It is said
that King Preah Thorng married the daughter of the Naga,
Princess Neang Neak. Through their marraige, the Khmer
people are descended from the Naga. Nagas represent
prosperity and the spirit of the land and water of the
It is not surprising based
on the story that nagas are a common decoration on Cambodian
temples. They tend to appear on bridges or as seven-headed
The naga symbol is an important one to the Cambodians. When Cambodia hosted the GMS Summit 2002, they chose a seven-headed naga to symbolise the Khmer culture and the cooperation between the countries at the summit.
The word Naga comes from the Sanskrit, and nag is still the word for snake, especially the cobra. In myths, legends, scripture and folklore, the category naga comprises all kinds of serpentine beings.
Under this rubric are snakes, usually of the python kind (despite the fact that naga is usually taken literally to refer to a cobra,) deities of the primal ocean and of mountain springs; also spirits of earth and the realm beneath it, and finally, dragons.
In a Cambodian legend, the
naga were a reptilian race of beings who possessed a large
empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region. The Naga
King's daughter married the king of Ancient Cambodia, and
thus gave rise to the Cambodian people. This is why, still,
today, Cambodians say that they are "Born from the Naga.
The Seven-Headed Naga serpents
depicted as statues on Cambodian temples, such as Angkor Wat,
apparently represent the seven races within Naga society,
which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with "the
seven colours of the rainbow". Furthermore, Cambodian Naga
possess numerological symbolism in the number of their
heads. Odd-headed Naga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity,
Timelessness, and Immortality. This is because,
numerological, all odd numbers come from One. Even-headed
Naga are said to be "Female, representing Physicality,
Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth."