Temples of Khmer empire

Rise and fall of Khmer empire

Political events

Rise and fall of Khmer empire

The Angkorian period Begins

802

Khmer Empire was once one of the most powerful empires in Southeast Asia, stretching from 800 to1431. Its greatest legacy is Angkor which was the site of the capital city during the empire's zenith. Angkor lies in present-day Cambodia.

Yaśodharapura

899 - 917

The first capital of the Khmer

Angkor Thom

1190 - 1230

The last and most enduring capital of the Khmer empire

The end of the Angkorian period

1431

Temples of Khmer

Preah Ko

879

Preah Ko (Khmer, The Sacred Bull) was the first temple to be built in the ancient and now defunct city of Hariharalaya, some 15 kilometers south-east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia. The temple was built under the Khmer King Indravarman I in 879 to honor members of the king's family, whom it places in relation with the Hindu deity Shiva.

Phnom Bakheng

889 - 910

Constructed more than two centuries before Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng was in its day the principal temple of the Angkor region, historians believe. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital, Yasodharapura, that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya

Phimeanakas

990

Phimeanakas (Khmer: , 'celestial temple') is a Hindu temple in the Khleang style, built at the end of the 10th century, then rebuilt by Suryavarman II in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple.

According to legend, the king spent the first watch of every night with a woman thought to represent a Nāga in the tower, during that time, not even the queen was permitted to intrude. Only in the second watch the king returned to his palace with the queen. If the naga who was the supreme land owner of Khmer land did not show up for a night, the king's day would be numbered, if the king did not show up, calamity would strike his land.

Baphuon

1050

The Baphuon is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is the archetype of the Baphuon style. The temple adjoins the southern enclosure of the royal palace and measures 120 metres east-west by 100 metres north-south at its base and stands 34 meters tall without its tower, which would have made it roughly 50 meters tall.

Its appearance apparently impressed Emperor Chengzong of Yuan China's late 13th century envoy Chou Ta-Kuan during his visit from 1296 to 1297, who said it was 'the Tower of Bronze...a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than ten chambers at its base.'

Angkor Wat

1113 - 1150

Angor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.

Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west.

The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

Ta Prohm

1186

Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara.

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: it is the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings.

The design of Ta Prohm is that of a typical "flat" Khmer temple as opposed to a temple-pyramid or temple-mountain, the inner levels of which are higher than the outer. Five rectangular enclosing walls surround a central sanctuary. Like most Khmer temples, Ta Prohm is oriented to the east.

Bayon

1190

The Bayon is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom.

The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.

Mangalartha

1295

It was built in sandstone during the reign of Jayavarman VIII, in honour of a Brahman scholar called Mangalartha, assimilated to Vishnu. It's cruciform in plan and opens to east, while on the other cardinal points there are false doors. The sanctuary chamber sheltered two statues, one of Mangalartha and the other of his mother, whose pedestal is still in place. The pediments lie on the ground. They show Vishnu reclining on Shesha, the three strides of Vishnu to regain the World, a Shiva dancing with four arms and Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana.