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!
|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.
|877 – 889||Indravarman I||A usurper who moved the capital to Rolous group.
|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.
|928 – 942||Jayavarman IV||Another usurper. He moved the capital to Koh Ker city.
|944 – 68||Rajendravarman II||Paternity unclear, but he moved the capital back to the Angkor area.
|968 – 1001||Jayavarman V||The son of Rajendravarman II who didn’t commission Banteay Srei. His tutor did it instead.
|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.
|1049 – 1105||Udayadityavarman II||Son of Suryavarman I, possibly created the Western Baray.
|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.
|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.
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!