Influence of Hindu religion in Southeast Asian Countries

Hindu religion is the oldest religion known so far and it is not only influential in India but also many Southeast Asian countries. The civilization of India influenced the languages, scripts, calendars, and artistic aspects of these people and nations.

Myanmar (Burma)

Minnanthu Temple (Source)

Hindu religion in Burma is practiced by about 8,40,000 people. Because a reliable census has not been taken in Burma since colonial times and most likely did not reveal their religion, estimates are approximate. Hindu religion rooted in Burma from ancient times and both the name Burma and Myanmar came after the name of Brahma, god of creation in Hindu religion. The colonial rule pronounced it Burma for Brahmadesh and Myanmar being the regional language is also the transliteration of Brahma.

In modern Myanmar, most Hindus are found in the urban centers of Yangon and Mandalay. Ancient Hindu temples are present in other parts of Burma, such as the 11th century Nathlaung Kyaung Temple dedicated to Vishnu in Bagan.


Wat Chedi Luang temple. Photo by Gable Denims on 500px.com

According to Thai Census of 2005, there are 52631 Hindus living in Thailand, making up just 0.09% of total population. Hindus remained in Thailand due to the influence of Khmer Empire that had strong Hindu roots.


Photo by Aleksandr Naumenko on 500px.com

Cambodia was first influenced by Hindu religion during the beginning of the Kingdom of Funan. Hindu religion was one of the Khmer Empire’s official religions. Cambodia is the home of the holy temple of Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world.


Wat Phu (Vat Phou) UNESCO world heritage site in Champasak, Photo by Anusorn Sutapan on 500px.com

Laos used to be part of Khmer Empire. The Wat Phou is one of the last influences of that period. The Laotian adaptation of the Ramayana is called Phra Lak Phra Lam.


Towers Po Nagar in Nha Trang. Photo by Vladimir Elkin on 500px.com

The exact numbers of Hindus in Vietnam are not published in Government census, but there are estimated to be at least 50,000 Balamon Hindus, with another 4,000 Hindus living in Ho Chi Minh City, most of who are of Indian (Tamil) or of mixed Indian-Vietnamese descent. The Balamon Hindu Cham form a majority of the Cham population in Vietnam. Champa civilization was located in the more southern part of what is today Central Vietnam and later was conquered by the north of and reduced as a state.

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Photo by Chris Bowig on 500px.com

Hindu religion in Malaysia is practiced by about 1.78 million people, according to 2010 census of Malaysia. This is about 6.3% of total population. Hindus arrived in Malaysia during medieval era and during the British colonial rule. Malaysian Hindus celebrate Deepavali (festival of lights), Thaipusam (Lord Murugan festival), Pongal (harvest festival) and Navaratri (Durga festival).



There are about 1,58,000 Hindus in Singapore, which is 5.1% of total population. Most of them are of Tamil descent and Deepawali is a major Hindu festival where there is a public holiday in Singapore.


Pura Lingga Petak, Bali, Indonesia by Andris Lipskis on 500px.com

Hindus constitute of 3% of total population, in which most of them reside in Bali, Java and Sumatra where there is 92.29% of total population. Hindu culture is highly influential in those areas.

The Philippines

Davao Indian Temple – source

Hindus in The Philippines constitute of 1% of total population. Hindu religion has long historical influence in Philippines most in the scattered islands where cultural, political and economic influence is very high.

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