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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Ta Keo , Siem Reap

Ta Keo is a temple mountain in Angkor , possibly the first to be built entirely of sandstone by Khmers . Ta Keo had to be the state temple of Jayavarman V, son of Rajendravarman, who had built Pre Rup it has five sanctuary towers arranged .

Built on the uppermost level of five-tier pyramid consisting of overlapping terraces , surrounded by moat as a symbolic depiction of Mount Meru . Its particularly massive appearance is due to the absence of external decorations , as carving had just begun when the works stopped , besides an elaborate use of perspective effects . It is considered an example of the so-called Khleang style .

500 meters long connects its eastern entrance to a landing stage on the Eastern Baray , with which Ta Keo was in tightly relationship . The outer banks of the surrounding moats , now vanished measure 255m by 195m . The first terrace is 122m by 106m , its wall of sandstone on basis constitutes the outer enclosure . Along the east side there are two long galleries , whose roofs were probably in wood and tiles . They were illuminated by balustrad windows .

The second terrace is 5.5 m higher . Each of the first two terraces has a gopura at the four cardinal points . Each gopura has three independent passages and a central tower with diminishing tiers . It's really interesting , because it has no door and seems to be purely decorative , and is the first example of Khmer gallery . Before Ta Keo there were long buildings that followed the length of enclosures with some discontinuity . However it hasn't a stone vault , probably its roof was made of wood and tiles too .

Along the eastern side of the second terrace in the corners there are two buildings that are the shorter version of the long galleries of the first terrace .  The four stairways that lead on the summit are continuous and very steep .

Jayavarman V was ten years old when he succeeded his father , Rajendravarman , in 968. His early years of reign were rather turbulent and the court officials dominated the royal politics . When he was aged seventeen (in 975) , he began the construction of his own state temple , whose modern name is Ta Keo , that was dedicated some time around 1000 .

Yogisvarapandita, a high priest who became minister of Suryavarman I and "received" the temple from him many years later, says in inscriptions that a lightning strike hit the unfinished building, an evil omen, so the works stopped. Maybe works stopped simply because of the death of Jayavarman V, as there was a struggle for succession. Actually the temple worked continuously as a cult center until the 13th century .

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