Indian Apsaras Reveal the Untold Story of Angkor Wat

In a tale that traces royal love, divine wisdom, treachery and betrayal, “Angkor – The Untold Story” depicts the passion of a woman so pure that the temple she helped build nearly a millennium ago still stands as a testament to her passion. In Singapore, Indian apsaras reveal the untold story of Angkor Wat in a spectacular dance performance opening the November 2013 Indian Festival of Esplanade.

After years of preparation in Singapore and Cambodia, the talented Apsaras Art dance troupe will present their most spectacular creation when “Angkor—An Untold Story” premiers as the opening act for this year’s Indian Festival of Esplanade, Singapore.

This powerful work of imagination by Aravinth Kumarasamy takes the audience to Angkor, the heart of the Khmer Empire in 12th century Cambodia; then to its cultural roots in the Chola Empire of India; and even to the realm of the Hindu gods themselves who inspired the architectural and artistic genius of these ancient people.

The Apsaras Arts troupe rehearsed with members of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia (below) to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of their presentation. The result is a masterpiece and a breathtaking homage to two great civilizations.

Indian Apsaras Reveal the Untold Story of Angkor Wat

The tale unfolds through the voices of two female protagonists: Suryavana, the queen of Emperor Suryavarman II, ruler of the Khmer Empire; and Vyjanthi, a devotee of Vishnu who travels to Angkor to share her inspired love for her god. There, she shares her vision of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, a creation event at the dawn of time that gave birth to the divine apsara goddess who is the legendary mother of the Khmer people. Intrigue and jealousy between the two women ensues as the plan to build the largest religious structure in human history unfolds in beautifully choreographed dance sequences. The culmination of their dreams is the temple of Angkor Wat, icon of the Khmer people.

Apsaras Arts performers Anuja Varaprasad, Sruti Petagaraju, Seema Harikumar, Devapriya Appan and Aarane Thiru in their divine roles in "Angkor the Untold Story."
Apsaras Arts performers Anuja Varaprasad, Sruti Petagaraju, Seema Harikumar, Devapriya Appan and Aarane Thiru in their divine roles in “Angkor the Untold Story.”

Artistic director, Aravinth Kumarasamy spent years researching Khmer history before crafting his concept and story. While most facts about King Suryavarman II’s reign remain a mystery, Kumarasamy wove his credible story around the the research that does exist. His studies included the works of scholars like Paul Cravath (Earth in Flower) and George Groslier (Cambodian Dancers – Ancient & Modern) as well as numerous exchanges with staff. His conclusion, like many who read the research articles on this site, was that Angkor Wat may be mankind’s greatest tribute to womanhood, motherhood and the feminine divine. This inspired him to write a story from a feminine viewpoint, attempting to unlock the secrets of the women of Angkor Wat, who were immortalized in stone so long ago.

Today, Angkor Wat stands as one of the Wonders of the World, welcoming millions of visitors each year who come to appreciate its beauty and mystery. To see those mysteries brought to life, don’t miss the performance of Angkor-The Untold Story in Singapore.

Apsara Arts dancer Priyadarsini Govind in her role as Vyjanthi in "Angkor the Untold Story"
Apsara Arts dancer Priyadarsini Govind in her role as Vyjanthi in “Angkor the Untold Story”


“Angkor: The Untold Story” rehearsals covered by Vasantham Tamil News


Location: Esplanade Theatre, Singapore

Dates: Nov. 15-16, 2013


Aravinth Kumarasamy – Story, concept and artistic direction 

Priyadarsini Govind as Vyjanthi

CK Balagopalan as Divakara Punditha

Sabanitha Shanmugasundram as Queen Suryavana

READ MORE about Angkor – The Untold Story

Angkor – An Untold Story

The production home page with links to photo galleries, blog post updates and Facebook.

Rasika’s Blog

“Glimpses of Angkor – an awaited glance at creativity – by Praveen Vijayakumar”

About Asparas Arts Dance Troupe

With over three decades of prolific local international productions, Apsaras Arts has grown into a dance company that has gained recognition in Indian dance-theatre, enjoying successful performances worldwide. Apsaras Arts Through creative innovations and bold collaborations, aspires to instill awareness of Indian dance forms in Singapore, maintain the best standards of performance and cultivate an interest in the rich heritage and traditions of Indian Arts.

Apsaras Arts was founded in Singapore in 1977 by Shri S Sathyalingam and Smt Neila Sathyalingam of Kalakshetra, India. With an initial student strength of about 20 dance students, Apsaras Arts has expanded in size and significance. Several senior dancers of Apsaras Arts have branched out to form their own dance institutions both under the name of Apsaras Arts and in their own names, in Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, France and the United States.

Since 2007, Apsaras Arts has emerged as a premier professional performing company, focusing on creating new works at international and national festivals, corporate events and during its seasonal performances.

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