Chapter 4 Angkor Dynasty 2017-11-24

4-1 Srivijaya group proceeded to Cambodia

Coedès mentioned that Jayavarman II (the first king of Angkor) returned from the Java Island when ‘Sailendra declined’. But his story is most unlikely, because around 770, Sailendra was the sun-rising country. Why he made such an explanation is mysterious.

In 768 ‘latter Kha-ling (Sailendra)’ after 100 years’ interval, resumed tribute to Tang, Sailendra used the name of Kha-ling which was the original name of conquered Sanjaya of the central Jawa kingdom. Why Sailendra used the former name of ‘Kha-ling’, it was because Sailendra wanted to hide the fact that Srivijaya had conquered Sanjaya kingdom in 686. The reason is that the Tang Dynasty had strictly prohibited the conflict and war among its subordinate states. Therefore, Sailendra had to use the name of ‘Kha-ling’ for the tribute missions to Tang.

About Jayavarman II, a British archaeologist Quaritch Wales in his book "Towards Angkor 1937, p221)” said as following:

“'This great king (Jayavarman II) had ruled for sixty-seven years (actual official period on the throne 32 year is: 802-834,) from the time when, in his extreme youth, he was sent by the King of the Mountain to occupy the Khmer throne.”

' The King of the Mountain ' means without doubt Maharaja of Srivijaya (at that time Sailendra Panankaran or his predecessor Dharmasetsu). The Srivijaya group probably wanted to retake the old Funan places.

I agree with Q. Wales. However, most scholars ignore this fact. C. Jacques and M. Vickery say nothing about this theory. Former Angkor period (Chenla) kings and the Angkor (after Jayavarman II) Dynasty were clearly different, considering the wide spread of Mahayana Buddhism and big irrigation reservoir construction in the Angkor times. And most historians do not touch the problem that Angkor had not sent tribute to China for nearly 300 years (814~1116).

In the past, Srivijaya adopted 'marines'(navy soldiers) tactics for war. For instance, in 683 Dapunta Hyang used navy to occupy Palembang, and left there the victory monument called the ‘Keducan Bukit’ inscription dated 683. Dapunta Hyang was later appointed to the king of Palembang (king Jayansa). He was a Mahayana Buddhist with tantrism, who left ‘Talang Tuwo’ inscription dated in 684. Mahayana Buddhism was the main religion of Srivijaya group. In 686, Dapunta Selendra (Sailendra) attacked Kha-ling (the central Jawa) with huge fleet. Around 760, Srivijaya occupied the major ports of Chenla with the navy of Sailendra. The commander was Jayavarman II. He had conquered the whole Cambodia until around 790 and in 802 declared ‘independence from Java”.

Since the declaration of Jayavarman II's throne of Kambu in 802, the Angkor Dynasty had officially started. It lasted until the middle of the 15th century.

The most remarkable matter is that the Angkor Dynasty had ceased sending the tributary mission to China during 814 until 1116 for nearly 300 years. Another problem is Angkor itself had no strong navy which Jayavarman II might have returned to Srivijaya after the victory. This means Angkor had given up foreign trade. On the other hand, Angkor had started giant irrigation projects. That means Angkor government had strategy to increase the production of rice more efficiently. The rulers might have economic philosophy that farmers and vast paddy fields are the resources of wealth.

Jayavarman II made up the grand design of the Angkor Kingdom’s development while he had stayed at Phnom Kulen. Jayavarman II probably had stayed Phnom Kulen for nearly 20 years, because recently, the ruins of a big ancient city were discovered at the foot of Phnom Kulen, now covered with jangle. Judging from this huge ruin of the city, Kulen must have had longer history than we suppose today.

The first, most striking different point of the Angkor Dynasty from the pre-Angkor (Chenla) Dynasty is the production method of the wet-rice. Rice crop increased drastically with the construction of the big irrigation system reservoir (Baray). By Baray, the Khmer farmer could plant wet-rice in the dry season.

The Second point is the expansion of Mahayana Buddhism. The economic life of the farmers, too, seems to have improved rapidly with the development of irrigation system. There was an effect to make the inner life of the farmers to be stable with the worship of Mahayana Buddhism. Basically, Sivaism is the religion of kings and rulers, and had nothing to do with farmers. Mahayana Buddhism is the religion of the common people. Through Mahayana Buddhism, the communication between rulers and farmers bacame easier and frequent.

The third point is the construction of numerous giant stone temples and castles, such as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Phimai, etc. The rulers had accumulated huge wealth, and they spent wealth on the construction of huge temples and palaces.


The Angkor kingdom, the tributary mission to China had been prohibited by Srivijaya, and the outer economic development of the Angkor Dynasty was limited. As the result, development of Angkor was in a sense, of ‘inward’ tendency, even though Angkor wanted to expand its influence in Champa and some kings invaded Laos and Yun-nan.


4-2 Jayavarman II

Jayavarman II was the first king of the Angkor Dynasty.

Jayavarman II had left very few inscriptions and had not been recorded by the Chinese chronicles so we have little evidence about him. Only the Sdok Kak Thom inscription (SKT=K235) dated 1053 in the reign of Udayādityavarman II, tells us his history however it was made nearly 200 years later after his death. M. Vickery says SKT inscription is fictitious. However, this inscription gives a list of royal succession from Jayavarman II to Udayadityavarman II and all the names of the high priests of tutelary deities of Kambuja with a catalog of pious work, religious foundation and so on (Sharan, p256).

The SKT inscription recounts that on the top of the Kulen mountain, Jayavarman II instructed Brhaman, Hiranhadama to conduct a religious ceremony as the cult of the 'Devaraja' which placed him as a 'Chakravatin', universal monarch. In 802, he declared independence from 'Java.' But no other inscription was left to record this event.

Jayavarman II is said to have returned from 'Java' around 770, but not sure and his exact age was unknown, but he left his inscription dated in 770 at Kompong Cham and in 781 at Kratie. Another inscription of the early 10th century is recently found at Tbang Khmum, Kompong Cham. On which Yasovarman left his name in the lineage of Yasovarman's family. (below, Prof. T.S. MaxwelI translated 8th May 2014).  

'Java' , in this case means the Malay Peninsula (Srivijaya), probably Chaiya area, and not the ‘Jawa Island’. Jayavarman II died in 834, so he must have landed in early 20 years old.  Moreover, he could not have 'returned' alone, because he had started conquering the whole Cambodia. Without doubt he had been supported by Śailendra (Srivijaya) army. That means he was probably a member of royal family of Srivijaya and was assigned the commander of Srivijaya (Śailendra) army.

Jayavarman II had left no inscription of these incidents for nearly 200 years, so probably he had little local roots and back ground, and had come from outside of Cambodia. He probably came from Java', but it meant the Malay Peninsula. However, he seems to have some connection with Aninditapura family, because he got strong support from them. Jayavarman II picked up two young generals, Sivakaivalya and Sivavinduka brothers as the leaders of army. The sister of them, Svamini Hyang Amrita became his wife, who were from Aninditapura family, but major troops were from Srivijaya (Sailendra). Rudravarman (not the king of Funan), who worked at Roluos with Jayavarman II was a member of Aninditapura family and a remote relative of Jayavarman II. However, the names of Jayavarman's parents are unknown.

