Dvaravati Kingdom
6th–11th century
The Dvaravati Kingdom and contemporary Asian polities, circa 800.
Spread of Dvaravati Culture and Mon Dvaravati sites.
Mon Wheel of the Law (Dharmacakra), art of Dvaravati period, c. 8th century CE.
Buddha, art of Dvaravati period, c. 8th-9th century CE.
Bronze double denarius of the Gallic Roman emperor Victorinus (269-271 AD) found at U Thong, Thailand.
Khao Khlang Nai was a Buddhist sanctuary. The central stupa, rectangular in shape and oriented toward the east, is characteristic of dvaravati architectural style, dated back around 6th-7th century CE.
Khao Khlang Nok, was an ancient Dvaravati-style stupa in Si Thep, dated back around 8th-9th century CE, at present, it is large laterite base.
Buddhism, Hinduism
Historical era6th-11th century
• Established
• Disestablished
11th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mon city-states
Thailand, Ku Bua, (Dvaravati culture), 650-700 C.E.. Three musicians in right are playing (from center) a 5-stringed lute, cymbals, a tube zither or bar zither with a gourd resonator.

Dvaravati (Thai: ทวารวดี) was an ancient Mon political principality from the 6th century to the 11th century, located in the region now known as central Thailand,[3][4]: 234  and was speculated to be a succeeding state of Lang-chia or Lang-ya-hsiu (หลังยะสิ่ว).[5]: 268–270, 281  It was described by Chinese pilgrims in the middle of the 7th century as a Buddhist kingdom named To-lo-po-ti situated to the west of Isanapura (Cambodia), to the east of Sri Ksetra (Burma),[6]: 76 [7]: 37  and adjoined Pan Pan in the South.[5]: 267, 269  Its northern border met Chia-lo-she-fo, which was speculated to be either Kalasapura, situated along the coast of the Bay of Bengal somewhere between Tavoy and Rangoon,[8]: 108  or Canasapura in modern northeast Thailand.[9] Dvaravati sent the first embassy to the Chinese court in around 605–616.[5]: 264 

Dvaravati also refers to a culture, an art style, and a disparate conglomeration of principalities of Mon people. Archaeological research over the past two decades or so has revealed the presence of a "Proto-Dvaravati" period which spans the 4th to 5th centuries, and perhaps earlier.[2]

Dvaravati lost its importance after the rise of the Angkor in the lower Mekong basin around the 11th–13th centuries. In the 14th century, one of its main principalities, Si Thep, was almost left abandoned, while the remaining was split into the city-state confederation of Suphannabhumi in the west and the Lavo Kingdom in the east. However, a new kingdom, Ayutthaya, was subsequently founded southward on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in 1351, as the succeeded state,[1] as its capital's full name referred to the Kingdom of Dvaravati; Krung Thep Dvaravati Si Ayutthaya (Thai: กรุงเทพทวารวดีศรีอยุธยา).[10][11][12][13] All former Dvaravati principalities, Lavo, the northern cities of the Sukhothai Kingdom, and Suphannabhumi, was later incorporated to the Ayutthaya Kingdom in 1388, 1438, and the mid-15 century, respectively.[14]: 274 

According to an inscription on a bronze gun acquired by the Burmese in 1767, when Ayuthia, Siam's capital at the time, fell to an invading Burmese force, the Burmese still referred to Ayutthaya as Dvaravati.[15] Several genetic studies published in the 2020s also founded the relations between the Mon people and Siamese people (Central Thai people) who were the descendants of the Ayutthaya.[16][17]


The culture of Dvaravati was based around moated cities, the earliest of which appears to be U Thong in what is now Suphan Buri Province. Other key sites include Nakhon Pathom, Phong Tuk, Si Thep, Khu Bua and Si Mahosot, amongst others.[2] Legends engraved on royal urns report the following kings: Suryavikrama (673-688), Harivikrama (688-695), Sihavikrama (695-718).[6]: 86  A Khmer inscription dated 937 documents a line of princes of Canasapura started by a Bhagadatta and ended by a Sundaravarman and his sons Narapatisimhavarman and Mangalavarman.[6]: 122  But at that time, the 12th century, Dvaravati began to come under constant attacks and aggressions of the Khmer Empire and central Southeast Asia was ultimately invaded by King Suryavarman II in the first half of the 12th century.[18] Hariphunchai survived its southern progenitors until the late 13th century, when it was incorporated into Lan Na.[19]

The term Dvaravati derives from coins which were inscribed in Sanskrit śrī dvāravatī. The Sanskrit word dvāravatī literally means "that which has gates".[20]: 301 

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 Chan Sen and Tha Muang mound at U-Thong raise questions about the traditional dating. Newly dated typical Dvaravati cultural items from the site of U-Thong indicate that the starting point of the tradition of Dvaravati culture possibly dates as far back as 200 CE.[21][2] Archaeological, art historical, and epigraphic (inscriptions) evidence all indicate, however, that the main period of Dvaravati spanned the seventh to ninth centuries.[2] Dvaravati culture and influence also spread into Isan and parts of lowland Laos from the sixth century onward. Key sites include Mueang Fa Daet in Kalasin Province, Sema [th] in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, and many others.[22][23]


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 three largest settlements appear to have been at Nakhon Pathom, Suphanburi, and Praak Sriracha, with additional centers at U Thong, Chansen, Khu Bua, Pong Tuk, Mueang Phra Rot, Lopburi, Si Mahosot, Kamphaeng Saen, Dong Lakhon, U-Taphao, Ban Khu Mueang, and Si Thep.[20]: 303–312 


The excavation in several sites found silver coins dated the 7th century that mentioned the king and queen of the kingdom written in Sanskrit with Pallava script: śrīdvaravatīsvarapunya (King Sridvaravati, who has great merit) and śrīdvaravatīsvaradevīpuṇya (the goddess of the meritorious King Dvaravati).[24] In addition, the copper plate dating from the 6th–mid 7th centuries found at U Thong also mentions King Harshavarman (หรรษวรมัน), who was assumed by Jean Boisselier to be one of the kings of Dvaravati, while George Cœdès considered the plate was brought from the Khmer Empire, and the name mentioned might be the Khmer king as well.[25] However, the periods seem unrelated since King Harshavarman I of Khmer reigned from 910–923, 200 years later than the age of the inscription,[26][27] and Harshavarman I's grandfather was Indravarman I,[28][29][30] not Isanavarman as the inscription mentioned.[25]

Moreover, the inscription found in Ban Wang Pai, Phetchabun province (K. 978), dated 550 CE, also mentions the enthronement of the Dvaravati ruler, who was also a son of Prathivindravarman, father of Bhavavarman I of Chenla, which shows the royal lineage relation between Dvaravati and Chenla. However, the name of such a king was missing.[31] The other king was mentioned in the Nern Phra Ngam inscription, found in Nakhon Pathom province, dated mid 5th – mid 6th centuries CE but the name was missing as well.[32]

The following is a list of rulers of Dvaravati.

Order Name Reign Note Ref.
Romanized Thai
Rulers before Chakravantin's reign are still unknown.
01 Chakravantin จักรวรรติน Unknown Also father of Prathivindravarman [31]
02 Prathivindravarman ปฤถิวีนทรวรมัน ?–550 Also father of Bhavavarman I of Chenla [31]
03 Unknown 550–? Son of Prathivindravarman [31]
04 Unknown c. 6th century [32]
05 Isanavarman อีสานวรมัน c. late 6th century [25]
06 Harshavarman หรรษวรมัน c. late 6th–mid 7th centuries Unrelated to the Ankorian king, Harshavarman I [25]
07 Suryavikrama 673–688 [6]: 86 
08 Harivikrama 688-695 [6]: 86 
09 Sihavikrama 695-718 [6]: 86 
Rulers between 718 to 949 are still unknown
10 Vap Upendra วาป อุเปนทร 949-? Ancestor of Rajendravarman II of Ankor [32]


Dvaravati itself was heavily influenced by Indian culture, and played an important role in introducing Buddhism and particularly Buddhist art to the region. Stucco motifs on the religious monuments include garudas, makaras, and Nāgas. Additionally, groups of musicians have been portrayed with their instruments, prisoners, females with their attendants, soldiers indicative of social life. Votive tablets have also been found, also moulds for tin amulets, pottery, terracotta trays, and a bronze chandelier, earrings, bells and cymbals.[20]: 306–308 


  1. ^ a b "หลักฐานฟ้อง! ทำไมจึงเชื่อได้ว่า "ศรีเทพ" คือศูนย์กลางทวารวดี". www.silpa-mag.com (in Thai). 13 December 2023. Archived from the original on 14 December 2023. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Murphy, Stephen A. (October 2016). "The case for proto-Dvāravatī: A review of the art historical and archaeological evidence". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 47 (3): 366–392. doi:10.1017/s0022463416000242. ISSN 0022-4634. S2CID 163844418.
  3. ^ Stanley J. O'Connor (1970). "Dvāravatī: The Earliest Kingdom of Siam (6th to 11th Century A.D.)". The Journal of Asian Studies. 29 (2). Duke University Press. Archived from the original on 28 April 2024.
  4. ^ Grant Evans (2014). "The Ai-Lao and Nan Chao/Tali Kingdom: A Re-orientation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2023. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b c Lawrence Palmer Briggs (1950). "The Khmer Empire and the Malay Peninsula". The Far Eastern Quarterly. 9 (3). Duke University Press: 256–305. doi:10.2307/2049556. Archived from the original on 26 April 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. Honolulu. ISBN 0-7081-0140-2. OCLC 961876784.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ Indrawooth, Phasook. Dvaravati: Early Buddhist Kingdom in Central Thailand (PDF).
  8. ^ Pamela Gutman (2002). "The Martaban Trade: An Examination of the Literature from the Seventh Century until the Eighteenth Century". Asian Perspectives. 40 (1). University of Hawaiʻi Press. Archived from the original on 2 October 2023. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  9. ^ ศิริพจน์ เหล่ามานะเจริญ (4 February 2022). "ทวารวดี ในบันทึกของจีน". Matichon (in Thai). Archived from the original on 28 April 2024. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  10. ^ Boeles, J.J. (1964). "The King of Sri Dvaravati and His Regalia" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. 52 (1): 102–103. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  11. ^ Pongsripian, Winai (1983). Traditional Thai historiography and its nineteenth century decline (PDF) (PhD). University of Bristol. p. 21. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  12. ^ Blagden, C.O. (1941). "A XVIIth Century Malay Cannon in London". Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 19 (1): 122–124. JSTOR 41559979. Retrieved 13 April 2023. TA-HTAUNG TA_YA HNIT-HSE SHIT-KHU DWARAWATI THEIN YA - 1128 year (= 1766 A.D) obtained at the conquest of Dwarawati (= Siam). One may note that in that year the Burmese invaded Siam and captured Ayutthaya, the capital, in 1767.
  13. ^ JARUDHIRANART, Jaroonsak (2017). THE INTERPRETATION OF SI SATCHANALAI (Thesis). Silpakorn University. p. 31. Retrieved 13 April 2023. Ayutthaya, they still named the kingdom after its former kingdom as "Krung Thep Dvaravati Sri Ayutthaya".
  14. ^ ฉันทัส เพียรธรรม (2017). "Synthesis of Suphannabhume historical Knowledge in Suphanburi Province by Participatory Process" (PDF) (in Thai). Nakhon Ratchasima College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  15. ^ "Bronze Gun - 12-pounder bronze Siamese - about early 18th century". Royal Armouries. Archived from the original on 20 February 2024. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  16. ^ Kutanan, Wibhu; Liu, Dang; Kampuansai, Jatupol; Srikummool, Metawee; Srithawong, Suparat; Shoocongdej, Rasmi; Sangkhano, Sukrit; Ruangchai, Sukhum; Pittayaporn, Pittayawat; Arias, Leonardo; Stoneking, Mark (2021). "Reconstructing the Human Genetic History of Mainland Southeast Asia: Insights from Genome-Wide Data from Thailand and Laos". Mol Biol Evol. 38 (8): 3459–3477. doi:10.1093/molbev/msab124. PMC 8321548. PMID 33905512.
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  18. ^ "The Mon-Dvaravati Tradition of Early North-central Southeast asia". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  19. ^ David K. Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo. The Chiang Mai Chronicle, p.33
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  21. ^ Glover, I. (2011). The Dvaravati Gap-Linking Prehistory and History in Early Thailand. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, 30, 79-86.
  22. ^ Murphy, Stephen A. (2013). "Buddhism and its Relationship to Dvaravati Period Settlement Patterns and Material Culture in Northeast Thailand and Central Laos c. Sixth–Eleventh Centuries AD: A Historical Ecology Approach to the Landscape of the Khorat Plateau". Asian Perspectives. 52 (2): 300–326. doi:10.1353/asi.2013.0017. hdl:10125/38732. ISSN 1535-8283. S2CID 53315185.
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  28. ^ Bhattacharya, Kamaleswar (2009). A Selection of Sanskrit Inscriptions from Cambodia. In collaboration with Karl-Heinz Golzio. Center for Khmer Studies.
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  32. ^ a b c Supitchar Jindawattanaphum (2020). "Evidences of Governors and Aristocrats' Existences in Dvaravati Period" (PDF) (in Thai). Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University. Retrieved 19 December 2023.

