Siem Reap Vistior Guide 59th



Roluos: The ‘First’ Capital

Apogee: Khmer Empire at Angkor An era of territorial, political and commercial expansion followed the return toAngkor. Royal courts flourished and constructed several major monuments including Ta

After 802AD, Jayavarman II continued to pacify rebel- lious areas and enlarge his kingdom. Before 802AD, he had briefly based himself at a pre-Angkorian settlement near the modern town of Roluos (13km southeast of

Bakong - In the Roluos Group which served as the Khmer capital before the move to Angkor.

Angkor Wat

Keo, Banteay Srey, Baphuon, and West Baray . Kings of the period exercised their military muscle, including King Rajendravarman who led successful campaigns against the eastern enemy of Champa in the mid 10 th century. Just after the turn of the millennium, there was a 9-year period of political upheaval that ended when King Suryavarman I seized firm control in 1010CE. In the following decades, he led the Khmer to many important military victories including conquering the Mon Empire to the west (captur- ing much of the area of modern Thailand), thereby bring- ing the entire western portion of old Funan under Khmer control. A century later, King Suryavarman II led several successful campaigns against the Khmer’s traditional eastern enemy, Champa, in the area of modern southern central Vietnam. Under Suryavarman II in the early 12 th century, the empire was at its political/territorial apex. Appropriate to the greatness of the times, Suryavarman II produced Angkor’s most spectacular architectural creation, Angkor Wat , as well as other monuments such as Thommanon, Banteay Samre and Beng Melea . Angkor Wat was con- structed as Suryavarman II’s state-temple and perhaps as his funerary temple. Extensive battle scenes from his campaigns against Champa are recorded in the superb bas-reliefs on the south wall of Angkor Wat . By the late 12 th century, rebellious states in the provinces, unsuccessful campaigns against the Tonkin, and internal conflicts all began to weaken the empire. In 1165, during a turbulent period when Khmer and Champrinces plotted and fought both together and against one another, a usurper named Tribhuvanadityavarman seized power at Angkor. In 1177 the usurper was killed in one of the worst defeats suffered by the Khmers at the hands of the Cham. Champa, apparently in collusion with some Khmer factions, launched a sneak naval attack on Angkor. A Cham fleet sailed up the Tonle Sap River onto the great Tonle Sap Lake just south of the capital city. Naval and land battles ensued in which the city

Siem Reap). For some reason, perhaps due to military considerations, he moved from the Roluos area to the Kulen Mountains. Sometime after establishing his king- ship in 802AD, he moved the capital back to the Roluos area, which he named Hariharalaya in honor of the com- bined gods of Shiva and Vishnu. He reigned from Hariharalaya until his death in 850AD. Thirty years after Jayavarman II’s death, King Indra- varman I constructed the temple of Preah Ko , the first major member of the ‘ Roluos Group ’, in honor of Jayavarman II. He then constructed Bakong, which was the first grand project to follow the temple-moun- tain architectural formula. When visiting these temples, note the deep, rich, detailed artistic style in the carv- ings that were characteristic of the period. Indravarman III also built the first large baray (water reservoir), thereby establishing two more defining marks of Angkorian kingship - in addition to the linga- cult, the construction of temple monuments and grand water projects became part of kingly tradition. The Move to Angkor

Indravarman III’s son, King Yasovarman I, carried on the tradition of his father, building the East Baray as well as the last major tem- ple of the Roluos Group (Lolei) , and the first major temple in the Angkor area ( Phnom Bakheng. ) Upon

Phnom Bakheng - The first monu- ment to be built at Angkor upon moving the capital fro Roluos.

completing Phnom Bakheng in 893CE, he moved his capital to the newly named Yasodharapura in the Angkor area. The move may have been sparked by Yasovarman I’s violent confrontation with his brother for the throne, which left the Royal Palace at Roluos in ashes. With one exception, the capital would reside in the Angkor area for the next 500 years. Koh Ker: A Brief Interruption

The exception took place in 928AD when, for reasons that remain unclear, there was a disruption in the royal succession. King Jayavar- man IV moved the capital 100km from Angkor north to Koh Ker , where it remained

Ta Keo - First monument to be constructed after the return to Angkor from Koh Ker

for 20 years. When the capital returned to Angkor, it cen- tered not at Phnom Bakheng as it had before, but further east at the new state-temple of Pre Rup (961AD.)

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