everywhere. Later on, much much later when the Cholas would create ports to trade with Southeast Asia, what would be the port be called? It would be called Nagapattinam.