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In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy is told about the legend of the three stones and how one has been stolen from the local village. In tracking down the stone (and the village's children), he find a cult with a leader who is seeking (and using) the power that all three of the stones, together, will give him.

Are the stones or the cult that is using them based on any actual legends, beliefs, or mythology? Or is it totally made up for the sake of the story?

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    Last summer, I was lucky enough to visit an Lucasart licensed exposition called Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology : The Exhibition. I don't remember anything specific except the bad guys sect is based on the Kali worship, but it's a good exposition to visit if the subject interest you. It was in Montreal (Canada) last year and it's now in Valencia (spain). I don't know where it will be next year. – DavRob60 Feb 15 '12 at 17:20
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As far as the Sankara stones, I believe those were inventions of George Lucas...”Sankhara” is a term in Buddhism, but the connection is tenuous at best, as far as I can see.

The bad guys, on the other hand, were the Thugees, a cult in India and Pakistan whence comes our term ”thug”. They were a true horror, and the British Colonials fought a quiet war with them and finally wiped them out (or...did they? Dun, dun, DUN!!!).

Basically, their belief was that each murder they committed delayed the return of Kali, and the end of the world. They would join travelers and sometimes walk for many miles with them to gain their trust before dispatching them with their weapon of choice, a.garotte (spilling blood was.forbidden). A very interesting topic.

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  • It should also be noted that this topic is a culturally sensitive one currently...the true extent of the cult and the tactics the British employed to fight them are a subject of vigorous debate. – Chris B. Behrens Feb 15 '12 at 17:45
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lNDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)

Artefact: The five Sankara stones 

Facts: Sankara was a Hindu philosopher who had been given sacred stones by the god Shiva and who is often regarded as an incarnation of that deity. Sankara stones is today the name used for rare stones found in the bed of one of India's most holy rivers, the Narmada. Villagers gather this unique crypto-crystalline quartz when the water is low, using the stones as a fertility symbol and believing them to be the embodiment of Shiva.

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