Trisula. Image courtesy of John Guy

Sri Lingaparvata, the holy mountain as a natural-formed Shiva linga, is associated in inscriptions with several locations in mainland Southeast Asia. The most compelling topographically is that which presides over the ancient Khmer city of Champasak, in southern Laos. The understanding of holy places in Southeast Asia, not as surrogates for those in India but rather as part of the same living landscape, undifferentiated by place and time, infused all with an Indic sanctity. Shaivism came increasingly to serve as the universal principle of Southeast Asian kingship, providing overarching authority to rulership. Shiva honoured as the supreme yogi and Shaiva asceticism are examined through unique images of Ganesha and the probable agency of Pasupata ascetics. Finally, the role of the lingakosa – linga sheath covers – which assumed unparalleled importance in Cham state worship, is examined.