Further reading

  • Robert L. Brown, 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.
  • Dhida Saraya, (Sri) Dvaravati: the Initial Phase of Siam's History, 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.
  • Pierre Dupont, The Archaeology of the Mons of Dvāravatī, translated from the French with updates and additional appendices, figures and plans by Joyanto K.Sen, Bangkok, White Lotus Press, 2006.
  • Jean Boisselier, “Ū-Thòng et son importance pour l'histoire de Thaïlande [et] Nouvelles données sur l'histoire ancienne de Thaïlande”, Bōrānwitthayā rư̄ang MỮang ʻŪ Thō̜ng, Bangkok, Krom Sinlapakon, 2509 [1966], pp. 161–176.
  • Peter Skilling, "Dvaravati: Recent Revelations and Research", Dedications to Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra on her 80th birthday, Bangkok, The Siam Society, 2003, pp. 87–112.
  • Natasha Eilenberg, M.C. Subhadradis Diskul, Robert L. Brown (editors), Living a Life in Accord with Dhamma: Papers in Honor of Professor Jean Boisselier on his Eightieth Birthday, Bangkok, Silpakorn University, 1997.
  • C. Landes, “Pièce de l’époque romaine trouvé à U-Thong, Thaïlande”, The Silpakorn Journal, vol.26, no.1, 1982, pp. 113–115.
  • John Guy, Lost Kingdoms: Hindu Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast, New York and Bangkok, Metropolitan Museum of Art and River Books, 2014, p. 32.
  • Wārunī ʻŌsathārom. Mư̄ang Suphan bon sēnthāng kan̄plīanplǣng thāng prawattisāt Phutthasattawat thī 8 - ton Phutthasattawat thī 25 (History, development, and geography of the ancient city of Suphan Buri Province, Central Thailand, 8th-25th B.E.), Samnakphim Mahāwitthayālai Thammasāt, Krung Thēp, 2547.
  • Supitchar Jindawattanaphum (2020). "หลักฐานการมีอยู่ของผู้ปกครอง และชนชั้นสูงสัมยทวารวดี" [Evidences of Governors and Aristocrats’ Existences in Dvaravati Period] (PDF) (in Thai). Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2024.</ref>
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