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Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

The Great City or Capital

Angkor derives from Sanskrit word: "Nagara" meaning "City or Town or Capital"; "Thom" means "Great" so Angkor Thom meaning "Great City".

The town of Angkor Thom as we see it today, is not the first capital of ancient Cambodia in the same place.

The first city was founded by king Yaçovarman I (899 to about 910). This king began his reign in the capital of his father Indravarman I at Hariharalaya. He abandoned the city in order to build his own capital Yaçodharapura meaning the "city of Yaçovarman". It was recognized that the centre of this first city is the Phnom Bakheng. It was chosen for its proximity to the river Siem Reap which does not dry up and because the hill form a natural foundation for the pyramid of the God-King ritual. Yaçodharapura was larger than the present town (4 km at each side) owing to the security was good; it allowed the king to be surrounded the city by cheap enclosures of stake to protect the eastern side, he used the course of the river.

The inscription says that the king Rajendravarman brought his capital back to Angkor because between 921 to 944 one king Jayavarman IV -- the usurper founded the city at Koh Ker, about 100km northeast of Angkor. The king Rajendravarman did not re-installed the city on the same ground that had been marked out by Yaçovarman (the Bakheng). He erected the pyramid of Phimeanakas which resembles the temples of Koh Ker, as the center of the city. We know nothing of the walls of this town but the position of Phimeanakas which is almost the same distance from the South and East walls of Angkor Thom, from eastern dike of Western Baray and the Northern dike of the Basin behind Preah Khan, would make us suppose that its walls passed by these lines and were again include in part in the latter town.

The Baphoun became the center of the third Angkor and was still on the same North-South axis. It was placed a little to the South.

When Jayavarman VII (1181 to about 1220) came to power; he took over the reigns of the Khmer Empire at a difficult moment after the invasion of a Cham fleet which had destroyed the capital from end to end (1177-1181) and had taken away the greater part of the country's properties. He displaced the center of the city and reduced the surface, thus making the perimeter les costly. In the middle he built the Bayon and made its walls of the town from laterites (8m high , 3km at each side and the moats: 100m wide). He made five gates which decorated the same each other; four gates located on the axis of the Bayon but one of them (Victory Gate) is on the axis of the Royal Enclosure.

The Bayon and the gates get their special character from the great faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteçvara; the old system of the images which existed already in the Hindu-monasteries of the 7th century and which enabled the whole world to be put under the benevolent protection of his quadruple face. The King decorated the bridge across the moats with the churning milky ocean motives.

Architectural Symbolism

This tradition was still so much alive at the time when Angkor Thom was restored by Jayavarman VII that compare the wall to the chain of mountains enclosing the universe and the surrounding moat to the ocean. "The first pierced the brilliant sky with its pinnacle the other reached down to the unplumbed depths of the world of serpents. This Mountain of Victory (Jaya Giri) and this ocean of victory (Jaya Sindhu) built by the king as his great glory.

The bridge with Naga balustrades represent rainbow -- the bridge between men and Gods. The bridges  lead to the gates of the city which reproduced at four cardinal points in a reduced form. They represent the extension and projection of the Royal Power emanation from the temple in the four cardinal directions. The giant three-headed elephants on which are seated figures of Indra the wielder of thunderbolts and master of the thirty-third heaven. Thus, the rainbow is also the bow of Indra. This representation of the God Indra at the end of the bridge accentuates the fact that the bridge with the Naga balustrades is symbolic of the rainbow ladder.



Cambodia Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor complex and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. It is perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief and sculptures make it one of the finest monuments in the world. "Wat" meaning "Monastery" which was called it when it became a Buddhist Hinayanism in the 16th century.  Angkor Wat Temple ...

Cambodia Angkor Thom

 Angkor Thom

The Great City or Capital

Angkor derives from Sanskrit word: "Nagara" meaning "City or Town or Capital"; "Thom" means "Great" so Angkor Thom meaning "Great City".

The town of Angkor Thom as we see it today, is not the first capital of ancient Cambodia in the same place.

