Angkor Wat
khmer Ballet Dance
Khmer Shadow Theatre
Preah Vihear
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear

Royal Palace

While the specific chronology is hypothetical, as the first Phimeanakas could be attributable to Rajendravarman's successor Jayavarman V, the symbolism remains remarkable. The present form of Phimeanakas temple is due to Suryavarman I, who waged war against the reigning monarch to seize the throne at Angkor Thom around 1011A.D.

The Royal Palace was remodeled and enclosed by a high wall. Two basic areas were distinguished within the temple grounds by another wall of which only traces remain today. The "public" area included the Phimeanakas and two water reservoirs known today as Srah Srei and Srah Bros. The reservoirs were to be remodeled under the reign of Jayavarman VII or his successors.

The famous vow of fidelity required of Suryavarman's civil servants was probably pronounced in the vicinity of the Royal Palace, as the text of the vow is engraved in a number of places here, notably on the doorjambs of the eastern Entrance Gate. Various instruments used to defend the Palace against attack, such as three-pointed metal spikes, have been uncovered here, indicating that the enclosure wall also served as a protective fortress.

Major construction was undertaken at Angkor Thom's Royal Palace under the reigns of Jayavarman VII and his immediate successors. Bas-reliefs depicting aquatic scenes were added, for example, to the lower steps of Srah Srei.

  1. Royal Terraces Most remarkable, however, are additions made to the Palace enclosure front. First, a long terrace was built along the wall and extending beyond both its southern and northern ends. Opposite the Royal Terraces stand a two rows of six towers each, known today as Prasat Suor Proat.
  2. Elephant Terrace The tall supporting wall of this terrace is sculpted with a variety of images such as an elephant procession or garudas with raised arms seemingly supporting the terrace at its corners . The north walls of the stairs have reliefs which are rich both in their subject matter and in the sculptural treatment.
  3. Leper King Terrace The terrace itself represents Mount Meru, the central mountain of the Buddhist cosmos, in a most unusual manner, suggesting the mountain's funerary associations. The terrace is composed of two successive walls. Earth was packed between the two, such that the outer wall literally hid the inner one. That the visitor can now see the inner wall, meant to not be seen, is entirely due to 20th-century conserWation work. The layered rows of sculpted images decorating both walls correspond to the different levels of Meru inhabited by fabulous creatures.

These rows of fanulous creatures, regularly interrupted by the singular figure of a divinity holding a baton, attribute of Yama the God of Death and Justice, or of one of his assessors , are identical on the two walls - with the notable exception that the inner figures bear relatively terrifying expressions. It is this detail in expression which has led scholars to believe that, together, the two walls represent the whole of Meru: its upper levels rising to a peak in the skies are the outer wall; the lower levels represented on the inner wall descend to the unfathomable depths