In the past Srivijaya had assigned as the commanders of invading force from their royal families, for instance 'Dapunta Hyang ' in case of Palembang and ' Dapunta Selendra' in case of Pekalongan (the central Jawa).

Before invading Cambodia, several important events happened in this region, but almost everything is not recorded and left as ‘missing link’.

After the victory of the Chaiya area against the invader from Water Chenla around 760, Srivijaya (Sailendra) navy had proceeded to the Mekong River and probably killed a Chenla king. Srivijaya sent back his skull to the prince of Chenla. The similar story is written by Sulaiman as quoted its translation by Q. Wales ("Towards Angkor", p175-178): 

“An Arab merchant, Sulaiman by name, who travelled through the empire of Zabag (Srivijaya) around 851, has handed down to us the following account which tells us exactly how the matter came out, and is of such lively interest that I shall quote it below. In this case the Cambodian king brought the trouble upon himself, though one can well imagine that the King of the Mountain, or Maharaja as he is termed by the Arab writer, was not averse to taking advantage of the opportunity offered. As we know from other sources, these events took place in the last half of the eighth century, following quickly on Śailendra's southern conquests.”


They say that formerly there was a Khmer king who was young and rash. One day he was sitting in his palace which overlooked a river resembling the Tigris (from the palace to the sea the distance was a day's journey), and his minister was with him. He was discussing with his minister the grandeur of the kingdom of the Maharaja of Zabag and of its immense population, and of the large number of islands which it comprised. “I have a desire,"said the king,"that I should like to satisfy." The minister, who was sincerely devoted to his sovereign, and who knew with what rashness he often made up his mind, replied, "What is your Majesty's desire?" The latter answered, "I wish to see the head of the Maharaja, King of Zabag and before me on a plate." The minister understood that it was jealousy that had suggested this to his sovereign, and said, "I do not like it, your Majesty, to hear my sovereign express such a desire. The peoples of Cambodia and Zabag have as yet shown each other no hatred, and Zabag has done us no harm. It is a distant land, and its king has shown no wish to attack us. No one must hear about this desire, and it must never be repeated. "The Khmer king was angry with his minister, and ignoring the advice of his wise and loyal counsellor, repeated the proposal before the generals and courtiers who were present.

The idea spread from mouth to mouth, until it reached the knowledge of the Maharaja of Zabag himself. The latter was energetic and experienced monarch, who had then reached a mature age. He called his minister and informed him of what he had heard, adding, "After the proposal that the foolish Khmer king has made in public concerning a desire which is born of his youth, I must take steps in the matter. To take no notice of these insults would be no humble myself before him. "The King ordered his minister to keep this conversation secret, and to go and prepare a thousand ships of moderate size, to equip them. And put on board arms as many valiant troops as possible. To explain the situation, it was given out that the Maharaja intended to make a tour among islands of his kingdom; and he wrote to the governors to warn them of the tour that he was going to make. The news spread everywhere, and the governors of each island prepared to receive the Maharaja.

When the King's orders had been executed and the preparations were finished he embarked, and with his fleet set sail for Cambodia. The Khmer king had no suspicion of what was going on until the Maharaja had arrived at the river which led to the capital and had landed his troops. These invested the capital by surprise, surrounded the palace, and seized the King. The people fled before the invaders. But the Maharaja proclaimed by public criers that he guaranteed the safety of everybody; and then he seated himself on the Khmer king's throne and ordered the captive monarch to be brought before him. He said to the Khmer king, "Why did you formulate a desire which was not in your power to satisfy, which could not have done you any good if it had been satisfied, and which would not even have been justified if it had been possible?" The Khmer king did not reply, and the Maharaja continued: "You wished to see my head before you on a plate. If you had similarly desired to seize my kingdom or to ravage part of it I should have done the same to Cambodia, but as you only wished to see my head cut off I shall return to my own country without taking anything from Cambodia of value great or small. My victory will serve as a lesson to your successors, so that no one will be tempted in future to undertake a task beyond his powers, or to desire more than fate has in store for him. "He then had the Khmer king beheaded, and addressing the Khmer minister, said, "I am going to recompense you for the good that you tried to do as minister, since I know well that you had wisely advised your master. What a pity for him that he did not listen! Now seek somebody who can be a good king after this madman and put him on the throne instead. "

The Maharaja left at once for his own country, and neither he nor his followers took anything away from the Khmer country. When he returned to his own kingdom he seated himself on his throne, which looked over a lake, and he had the Khmer king's head placed before him on a plate. Then he called together the dignitaries of his kingdom. And told them what had happened and why he had undertaken this expedition against the Khmer king. On learning this, the people of Zabag prayed for blessings to be bestowed upon their ruler. The Maharaja then had the Khmer king's head washed and embalmed, and placing it in a vase and had it sent to the new Khmer king, together with a letter to the following effect: "I was obliged to act as I did because of the hatred that the former king manifested against me, and we have chastised him to serve as a lesson to those who might wish to imitate him." When the news of these events reached the kings of India and China the Maharaja rose in their estimation. Since that time the kings of Cambodia every morning turn their faces towards Zabag and bow to the earth to do homage to the Maharaja.


This original script was from G. Ferrand in his work "L ' Empire Sumatranais de Çrivijaya, in Journal Asiatique (1922)”

 Selaiman's story does not necessarily coincide with the actual incident. But it is sure that similar rumor was well known among Arab merchants.

My hypotheses are as following; Khmer (Water Chenla) invaded Chaiya, the capital of Srivijaya and occupied there around 745, then the allied army of Srivijaya counter attacked Khmer soon, around 760. The main force was the navy of Śailendra from the central Jawa Island. After the victory of revenge war in the Malay Peninsula, the Srivijaya invaded Cambodia along the Mekong River and killed a king of Water Chenla and occupied some important ports. Then Srivijaya made the strategy to occupy the whole Cambodia and as the commander, young Jayavarman II had been assigned. At that time, he was early 20 years old. He was probably a prince of the royal family of former Funan. He is said to have landed Cambodia around 770. Within less than 30 years, the political map of this region changed drastically. Combodia was unified again by Srivijaya group militarily.


4-2-1 Jayavarman II conquered Cambodia

Claude Jacques says in his "Angkor cities and temples, 1997, River Books Co., Ltd" as follows.

"In 790, a young prince became king, taking the name of Jayavarman II. He was a descendant of the great family of Khmer kings whose lineage went back to the princes of Aninditapura. He came from 'Java' where he is assumed to have been 'held prisoner' with his family. It may have lain in the region of present-day Malaysia, but it was probably not the island of Java itself. Jayavarman II assumed power in the kingdom Vyadhapura in the general area of the town now called Prei Veng in south-east Cambodia”. (C. Jacques, p61) However, a prince of Aninditapura had no reason to go to Malaysia. Aninditapura family had no reason to be captured by Srivijaya.

M. Vickery says Vyadhapura had included Ba Phnom and its mountain. Vydhapura was important in the Angkor royal genealogies because it was the original chiefdom of Angkor’s founder (M. Vickery, Toyo, p398)

 Probably he was a prince of the royal family of former Funan. In Cambodia Srivijaya navy may have occupied Vyadhapura (Prei Veng) beforehand and where would become the front base of Srivijaya.

C. Jacques continues; "Jayavarman II seized the kingdom of Sambhupura, today's Sambor, south of Kratie. As his capital, he chose Indrapura, present day Banteay Prei Nokor, although not rich in monuments it is marked out by a two and half kilometre-square earth bank, which in fact lies at the presumed frontier between the two kingdoms about 40 km south-east of Kompong Cham town. "(C. Jacques, p61)

 At first, Srivijaya's strategy was to occupy the major ports of the Mekong River, then Jayavarman II might have proceeded to conqer the whole Cambodia. By using a strong navy, to occupy the ports along the Mekong River was easy job for Jayavarman II. His problem was how to invade the center of Cambodia, especially the north of the lake Tonle Sap and Battambang area.  

C.Jacques considers that pursuing his conquests northwards he reached Wat Phu in the southern Laos, where was a big shrine. He then made his way along the southern part of the Dangrek Ranges and finally took the kingdom of Aninditapura, setting in its capital Hariharalaya somewhere in the region of Roluos. (C. Jacques, p61)

M. Vickery has different thinking that Jayavarman II occupied Bhavarapura first, 30Km from Kompong Thom. Bhavapura used to be the capital of pre-Angkor kingdom before Jayavarman I, which had maintained the political influence among Chenla group, even thogh the capital of ‘Land Chenla’ moved to Kratie and Sambor on the Mekong River. Thereafter Jayavarman II proceeded into the Thonle Sap Lake by fleet of long boats and went westwards to occupy Battambang area and came back to the Angkor area, northern part of the Tonle Sap and settled at Phnom Kulen. He finally moved to Roluos (Hariharalaya) to construct new capital.

Jayavarman II went to Battambanga, like Isanavarman and Jayavarman I, to control that outlet to the Gulf of Siam, and the area which was rich rice-growing region.  Jayavarman II brought people from Vyadhapura to settle at Amoghapura in Battambang. (M.Vickery, Toyo, p396) 

Coedès says he found a reference to the Siva of Vyadhapura on the mountain in an inscription near Ba Phnom, and concluded Vyadhapura had been the capital of Funan (特牧城、Te-mu)(Coedès, p68).  M.Vickery adds that Vyadhapura was important in Angkor royal genealogies because it was the original chiefdom of Angkor’s founder (M.Vickery,Toyo, p398).                               

I think the hyphothesis of M. Vickery has some reasons, because for a big army, it was difficult to take on land route due to the logistics problem and traffics.  

 Concerning the origin of Jayavarman II, both scholars are not correct. The reason why Jayavarman II conquered whole Cambodia with big army was not properly explained. Another point is why he could not have sent the tributary mission to Tang after 814, was not explained at all. Both scholars deny the influence of Srivijaya over the Angkor Dynasty.

 After Jayavarman II had set up the first military base at Kompong Cham area, he mainly used river and lake for moving his fleet. He had conquered many small kingdoms and chiefdoms. His principality in Cambodia was to unify them into a single 'Angkor Dynasty'.

 It is strange to say the personal history of Jayavarman II is only recorded in the inscription of Sdok Kak Thom (SKT) near Aranyaprathet far from Angkor dated in 1053, more than 200 years after his death.

 Other inscriptions of Jayavarman II are dated 770 and 781 which are very simple and nominal


The inscription dated 770 was discovered at Preah Theat Preah Srei in Tboung Khmum prefecture in the Kompong Cham district and only 'Jayavarman's name' is written who funded in donation.

If the name of Jayavarman in this inscription meant Jayavarman II, he might have made there the military base, after landing at Kompong Cham. Kompong Cham was economically the most developed area and the territory of Adhyapura family. Probably Jayavarman I also had lived here, but he died nearly one century before.

Sailendra (new Kha-ling) began the tribute in 768. Within 2 years later, Sailenrda (Srivijaya) began to take the military action in Cambodia. Before this action, Srivijaya had already retaken Chaiya area from Water Chenla, and probably proceeded to the Mekong River and ocupied some important cities. However, Wen-dan (文単、Land Chenla’s subordinate) had sent tribute in 767 and 769 to the Tang Court. Land Chenla continued sending mission afterwards in 780 and 798. Judging from the tributary record, the northern part of Land Chenla had survived until early 9th century in the northern Dangrek Ranges. Probably Jayavarman II could not have sent army so fast to the northern part, because his main force was navy.

Jayavarman II had returned from 'Java' and he pushed forward his army to many places in Cambodia. After crushed major enemies, he came to Phnom Kulen, north of the Tonle Sap Lake. He seemed came to Phnom Kulen much earlier than 802, and constructed his capital there. At Phnom Kulen area he made his capital with many residents. Recently ruins of the big capital city were found by ‘aero-razor survey’.

In 802, He made declaration of independence from 'Java’. It is the outline to have become the initiator of the Angkor Dynasty as the world king ‘Chacravartin’ and he erected a symbol of king, a linga named' Kamaraten jagat ta raja ' as a Sivaite king, meaning 'God King'. The king who has such a title was the first in Cambodia.

All authority was centered on this king, so to speak. This was the declaration of centralization of power. It is a mystery about in what form he returned from ‘Java’. It is certain that the old Chenla rulers in the south of the Dangrek Ranges surrendered to Jayavarman II, but some rulers in the northern area might not be conquered at that time.

Above ceremony is described in the SKT inscription. But this contains some fictitious matters. Jayavarman II behaved as a ‘Sivaite’ king same as the former Chenla kings. However, Mahayana Buddhism spread rapidly during the early stage of Angkor time. Had he really declared independence from 'Java' or Srivijaya?  Practically, he needed some kinds of political gesture as a ‘real Cambodian king’ to the local people and chieftains.

M. Vickery says the SKT inscription is fiction. At least there may be some distortion and exaggeration of facts. Inscription is usually good evidence, but the SKT inscription was made after 200 years of Jayavarman II’s death. There is no other evidence to support the contents of the SKT inscription. Jayavarman II is said to have returned from Java, but where is Java? Coedès thought he was involved internal power struggle of Chenla, and he had fled to the island of Java, then Sailendra Dynasty ‘declined’, so he returned to Cambodia. But around 770, Sailendra had just entered the ‘golden age’ after the victory against Water Chenla. Sailendra started construction of the Borobudur Temple, the world biggest Mahayana Buddhism temple. Coedès also says that he was only distantly related to the ancient dynasties of pre-Angkorian Cambodia: he was the great-grandnephew through the female line of Pushkaraksha, the prince of Aninditapura who became king of Sambhupura (Sambor), and Jayavarman II was the nephew of a King Jayendradhipativarman about whom we know nothing. (Coedès, English p97) This story is also doubtful. Nobody knows the parent of Jayavarman II.

