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Suryavarman II

2 min read

Preceded by
Dharanindravarman I
1107 – 1112
Suryavarman II
Emperor of Angkor

1113 – 1150
Succeeded by
Dharanindravarman II
1150 – 1156

Religion: Hindu (Vaishnava)
Monuments: Angkor Wat Temple
Thommanon Temple
Chau Say Tevoda Temple
Banteay Samre Temple?
Beng Mealea Temple?
Relatives: Cousin of Dharanindravarman II (reign 1150 – 1156 CE)

 

Suryavarman II (Khmer: សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី២) was the builder of Angkor Wat Temple, the 'city which is a temple', the most imposing mountain-temple ever built by a king of Angkor, which he dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu.

His reign's monumental architecture, numerous military campaigns and restoration of strong government have led historians to rank Suryavarman II as one of the empire's greatest kings.

Suryavarman II dramatically expanded the empire, the extent of which was only surpassed by Jayavarman VII: first moving westward, conquering most of modern-day Thailand; and then eastward expansion into the lands of the Dai Viet and Champa in present-day Vietnam were less fruitful, although he had some success against the latter, capturing the Champa capital of Vijaya for a brief period (1144-1145 CE).

Suryavarman II is the first Khmer king to be depicted in art.  A bas-relief in the south gallery of Angkor Wat Temple shows him seated on an elaborate wooden dais whose legs and railings are carved to resemble nagas.  On his head is a pointed diadem, and his ears have pendants.  He wears anklets, armlets and bracelets.  His right hand holds what seems to be a small dead snake, its meaning is unclear.  His torso curves gracefully, his legs folded beneath him.  The general image projected is one of serenity, and comfort with power and position.

Inscriptional evidence suggests that Suryavarman II died in 1150 CE, possibly during a military campaign against Champa.  He was succeeded by his cousin Dharanindravarman II, son of the brother of the king’s mother.  A period of weak rule and feuding followed.

Suryavarman II was posthumously named Paramavishnuloka, 'He Who Has Entered the Heavenly World of Vishnu'.



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