Archive for Jayavarman VII

Ta Prohm | Tonle Bati / Cambodia

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2015 by Thim Kwai

The sight of Ta Prohm at Tonle Bati is a very fine Angkorian temple of the time around 1200 CE. It was built in the reign of king Jayavarman VII when the medieval Khmer empire was on the zenith of it’s power and it’s art. The main sanctuary of Ta Prohm is made of sandstone and shows a great number of skillfully made fresquos. Some show small stories who are unique.

The article comes with a map of the sight and a great number of quality photos. It’s a virtual journey to Ta Prohm, Tonle Bati (Lake), neighbouring Yeah Peau temple and a short introduction to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary.

Pay a visit to the whole article on ‘Ta Prohm‘…

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Ta Prohm’. Read here the whole article on Ta Prohm.

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Angkor Thom and Bayon by Asienreisender

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by Thim Kwai

The first half of the 13th century might mark the zenith of the Angkorean empire. The capital of Angkor with the new centerpiece Angkor Thom reached a size bigger than all the European cities of the time, including London, Paris and even Rome. One has to mention here (again) that Angkor was still much bigger than the inner core, Angkor Thom, which was reserved for the king, the high priests, the new state temple (the Bayon) and for great representative events on the ‘Victory Road’ near the Terrace of the Elephants. Around this centerpiece the mass of Angkor’s population lived, the peasants, the craftsmen, more priests and the majority of the men who formed the army. Most of these people lived in the typical Southeast Asian shacks and stilt huts of the simple people, built of wood and bamboo, with grass or leaves forming the roofs. These buildings weren’t sustainable and therefore disappeared traceless over the time, eaten up by the tropical nature.

Representative Angkor Thom therefore was (and is) an area of three kilometers in both length and width. It’s four sides are aligned to the points of the compass. It was surrounded by an eight meters high wall made of laterite stone, of which was outside a 100 meters wide water trench digged out. At the inner side of the wall soil was accumulated to enforce the walls and enable soldiers from inside to reach the top of the walls. It’s still possible to climb up to the top of the wall and walk along on it.

Inside there is a road net, which is connected to the outer area by five city gates. Basically there are two roads crossing the area and meeting in the center point, at the Bayon’s position. From the Bayon these roads lead into the four compass directions to four of the gates. A fifth gate is placed north of the east gate. It’s called the ‘Victory Gate’ and it’s road, the ‘Victory Road’, is leading straight to the royal palace. Best known is Angkor Thom’s south gate, the one which leads to the road to nearby Angkor Wat (just 1,700m away).

The gates of the city wall are all very representative and show a giant head with four faces showing in all directions on the top of a towerlike construction (called ‘gopuram’). Their height is 22m, the gate opening is 7m high and 3.50m wide, and therefore high enough to move through it on the back of an elephant. The city gates are made of sandstone and can cope in their quality with the ancient buildings of the old greek. In their original state they have been probably equipped with two heavy wooden doors and a massive bar to close the doors from inside.

When approaching one of the gates from outside, one has to cross a wide naga bridge, which leads over the outer moat. On the right and left sides of the bridges are 54 gods and daemons placed, who carry two nagas.

The most important state buildings were concentrated inside the city walls of Angkor Thom. In the northwestern part was the king’s palace, together with a temple pyramide called Phimeanakas. This construction was then extended by the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leprosy King and the great (victory) square, alltogether a great areal for military parades or presenting great representative games and shows.

Also remarkable are the mountainlike temple Baphuon and the two buildigs called northern and southern Khleang, who were kind of halls. Opposite to the Terrace of the Elephants are two ponds and twelve towers called Prasat Suor Prat. In the geometical center of the whole square-shaped arrangement of Angkor Thom is the famous and most outstanding Bayon placed.

Besides, ancient Angkor was famous for it’s sophisticated canal system. A number of canals led through Angkor Thom. They partially served as a transport system, partially they were used as a freshwater source, as well as a bathroom and, not to forget, for wastewater disposal. The water flowed from the northeast to the southwest, drained eventually to the western baray (a rectangle-shaped, artificial lake) outside Angkor Thom. Probably the water was taken out of the Siem Reap River, using the natural gradient of the land towards the Tonle Sap Lake.

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Angkor Thom’. Read here the whole article on Angkor Thom.

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Phimai / Thailand

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2013 by Thim Kwai

In the heart of Phimai, a small town in Thailand’s northeastern Isan region, one of the most remarkable Angkorean cultural heritages outside Angkor itself is situated: Prasat Phimai. In 1936 it was set under protection by the Thai government and became step by step restaurated from the 1950s on. ‘Phimai Historical Park’ was opened in 1989.

Phimai town is a medieval Khmer foundation, became the first time fortificated in the 11th century and advanced to a spiritual center of the classical empire of Angkor. In the reign of king Jayavarman VII (1181-1206/1220 CE) the city walls and gates so far they remain now were constructed. The town’s name is derivated fro ‘Vimayapura’ or ‘Vimai’. The contemporary official name of the site is ‘Prasat Hin Phi Mai’.

Historical Phimai has a considerable size. The inner temple district is a rectangular of 83m to 74m, the middle district measures 272m to 220m and the surrounding town, which was formerly completely enclosed by the city wall, stretches over 665m to 1033m. Phimai must have been one of the most important cities in the Angkorean empire.

The central temple complex is not exactly aligned onto the north-south axis, but by 20 degree turned to southeast. It’s probably done to give it the direction facing to Angkor.

At the northern end of Phimai is a national museum placed, which displays a number of the site’s artefacts as lintels, Buddha images, nagas, pottery and jewellery.

Prasat Phimai is considered to be the most important Khmer monument in Thailand.

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Phimai’. Read the whole article on Phimai by Asienreisender.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender