History Of Angkor Wat

A Chronological Version

Looking for a quick history of Angkor Wat and its other temples but not big on historical details? Yeah, me too. So below, you'll see a chronological history good for a quick scan, that way you'll get to familiarize yourself with the temples.

To make the history lesson easier and more memorable, you'll only need to remember the names of two Angkor kings. They are:

Suryavarman II (2nd)


Jayavarman VII (7th)

Why these two? Well, because most of the temples visited were built under those two kings.

Suryavarman II built the Angkor Wat temple, Beng Mealea, and several others.

Jayavarman VII built Angkor Thom, Bayon (the many faces temple), Ta Prohm (the set for Tomb Raider), and many other 'popular' temples.

In the history of Angkor Wat, these two kings ruled towards the very end of the Khmer empire. So after remembering these two names, you'll know that all the other Kings mentioned will be for periods before Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. And believe me, any unprepared traveler will be confused by all of the different king names mentioned at the temples.

Such is the fate for travelers who choose to visit a historical site.

So come prepared knowing a little bit of the history of Angkor Wat, or those temples will just be meaningless piles of rubbles!

Period King Major Temples
802 -850 AD Jayavarman II The father of all Angkor kings. He started the empire and made Phnom Kulen the capital. He started the history of Angkor Wat by equating himself to a Hindu god.
  1. Phnom Kulen temple (the most sacred site for Cambodians)
877 - 889 Indravarman I A usurper who moved the capital to Rolous group.
  1. Preah Ko
  2. Bakong
889 - 910 Yasovarman I As the son of Indravarman I, he continued building at Rolous but later moved the capital to the current Angkor area.
  1. Lolei
  2. Phnom Bakheng (the famous sunset place)
  3. Phnom Krom
  4. Phnom Bok
  5. Eastern Baray (one of the largest reservoirs)
928 - 942 Jayavarman IV Another usurper. He moved the capital to Koh Ker city.
  1. Koh Ker
944 - 68 Rajendravarman II Paternity unclear, but he moved the capital back to the Angkor area.
  1. Eastern Mebon (the temple in the middle of a dried up lake)
  2. Pre Rup
  3. Phimeanakas
  4. Bat Chum
968 - 1001 Jayavarman V The son of Rajendravarman II who didn't commission Banteay Srei. His tutor did it instead.
  1. Banteay Srei (the temple with unbelievable carvings)
  2. Ta Keo
  3. North & South Khleangs
1002 - 1049 Suryavarman I A usurper. Not much is known about what he built. However, the temples below might have been created under his rule.

He also changed the history of Angkor Wat by promoting Buddhism instead of Hinduism.

  1. Ta Keo
  2. North & South Khleangs
  3. Phimeanakas
1049 - 1105 Udayadityavarman II Son of Suryavarman I, possibly created the Western Baray.
  1. Baphuon
  2. Western Mebon (the temple in the middle of the lake)
  3. Phimeanakas
1112 - 1152 Suryavarman II Paternity unclear, and perhaps not important, as he built two of the most magnificent temples.

Angkor Wat is in great condition, while Beng Melea is the opposite.

  1. Angkor Wat
  2. Beng Mealea
  3. Thommanon
  4. Chau Say Tevoda
  5. Banteay Samre
1181 - 1219 Jayavarman VII Ruled Angkor after it was attacked by the Thai army. His reign was the golden years of temple building. Just look at how many temples he ordered built.

At this point, most temples were no longer built as Hindu temples. They were instead built as Buddhist ones.

  1. Angkor Thom
  2. Bayon
  3. Ta Prohm
  4. Preah Khan
  5. The Elephant Terrace
  6. Terrace of the Leper King
  7. Srah Srang
  8. Banteay Kdei
  9. Neak Pean
  10. Ta Som
  11. Ta Nei
  12. Prasat Suor Prat
  13. Banteay Prei
  14. Krol Ko
  15. Ta Prohm Kel
  16. Banteay Chhmar
  17. Preah Khan in the Preah Vihear province

Just as a guideline, the temples that are underlined are some of the temples that constantly receive numerous visits from travelers. The bold ones are temples that are even more popular than the rest.

Now that you know who built what and when, it's time to find out a little bit more of the history of Angkor Wat through the temple symbolisms.

Ever wondered what the moat means? The pools? The temples in the middle of the lake? The temples on top of a hill? The pyramid temple shapes?

Yep, there are meanings behind those designs. Read this other brief version of Angkor Wat history to find out.

Return from History of Angkor Wat to Angkor Wat History - A Brief Overview
Want to know a little bit of Angkor Wat history? Here is a condensed form of it, including the most important facts about the Kings and the temples.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia- A Quick Review
Angkor Wat, Cambodia is located near the town of Siem Reap. It's been listed under UNESCO's World Heritage site since 1992. Preservation has been done constantly in order to keep it in great condition.

Angkor Bas-Relief? Astonishing!
When I first saw the Angkor bas-relief, I was astounded. Having seen and read only a little about it, I wasn't prepared for the great sight. And they're not in a little section, but everywhere!

Return from History of Angkor Wat to Holiday In Angkor Wat (homepage)


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