The first city was founded by king Yaçovarman I (899 to about 910). This king began his reign in the capital of his father Indravarman I at Hariharalaya. He abandoned the city in order to build his own capital Yaçodharapura meaning the "city of Yaçovarman". It was recognized that the centre of this first city is the Phnom Bakheng. It was chosen for its proximity to the river Siem Reap which does not dry up and because the hill form a natural foundation for the pyramid of the God-King ritual. Yaçodharapura was larger than the present town (4 km at each side) owing to the security was good; it allowed the king to be surrounded the city by cheap enclosures of stake to protect the eastern side, he used the course of the river. Angkor Thom

Cambodia Bayon

Bayon

The Bayon, is the exact centre of the town of Angkor Thom. Having to power after the burning of the capital by a he city and surrounded it with a strong wall. This rampart constitutes the outer enclosure of the Bayon, it is a wide, provided the earth for the enormous embankment which support it, and makes a boulevard 25m wide, with four little temples at the corners, Read More Bayon

Cambodia Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

The outside enclosure of the temple consists of a large laterite wall about 1000m long by 700m wide with four entrances on the every axis. The central block is about 400m from the east or west entrance and is among the largest of the monument in the Angkor Complex. The inscription gives an idea of the size of the temple. The complex include 260 statues or idols, 39 towers with.. Ta Prohm...
Cambodia Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei was built by Raja Guru Yajnavaraha for installation Linga "Tribhuvana Maheçvara" in the year 967. A special feature of the decoration was the use of a hard pink sandstone. Architectural and decorative features are unique and fine. A tapestry like background of foliage covers the walls of the structures in the central group as if a deliberate attempt had been made to leave no space undecorated. The architecture is distinguished by superimposed pediments, motifs on the frames of the arches and standing figures in the niches. Panels are decorated with scenes inspired by Hindu epics.Banteay Srei...
Preah Khan

Preah Khan

In 1191, five year after the building of Ta Prohm, the king dedicated this temple to be the shelter of the idol of his father, Dharnindravarman II, in the likeness of Bodhisattva Lokesvara. The causeways lead to the temple are bordered by the same figures carrying a Naga symbolized the Churning the Sea of Milk. This architectural element was the mark of a royal city. It may have served as a temporary residence of King Jayavarman VII while he was rebuilding the capital after the Charms sacked Angkor in 1177. Preah Khan is the name of the sacred sword, the safeguard of Cambodia, which is preserved in the palace of Phnom Penh, it seems that there is a connection between this precious arm and the name of the monument, a name which is not unique among the temple of the country. It is among the largest monuments. It includes a set of four concentric enclosures are longer to the east and west (800m by 700m, 7m high), giant Garudas and serpents are decorated every 50m around the 3km long wall. The wall of central complex forms quadrilateral 250m by 175m with Gopuras or entrance pavilion -  with three passages. The avenues 250m long towards the entrances.

Preah Khan ...

Neak Pean

Neak Pean situated in the middle of artificial lake "Jaya Tadaka", 3700m by 900m, which now has been dried up. In the centre of this space is a square lake 72m along, bordered by four smaller lakes situated on the axis and lower than the embankment surrounding the main one. In the middle of it, is a small sanctuary which was formerly entwined by the trunk-roots of a giant creeper, now dead.  Neak Pean
Eastern Mebon

Eastern Mebon

Eastern the Pre Rup, it looks like a reproduction. The temple was built on an island in the middle of the artificial lake (Eastern Baray: 7 km by 1800m) created by Yaçovarman I. The general arrangement is the same but the whole is of more modest proportions and the base of the quincunx of towers is lower. The platform supporting the five towers is a square of more than 30m per side, mounted on a base.. Eastern Mebon
Pre Rup

Pre Rup...

This term refers to a method of incineration which consisted of tracing the outline of the body of the dead person in the cinders, then doing it the other way round which is called "Turning the body". The outer enclosure wall is 127m by 116m;  Pre Rup...

 Banteay Samre Temple

Banteay Samre Temple located along the way to Bok Mountain and eastern side of East Baray “Yasodharatadaka”. The location of the temple is also located in the Angkor Archaeological site in Siem Reap Cambodia.

Samre is the name of minority people who are living in Siem Reap, they live together in a small village called Preah Dak where the temple was located. Banteay means citadel. Thus Banteay Samre is citadel of Samre.

Read more Banteay Samre Temple

  Preah Ko Bakong Lolei

Three temples Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei, 15km South-East of Siem Reap town, comprise the Roluos Group of monuments. They are closed together and extend over an area of 3km east of Great Lake. The Roluos group, dating from the late ninth century, is the earliest site of the 600-year Angkor Period. The three temples belonging to this important group have similarities of architecture,  Preah Ko Bakong Lolei....

Beang Mealea

Beng Mealea is one of the largest ensembles in the Angkor region, covering an area - within its 45m.00 wide moats that cover a distance of 4,200m all around - of 108 hectares, and comparable therefore of its plan, the harmonious equilibrium of its composition and the sense of the monumental, given effect by the large clear surfaces..  Beang Mealea

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Angkor Wat Cambodia

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