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Suryavarman I

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Preceded by
Udayadityavarman I
1001 – 1002
1002 – 1010
Suryavarman I
Emperor of Angkor

1002 – 1050
Succeeded by
Udayadityavarman II
1050 – 1066

Religion: Mahayana Buddhist
Monuments: North Khleang Temple
South Khleang Temple
Phimeanakas Temple (completed)
Royal Palace
West Baray (started)
Chau Srei Vibol Temple
Preah Vihear Temple
Wat Phu (in present-day Laos)
Relatives: Father of Udayadityavarman II and Harshavarman III (reign 1066 – 1080 CE)


Suryavarman I (Khmer: សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី១) usurped Udayadityavarman I, defeating his armies in approximately 1002.  After a protracted war with Udayadityavarman I's son and would-be successor, Jayaviravarman, Suryavarman I finally prevailed and took sole posession of the throne in 1010.

Suryavarman was a Mahayana Buddhist, but he allowed the people to continue practising Hinduism and was also tolerant of the growing Theravada Buddhism presence in the Angkor Empire.

His reign lasted some 40 years and he spent much of that time defending it.  Perhaps made cautious by an eight-year long succession battle, Suryavarman I started his reign by having about two hundred civil servants pledge an oath of allegiance to him, a contract set in stone at the eastern gate of the Royal Palace.

Within the Royal Palace at Yashodharapura (Angkor Thom), his state-temple was Phimeanakas Temple.  He was the first of the Angkor kings to protect his palace with a wall.

Suryavarman I expanded his territory to the west to Lopburi, including the Menam basin in Thailand, and east into the Mekong basin.  Louvo (present-day Lopburi, north of Bangkok) was a provincial capital under his reign.

Suryavarman I died in 1050 and was given the posthumous title Nirvanapada ("the king who has gone to nirvana"), a nod to his Buddhist beliefs.  He was succeeded by his sons, Udayadityavarman II, who died around 1066 and Harshavarman III (Sadasivapada).  The latter continued the struggle against internal rebellions and fought back assaults from the Chams until his death in 1080.

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