Around Angkor Thom (Part 1)

angkor thom



The final Indiana Jones fantasy, Ta Prohm is hidden in stippled darkness, its decomposing towers and walls locked in the relaxed, strong encirclement of huge primary systems. If Angkor Wat, the Bayon and other temples are witness to the mastermind of the ancient Khmers, Ta Prohm reminds people equally of the great fecundity and strength of the forest. There is a romantic cycle to this august, with humanity initial discovering nature to promptly create, and nature once again conquering humanity to slowly demolish .
Built from 1186 and initially known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Ta Prohm is a temple of towers, close courtyards and narrow corridors. Very old trees tower overhead, their leaves filtering the sunshine and casting a green pall over the whole view . It is the nearest most of us can get to feeling the charm of the explorers of old.

Phnom Bakheng HINDU TEMPLE

Around 400m south of Angkor Thom, this hill’s primary draw is the sunset view of Angkor Wat, even though this has turned into something of a circus, with hundreds of travellers jockeying for space. The temple, built by Yasovarman I (r 889–910), has five tiers with seven levels.


(Sacred Sword) The temple of Preah Khan (Sacred Sword) is one of the greatest complexes at Angkor, a maze of vaulted corridors, fine carvings and lichen-clad stonework. Constructed by Jayavarman VII, it covers a very large area, but the temple itself is within a rectangular wall of nearly 700m by 800m. Preah Khan is a genuine combination temple, the eastern entrance devoted to Mahayana Buddhism, with equal-sized doors, and the other cardinal directions devoted to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, with successively smaller doors, emphasising the unequal nature of Hinduism.

Another late-12th-century work of – no surprises here – Jayavarman VII, this petite temple just east of Preah Khan has a large square pool surrounded by four smaller square pools, with a circular ‘island’ in the middle. Water once flowed from the central pond into the four peripheral pools via four ornamental spouts, in the shape of an elephant’s head, a horse’s head, a lion’s head and a human head.

The monuments of Roluos, which served as the capital for Indravarman I (r 877–89), are among the earliest largepermanent temples constructed by the Khmers and mark the dawn of Khmer classical art. Preah Ko, dedicated to Shiva, has elaborate inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorposts of each tower and some of the best surviving examples of Angkorian plasterwork. The city’s central temple, Bakong, with its five-tier central pyramid of sandstone, is a representation of Mt Meru. Roluos is 13km southeast of Siem Reap along NH6.