The inscription of ‘Prasart Kandol Dom (North) says Indravarman I was the grandson of Jayendradhipativarman, who was the maternal uncle of Jayavarman II. But Briggs doubts the fact. (Briggs, p64)

Jayavarman II had not come to Cambodia alone. He was surely the commander of Srivijaya army, and landed with strong navy, near Kompong Cham at the center of Water Chenla. Jayavarman II settled down at the first capital of Vydhapura which was occupied by Srivijaya and proceeded to the Land Chenla’s capital Kratie slightly north of Sambor, where was governed by a queen. However, Jayavarman II’s intention was to conquer the whole Cambodia. C. Jacques said that he attacked and occupied Wat Phu area. However, Wat Phu had not strategic importance at the end of the 8th century. C. Jacques said they took on land route along the south of the Dangrek Ranges after Wat Phu. M. Vickery thinks a little differently that Jayavarman II settled down first at ‘Banteay Prei Nokor’ where was the capital of Water Chenla, thereafter he cleared along the Mekong River side such as Kratie and finally went forward to the west.

Jayavarman II had to proceed through the Tonle Sap Lake to the western area, Battambang where he destroyed the strong enemy. M. Vickery thought the army occupied the first capital of Chenla, Bhavaputra, 30 kilometers north of Kompong Thom and then crossed over the Tonle Sap Lake, and occupied Battambang.

Jayavarman II probably used mainly navy, which was traditional force of Srivijaya. The rowers of boats fought in case of battle like ‘modern marines’. Land battalions for long-distance march on land had not been proper considering road and climate conditions. Jayavarman II finally occupied the area of Siem Reap (Angkor)

Map 9 Kingdom of Angkor

M. Vickery admits Jayavarman II came from abroad, so his inscription is rare. He did not leave inscriptions in the region where he had little support of residents. M. Vickery points out that Jayavarman II really came back from ‘Java’ but this ‘Java’ was ‘Champa’. He says in Cambodia language, ‘Java/Chvea and the Cham is the common. (M. Vickery, Toyo, p29)

M.Vickery’s theory is unrealistic in this case. A lonely prince could not have a strong army in the neighboring land, and he could not have mobilized a big army to conquer Chenla. Only Srivijaya had strong military force to conquer Chenla.

Q. Wales considers: “Still more important is a Cambodian inscription which tells us that in 802 a king named Jayavarman, who came from ‘Java,’ ascended the Khmer throne. The use of ‘Java’ in these inscriptions does not necessarily mean the modern island of Java, but any part of the empire Javaka (mainly the Malay Peninsula), especially its capital.” (Q. Wales, p179) Q. Wales is a rare historian who knew the real meaning of ‘Java’.

 Since the beginning of the (South, Liu) Song Dynasty, ‘Java’ (She-po= 闍婆) in many cases means the Malay Peninsula. However, many historians often consider ‘Java’ is the Jawa Island. This is the starting point of ‘misguided history’.

At Phnom Kulen, Jayavarman II had performed various ceremonies, at the same time, Jayavarman II had made up the future strategy how to develop the country. He had decided to move to Hariharajaya, Roluos 15 km the north of the Tonle Sap Lake. Then he started to construct big irrigation system (Baray), to increase productivity of rice production. The big reservoir could supply enough water to the paddy field in the dry season, Roluos became his final capital. His basic economic policy was to increase production of rice as much as possible by constructing giant irrigation reservoir.

Jayavarman II had to gather many staff for the construction of ‘Baray’, and his remote relative, Rudravarman came to Roluos and supported his works. Probaby Rudraman’s family had supported Jayavarman II from the beginning.

Hence after the choice of Hariharalaya, (Roluos), Jayavarman II designed and constructed the giant irrigation project. That policy was practiced continually by later kings. It was the basic philosophy of the Angkor Dynasty that farmers’ labor was a sole source of wealth, because Angkor could not rely upon the international trade like Funan. Sufficient water was available for the irrigation of Angkor area, and water was supplied by the rivers from Phnom Kulen mountain side.

It should be called ‘national projects’ of the Angkor Dynasty. Of course, Pre-Angkor Chenla made irrigation ponds at many places, but all of them were small-scale, so they could not have increased rice production so much and Pre-Angkor Chenla could not have large centralized political power. On the contrary, many of small local rulers had gained economic and political independence all over Cambodia.

 Jayavarman II picked up two young generals, Sivakaivalya and Sivakinduka brothers as the leaders of army. The sister of them, Svamini Hyang Amrita became his wife. They were family members of Aninditapura.

 The chief of staff, Prithivinarendra said ‘burning like fire the enemy troops’. At Malyang (south of Battambang), the resistance might have been strong. Malayang was the nearest place to Chantaburi, port of the Gulf of Thailand, which is near to Chaiya and Nakohn Si Thammarat (Ligor).

After this war, above two brothers were given the conquered lands. (Briggs, p83) Sivakaivalya was given the position of purohita (chief priest) of Devaraja cult later, and his family had maintained its position until 1053 after the death of Suryavarman I. In Cambodia, these priests were supposed to be the mediators between the king and the God. At the same time, they might keep record about what had happened in the court.

About the religion of Funan, according to the South Ji Shu (南斉書), Funan king Kaundinyua Jayavarman in 484 sent an envoy Indian Brahman Nagasena (believed to be a Buddhist) to the court , and he explained about the religion of Funan, that people worshiped together with the King, ‘Maheshvara (Siva God)’. And the God guaranteed people ‘peace and prosperity’ so they worshiped the God. The king was considered as divine. His ‘ego’ or ‘will’ was preserved and it was not allowed to diminish or extinguish after his death.

The people of Ban Ban believed in Bhuddhism and many Funan staff staying there also accepted Buddhism. So, naturally Buddhism began to spread into Funan and finally Buddhism became the religion of Funan (later Srivijaya). So, the rulers of Funan had knowledge of Buddhism and the number of Buddhists increased rapidly in the middle of the 6th century.

During the Pre-Angkor (Chenla) times, Siva and linga had been worshiped by kings and their subordinates and people were probably prohibited officially to worship Buddhism as Yi-Jing wrote. Wat Prei Van stone inscription of Jayavarman I dated 687, located in Ba Phnom (probably the oldest Buddhist inscription of Cambodia), mentions about Buddhism. However, the inscription of Buddhism was very rare in the Pre-Angkor Chenla. It appears that during this period Buddhism was subjected to some sort of apathy by the administration (Sharan, p280-281).

However, at the Angkor Dynasty, the attitude for Buddhism changed largely. The Kok Sambhor inscription of the reign of Rajandravarman II (944-968) gives a description of complementary attitude towards the Sangha, Lord Buddha and Buddhism. (Sharan, p281).

Hynayana entered Kambuja after Mahayana. Only one inscription related to Hynayana sect of Buddhism has been found at Lopburi (Thailand). It is dated in the Saka Samvat 944-947 (about 1025 A.D.), when Suryvarman I was on the throne (Sharan, p282). Hynayana Buddhism believed brought by the Mon people from Burma, Thaton area.

 Among the Hindus there had been some cults in Cambodia, which were Sivaism, Vaisnavisi and Brahmanism. There was a case one sect constructed temples and installed status of gods belonging to other sects. Bhavavarman installed a linga of Siva, he allowed also established the statues of Durga, Sanbhu and Vishnu.  He granted donations to the shrines of Siva and Vishnu, but Buddhism was rejected. However, among the common people, Buddhism survived in the part of the lower Mekong region, and Mahayana bodhisattva images dated from this period were often found. (History of Buddhism in Cambodia, Wikipedia.)

Jayavarmman II established the cult of ‘Devaraja’ as the official religion of the Angkor Dynasty. In the Angkor period (802-1432), the Devaraja cult seems to have been the basic religion. It is generally believed to have been introduced in Cambodia by Jayavarman II. It is called ‘Kamaraten Jagat ta Raja’ in Khmer language. These words were found in the Sdok Kak Thom inscription (SKT=K235) dated 1053.  Some scholars point out that the only new thing what Jayavarman II did, was the installation of royal linga whose names are initially associated with the names of the founders. Before him, since the second Kaundinya, it seems the official religion of Funan and Chenla had been the worship of a Sivalinga as ‘Maheshvara’, which was set up in a temple on a mountain in the capital. Such a mountain was regarded as ‘Mt. Meru (sacred mountain)’. Jayavarman II had changed the identity of the king with Siva (Briggs, p90).

When Jayavarman II assumed a king, he became a ‘Chackravartin Raja’, and he invited a Braman named Hiranyadama from Bharatavasra (India) for teaching Tantra Vidya to his royal priest Sivakaivalya. In religious terms, the priest Sivakaivalya (Guru=spiritual guide), at the ceremony crowned as ‘King’. Sivakayvalya family held the hereditary position of hotar (royal chaplain) and purohita (chief priest) of the Devaraja for two and half centuries, from 802 to 1053. (Briggs, p82).  Sivakaivalya family had maintained the top position of the chief priest of Devaraja from the coronation of Jayavarman II (in 802) until the death of Suryavarman I (in 1050). The worship of the newly installed Devaraja will not be performed by any Brahman other than those belonging to the family of descendant of Sivakaivalya. And as per this decision the post of Rajapurohita remained with this family for about 250 years (Sharan, p259).

The family of Sivakaivalya came originally from the sruk (village) of Satagrama in Aninditapura. The kurung (king) of Bhavapura had given them a piece of land in Indrapura and there they had founded the sruk of Bhadrayogi and erected a Sivalinga (Briggs, p82).

Hiranyadama, Brhaman skilled in witchcraft (magic technology) came from Jayapada, because Jayavarman II invited him to perform a ceremony that would declare independence from ‘Java’. By this ceremony Kambujadesa was said to be free from ‘Java’(Srivijya). Hiranyadama taught Saivakaivalya how to prepare the ritual to create a new DevarajaKing of the earth).

. The purohita of the Devaraja was also a hotar; but there were other hotar (Briggs, p90).  At the same time, Devaraja has become the established faith and the official religion of the Angkor kingdom. It can be said that the religion is ‘the deification of the King’. On the other hand, Mahayana Buddhism as a religion in public widespread, and the adoption to the ruler maintains the connection with the people. Kirttivarman was the minister of Jayavarman II. It was because of him that Buddhism could come out of very troublesome days. Along with the Hindu gods and goddesses many images of Buddha and Buddhist gods of Mahayana school have been found. The Khmer monuments contain images of the Buddha at various places (Sharan, p283).

 However, in a recent study, there is a theory that Jayavarman II ruled the mundane world, but chief priest such as high priest Sivakaivalya (purohita) reined in the world of God as a God-King. Jayavarman II was friendly to and sponsored Buddhist officially throughout his kingdom. Especially Guanyin Bodhisattva (観音菩薩) was worshiped widely as symbols of Mahayana Buddhism in Cambodia. There might be relation with the religious policy of the rulers of Srivijaya who had faith in Mahayana Buddhism. Ordinary people had been friendly with Mahayana Buddhism since Funan period and Jayavarman II was supporter of Mahayana Buddhism. When Jayavarman II died in 834, he was given posthumous name ‘Paramesvara= Siva incarnate or Supreme Lord’.

Anyway, we cannot solve the mystery of history only depending on the Sdok Kak Thom Inscription. The story of Jayavarman II after 200 years without any evidence cannot be exact. The Sdok Kak Thom inscription would have to be interpreted with hidden political purpose. It is unclear how during the previous 200 years they had kept the records. Probably the top priests had kept records about them.

If this inscription was placed at Angkor, it might have been destroyed easily. In the 13th century, Siva fanatic Jayavarman VIII had destroyed many inscriptions of the Buddhists’ kings, especially ‘Phimeanakas inscription’, and Buddhism images and temples especially Jayavarman VII had built. Jayavarman VIII seems to have had a special hostility to Buddhism and Jayavarman VII. The inscriptions on Jayavarman VII are very rare in Cambodia. Probably they were destroyed by Jayavarman VIII and his followers. If important inscriptions were destroyed, we could not trace the history.

The word ‘Kambuja’ appeared for the first time in the inscription of Champa, Po Nagar (Po Nagar-Nha Trang City) inscription dated 817 says the Senapati Par ravaged the cities of the Kanbuja, up to the middle of their country. But the word “Kambujalaksimi” (queen of Jayavarman II) as known in the early the 9th century.

Jayavarman II’s successors called him, ‘the guardian of the honour of the ‘Solar race’ of Sri Kambu.’ Yasovarman called his capital Yasodhrapuri as Kambupuri (Briggs, p88).

Jayavarman II probably had pretended he belonged to the ‘Solar race’ to hide the origin of his ’Lunar race' (= Funan kingdom). SKT inscription’s Angkor Dynasty history should not be accepted at face value.

Before or at the time of Jayavarman II’s war in Cambodia, Sailandra navy seems to have attacked the southern part of Champa. The Po Nagar Temple Inscription (dated 774) tells us that ‘terribly dark, skinny’ people attacked, robbed the lingam. Also, the inscription of Pang Hang (dated 787) west of Panduranga Temple tells they were attacked by ’Java.’ After these incidents (attack by Srivijaya), Linyi stopped the tribute to Tang. Huan wang (環王) was another Champa state, which sent the mission to Tang. Two times in ‘Wu-di(武徳) period (618-622) and in Zheng-Guan period (貞観=627-649and far later in 793.

When the North Song Dynasty (China) started in 960, at the same time Champa (占城) started sending the tributary missions very frequently until 1168. Da-shi (大食, Arab) later joined Champa mission since the beginning of the 11th century. 

4-2-2 Jayavarman II’s capital of Roluos

 Jayavarman II’s name is very rarely seen in inscription, however it appeared in an unexpected way. Roluos, Hariharajaya is located 15km away from east of Angkor. There is a temple called Preah Ko (Ko means Nandi, the sacred Bull, Siva's vehicle). The temple consists of 6 towers of which the front row 3 towers from left to right are for Rudravarman (Rudresvara), Jayavarman IIParamesvara and Prithivindravarman (Prithivindresvara, father of Indravarman I). In the rear towers, three images of the devi (=Pravati, wife of Siva) represented the wives of three kings, namaely Prthivindradevi, mother of Indravarman; Dharanindradevi, wife of Jayavarman II: and the wife of Rudravarman, who was Indravarman’s maternal grandmother

The center tower belongs to Jayavarman II (Paramesvara), but without any inscription. The left one is dedicated for king Rudravarman, who was a father of Indravarman I’s mother, but nothing to do with the last king of Funan. The right tower is dedicated for Indravarman’s father Prithivindravarman and his wife whose maternal grandfather was king Nripatindravarman. This temple was built by Indravarman 1 (rein; 877-889 years).

Photos 30... Preah Ko Temple

4-3 Yasovarman’s Inscription of Práḥ Thãt Khtom

Brief Introduction and Translation by Prof. T. S. Maxwell, Siem Reap, 8th May 2014

King Yaśovarman I ascended the throne as paramount ruler of Cambodia in the Śaka year 811 (=889 CE).  In that same year, he established numerous āśramas (monasteries) near already-established Hindu temples in the borderlands of his kingdom.  These were located particularly across the north, in the south and southeast, and at both ends of the Tonle Sap (in the modern provinces of Banteay Meanchey), Preah Vihear, Prei Veng, Kampot, Siem Reap and Kompong Cham, as well as in northeast Thailand and southern Laos. An āśrama was usually attached to a temple, but maintained its own discipline and functioned autonomously under the direction of a superior called the kulādhyakṣa or kulapati, himself a religious ascetic, who lived on the premises.  The connection between a temple and āśrama was often mentioned in donors’ inscriptions on the temple or on stone slabs (steles).

 Yasovarman (889-910) made long inscription (K.0110) at Kompong Cham province the Tboung Khmum the district, Preah Theat Prof. T.S. Maxwell made English translation and comment. As follows;

“(1) There was a descendant of the royal line of Aninditapura called Sri Puskaraksa (Lotus –Eyed) who obtained the kingship of Sambhupra (Siva's City). Firm in battle, he was the maternal uncle of the maternal uncle of the mother of the king who made his residence on the summit of Mount Mahendra (Kulen=Jayavarman II).

(2) Rajendravarman (I) was a descendant of the latter’s lineage, and had the succession of great kings of Vyadhapura in his mother’s linege. He combined all the good qualities, and he too obtained the kingship in Sambhupura

 (3) His renown was pure as a clear ray of moonlight. By (Queen) Nrpatinfradevi he had a son, namely king Mahipativarman, who was the foremost of warriors in battle, a Garuda to the serpent kings who were his arrogant enemies.

 (4) Now a twice-born (=Brahmin), Agastya by name, who stemmed from Aryadesa (=India) and knew the Vedas and Vedangas (=the holiest scriptures of orthodox Hinduism), and his noble queen of glittering lineage, celebrated by the famous as Yasomti 'The Famous, had a son named Sri-Narendravarman, who was impetuous in battle and the best of kings. That king had a Laksmi, as it were, for a daughter, and she was named Narendralaksmi.

(5) To her and king Rajapativarman-who in battle was a lion against the lordly elephants who were his enemies-was born (the princess) Rajendradevi, who seemed a child of the gods, and whose unblemished renown spread in all directions.

(6) To ensure the generation of a line of lion-like kings, King Mahipativarman fathered on her Queen Indradevi, of unusurped physical beauty and whose fame was pure as the Milk Ocean, just as the sun fathered Tapati.

(7) Then, to Sri-Jayavarman (Jayavarmna II), who made his residence on Mount Mahendra and whose feet were honored by the most eminent kings, a son with the splendor of the sun and complete valor was born.

(8) Lord of the earth (mahipati), he was a sovereign by birth, the prompter of fortune and victory, who was called Sri-Jayavardhana, but having assumed kingship he took the name Sri-Jayavarman, and his feet were placed on the heads of great kings.

(9) The younger brother of that paramount king’s (=Jayavarman II’s) grandmother, [a man] of conquering power, whose only thoughts were Rudra, who performed the feats of Rudra in battle, and whose nature was pure, was called Sri-Rudravarman.

(10) His (=Rudravarman’s) nephew (sister’s son), like an ocean containing virtues instead of treasures, intelligent and clever at extracting the earth’s treasures, just like Prthu (‘Far-and-Wide’, the mythical king who milked the earth as if it were a cow), and worthy of being praised by the lords of the earth –he as king, was named Sri-Prthivindravarman.

(11) [Meanwhile] the daughter of king Sri-Rudravarman was born like a crescent moon in the sky of this ruling lineage, a virtuous queen, like a maiden of the gods, whose mother was the daughter of Sri-Nrpathindravarman.

(12) They (Sri-Prthivindravarman and Sri-Rudravarman’s daughter) had a son-prince who was as a lion against the lordly elephants who were his enemies, worthy of praise by lion-lilke men and proud was as the Man-Lion himself (incarnation of Vishnu), whose perpetual fame reverberates around horizon-and he, Sri-Indravarman, bore all the world [that is. he became the paramount king]. (Indravarman reigned 877-889)]

(13) In a building made of stone (=Bakong) he (Sri-Indravarman) established a Linga of Siva named Sri-Indresvara, and six images of Siva and the Goddess all together (in Preah Ko), and he dug the superb lake Sri-Indratataka (the lake of Lolei). Preah Ko was founded in 879, Bakong in 881. Preah Ko consisted chiefly of six towers arranged in two rows of three and containing the six statues mentioned in this verse. Images of Siva were installed in front three towers, named from south to north as follows: Prthivindresvara, representing the after-death state King Prthivindravarman, father of Indravarman, in the south tower; Paramesvara, representing Jayavarman II, father of Indravarman’s predecessor and founder of the dynasty, in the central tower; and Rudresvara, representing Indravarman’s maternal grandfather, King Rudravarman, in the north tower. In the rear towers, three images of the devi (=Pravati, wife of Siva) represented the wives of three kings, namaely Prthivindradevi, mother of Indravarman; Dharanindradevi, wife of Jayavarman II: and the wife of Rudravarman, who was Indravarman’s maternal grandmother. Certain temples represented the official vamsa or genealogy of the kings who built them.

(14) Just as Karttikeya (God of War) was fathered by the Destroyer of Strongholds (purabhida=Siva) on the Daughter the Mountain, so His Majesty Sri-Yasovarmsn-a mass of fiery energy wielding the spear (like Karttikeya) to destroy the multitudes of his enemies-was fathered by that king whose fame extended in all directions on his chief queen, Sri-Indradevi [The physical birth of the king compared to the divine birth of the war god, again emphasizing Yasovarman’s warlike nature. Yasovarman reigned from 889-910.”
As above mentioned, Puskarakusa, of the Aninditapura family, was the maternal uncle of the maternal uncle of the mother of Jayavarman II.

However, M. Vickery says that Jayavarman II’s a distant ancestor of Puskarakusa is too vague and uncertain.

Jayavarman II’s grandmother’s younger brother was king Rudravarman. Jayavarman II had mobilized many army officers during battle and government officials to promote the big project of a large irrigation pond. Some of major staff were Rudravarman’s people including Indravarman I. Probably Indrvarman I was a chief staff of the project.

M. Vickery, quoting the theory of Dupont, adds above Rajendravarman (not Rajendravarman II), whom the official genealogies list the grandfather of Indradevi, queen of Indravarman I, is said to be a king of Sambhupura, and to have married Nrpatindradevi. (M. Vickery, Toyo, p399)

Bgriggs made following explanation about the wives of Jayavarman II;

“Jayavarman II’s queen was a niece of Rudravarman, who was ruling Dviradapura near Lovek in the latter part of the 8th century, and according to the inscription of Baksei Changkrong she was the paternal aunt of Indravarman I, who dedicated a funerary tower to her at Preah Ko, under the name of Dharanindradevi. According to the inscription of Palhal, Jayavarman II seems to have married the Svamini Hyang Amrita, called also Nripendradevi, younger sister of the Sivakaivalya who helped Prithivinarendra to subdue the country. A mutilated stele-inscription says Jayavarman II married Kambujalakshmi, called also Prana. A pillar inscription says his principal queen was Hyang Pavitra of Haripura and from her was descended Sivacarya, purohita of Jayavarman V and Suryavarman I. Another pillar inscription says his wife was Bhas-svamini and that from her was descended Yogisvarapandita, guru of Suryavarman I” (Briggs, p90).

 Jayavarman III’s name was not mentioned in above inscription and temple. He left his name on some other inscriptions. It is something unnatural, because Jayavarman III was supposed on the throne during 834-879. During his reign, the major projects including the construction of the Bakong tower and the big irrigation lake were started. But his name was erased from the history. Probably after 860, he must be killed. The beneficiary was Indravarman, and who ascended the throne of the Angkor Dynasty. Jayavarman III was the first Vaisnavite king (Vishnu) of the Angkor Dynasty, and the second king was Suryavarman II who embraced this sect.

In Srivijaya group, around 830, Sailendra kingship (Prince Balaputra) had been expelled from the Jawa Island by Sanjaya family. The control of Srivijaya group was temporarily collapsed during the 2nd half of the 9th century. For instance, Jambi kingdom sent its own mission to Tang in 852 and 871. But at the end of the 9th century, Srivijaya group formed the new polity ‘San-fo-chi (三仏斉)’, which sent its first mission to Tang in 904. During this period around 850-890, Srivijaya group possibly could not have controlled the Angkor Dynasty. In the latter half of the 9th century Indravarman family got some degree of independense from Srivijaya. But Indravarman I and Yasovarman could not have dominated everything, because they also could not be entirely free from of the influence of Srivijaya. And religious chief Sivakaivalya family also stayed at Angkor. Although Sivakaivalya died at Hariharalaya during the reign of Jayavarman II, he was succeeded by his sister’s son, Sukshmavindu who served as purohita of the royal linga during the reign of Jayavarman III (Briggs, p94). Later Pranavatman, Sikasanti and Kesavabhatta and others succeeded purohita, but the function of purohita was reserveved exclusively to the family of Sivakaivalya (Briggs, p95). Indravarman I succeeded to get throne formally in 877. However, he seems to be a kind of usurper. He ignored Jayavrman III and Buddhism.

King Jayavarman II's successor is his son, Jayavarman III. Inscriptions speak of him as having conquered his enemies and as having ruled his people wisely. Several inscriptions speak of him as a great elephant hunter and he seems to have lost his life in chase of elephants. (Briggs, p97). But when Jayavarman III was killed? Nothing tells us truth.
1 seems to have been a cousin of Jyavarman III or an inscription of the 10th century says Indravarman I was a nephew of the queen of Jayavarman II (Briggs, p97).  Indravarman I had grasped all the power and led the construction of the Preah Ko which is the mausoleum for his family. He also left his linga at the Bakong Tower. Jayavarman III was a Vishnu devotee and was only given his posthumous name 'Visnuloka. Even the Yasovarman’s inscriprion (above mentioned) tells nothing about Jayavarman III. Indavarman’s family seems to have been indiffernt to Buddhism, and they acted as if they were ‘Chenla’ kings.

Preah Ko was completed in 879, and the Bakong high tower was completed in 881, where Indravarman I set Siva lingam of himself. At his death in 889 Indravarman I received posthumous name Isvaraloka.
1 succeeded construction of giant irrigation reservoir, and during the dry season rice cultivation became possible, to increase rice productivity. This basic policy was also developed by Yasovarman, who moved to the Angkor area, Yasodharapura. Yasovarman built his castle at Phnom Bakheng. The central linga of which bore the name of Yasodharesvara. In 889, after a bitter power struggle with his brothers, Yasovarman succeeded throne. His mother was Queen Indradevi who was a descendant of the ancient royal family of Vyadhapura, Sambhupura and Aninditapura. His teacher was Braman Vamasiva, who belonged to the powerful priestly family assigned by Jayavarman II to the cult of the Devaraja.

The Angkor Dynasty forces expanded into the northeast areas of Thailand (northern Dangrek Ranges). From there Chenla had secured the trade routes to Yunnan province in China. In north and northeast Thailand, historically the Mons had lived and engaged in trade, manufacturing and agriculture. They were comparatively rich and had guarded their cities with army.


4-4 From Roluos to Angkor district

Jayavarman II and his successor Jayavarman III (835 - 877?) and Indravarman I (877-889) lived at Hariharajaya (Roluos), their capital. They made irrigation agriculture policy and constructed large reservoir, owing to the reservoir during the dry season wet-rice cultivation became possible. This strategy was a growth model for the Angkor Dynasty, constructing giant irrigation facilities. Later Yasovarman I left Roluos and went to Angkor (Siem Reap) area 15 km away to find new irrigation land. From here a new history of the Angkor Dynasty began.

In the same Roluos area, there are Preah Ko and pyramid-shaped pagoda (Bakong) were constructed, and at Lolei in which the island was made in the irrigation pond, on the opposite side of Roluos, which Yasovarman constructed a mausoleum for their ancestors (893, completed). Yasovarman had took over the throne after Indravarman I. It is said also there was a succession struggle among the brothers.

The Bakong Tower, Jayavarman III had started construction and completed in 881. The height of tower is 15m, and this tower assumed Mt. Meru, and became a model for many towers of Angkor times. However, the linga was for Indravarman I. Here also the name of King Jayavarman III was neglected by Indravarman I.

Photos 36 ; Bakong Temple

Indravarman I completed large reservoir for irrigation ‘Indratataka’, and later the Angkor Dynasty had completed several irrigation reservoirs which stocked excess water during the rainy season and in dry season rice was cultivated. Indratataka is 3.8km length and 800m width.

 4-4-1. Yasovarman transferred capital Angkor

A son of Indravarman I, Yasovarman (889-910) moved to his capital named Yasodharapura, 15 km from Hariharajaya, and constructed as his castle Phnom Bakheng at the Angkor capital, which is a Siva temple and palace.  He started the agricultural development project (construction of irrigation reservoirs, etc.). Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom (great city) and its vast irrigation reservoirs were completed later by Suryavarman II (1113 - 1149?) and Jayavarman VII (1181-1218).

 On the South side of West Baray, there was the remain of ‘AK Yom’ (Prasat Ak Yom). This is Cambodia's oldest pyramid-temple, which was constructed by Jayadevi and completed by Jayavarman II.  Here is the inscription of Jayadevi who had owned this area, dated in 713. But she inherited this area from her father Jayavarman I.

Photos 37 -Atop Phnom Bakheng

Photos 38... Phnom Bakheng Holy Bull (Nandi)

On the top of Phnom Bakeng, there are remains of linga and small towers. At the foot of the stairs of the pyramid there is a Nandin (sacred cow for Siva ride). On the East side of Phnom Bakheng, there is Yasodharatataka of length 7.5 km, width 1.38 km, depth 4-5 m of a huge irrigation reservoir called ‘East Baray’. There is an island in the middle of the pond known as the ‘East Mebon’ on which there is a temple. The temple is dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Buddha. He had built many temples in other places, such as the Preah Vihear temple at the border with Thailand. The number of farmers under Yasovarman’s reign increased significantly due to the expansion of the paddy field along irrigation. There were many officials of his administration to support development. Yasovarman had powerful army and expanded territory. But Yasovarman is said to be killed at the battle of Champa or he died of leper, so later no king wanted to inherit his name. ‘Yasovarman II’ appeared in 1160 but killed in 1165 by his minister. Yasovarman I received the posthumous Sivaite name of ‘Paramasivaloka’.

After his death, 2 sons Harsavarman I (910 - 922) and Isanavarman II (922 - 928) succeeded. Yasovarman I had married a daughter of his maternal uncle.

4-4-2 Jayavarman IV transferred capital to Koh Ker

 Jayavarman IV (928-941), who probably had been Isanabarman II’s vassal and had, since 921 at the latest, reigned at ‘Koh Ker’, the capital of a small kingdom some 100km northeast of Angkor. It is not known how the succession came about, but Jayavarman IV was an uncle by marriage of the preceding kings. (C. Jacques, p91).

According to the Baksei Chamkrong inscription Jayavarman IV married a sister of Yasovarman. He had to wait for the death of Isanavarman II (928), and took the throne by force. (Bgiggs, p 116). He had some trouble to live in Yasodharapura, because he was regarded as the ‘usurper’, then he had moved his capital to Koh Ker with the Devaraja (Chok Gargyar). At Koh Ker, he started construction of a new irrigation pond and temples. (Briggs, p 90). Koh Ker was called ‘Lingapura’. He never took care of Buddhism.

From Siem Reap to Koh Ker, with 100 km distance connected inconveniently, but from Koh Ker to Preah Vihear is nearer. Koh Ker is good for defence against enemy from the Mekong River (Srivijaya navy?), like Isanapura. He seems to have evaded the influence Srivijaya.

 He developed the culture there, such as Hindu deity images known as Koh Ker style. The scale of the ruins of Koh Ker is considerably immense.

This city might have been planned much earlier and the irrigation facilities have been constructed long before.  According to C. Jacques, Jayavarman IV has a career as a feudal vassal state since 921, as lord of the land of Koh Ker. As an irrigation pond length 1200 m, wide 560 m of the Rahal Baray is small size due to the hard rock. So, at Koh Ker, the further development of irrigation was impossible. Koh Ker was facing dead rock.

Jayavarman IV built here the 7 stories, height 35 m of the pyramid-temple,’Prasat Thom’. Lingam and Devaraja were enshrined at the top. His is given posthumous name ‘Paramasivapada’. In the main Meru mountain was assumed as the center of the world. The pyramid sandstone was used in abundance. It seems that large volume of iron was used in the cutting sandstone.

Iron production in Northeast Thailand (Isaan) made it possible to cut large volume of sandstone. Professor Eiji Nitta, Kagoshima University made archaeological excavation work at Ban Dong Phlong Ruins, Buriram Province, in Northeast Thailand. He discovered that since ancient times, iron making and salt making had been very active throughout the northeastern Thailand.

After the death of Jayavarman IV, his son succeeded him as Harshavarman II (941 - 944), who seems to be forced abdication or killed by his cousin, Rajendravarman II, who moved the capital back to Yashodharapura. Harshavarman II died in 944 and received the posthumous name of Brahmaloka.

Since Indravarman I (877~) to the end of Harshavarman II (~944), Buddhism had been neglected and behaved like former Chenla kings. Especially Jayvarman IV moved the capital to Koh Ker from Angkor. Srivijaya group had quietly watched their reigns, but finally might have taken an action.

4-5 Rajendravarman II and Jayavarman V

Rajendravarman II (944-968) is said to be a son of Yasovarman’s elder sister (Mahendradevi). M. Vickery says that Mahendrdevi’s parents are not clear, and added a Khmer inscription indicated that on her mother’s side she must have been daughter or granddaughter of Jayavarman III (M. Vickery, 1994, P13). Rajendravarman II succeeded his father King Mahendravarman several years before, decided to help his cousin Harshavarman II to mount and retain the supreme throne. He was not personally entitled to the succession but the struggle for his matrilineal ancestry incited him to seize the supreme throne on the death of his cousin in 944 (C. Jacques, p94).  He changed the preceeding regime of the Hinduist’ Angkor Dynasty877~944drastically. They were ardent Hinduists (worshipped Siva and Vishnu). He redesigned the Angkor Dynasty.
Rajendravarman II was said to be a great admirer of Yasovarman I and shifted his capital to Angkor from Koh Ker. At first
Rajendravarman II lived at Bhavaputra, he built a palace in 953 at Angkor. He was considered an intruder and was evidently unwelcome from the outset. Throughout his reign, he had to face numerous rebellions from Khmer chieftains. (C. Jacques, p95).

Briggs wrote about Rajendravarman II as follows; “The inscription of Baksei Chamkrong, at the foot of Pnom Bakheg, in Sanscrit, dated 946, gives the genealogy of Rajendravarman II. ….It mentions first the eponymous ancestor, Kambu Svayambhuva, and the apsaras Meru and their descendants ‘who have Srutavavarman for root’. Then comes the race having for chief of branch the King Sri Rudravarman (Funan) drawing their origin from Sri Kaundinya and the daughter of Soma. The first king of the family mentioned, after Rudravarman, was Jayavarman II, who is called ‘guardian of the honor of the solar of Sri Kambu’. As to Indravarman I, the inscription simply says that he was

the son of the maternal uncle of Jayavarman III (Briggs, p62). The above desciptions suggested Rajendravarman II had been supported by Srivijaya group.  The regime between Indravarman I and Harshavarman II seems to be somewhat unpleasant for Srivijaya group. Those kings excessively worshipped Hinduism (Siva and Vishnu) like kings of ’Chenla’ and neglected Buddhism, and they behaved as if they were kings of Chenla.

In the inscriptions of Rajendravarman II, the words of Buddhism began to appear; 1) Bat Chum Inscription (960), dedicates that sanctuary to the Buddha and the Bodisattava, Vjarapani, and Prajnaparamita. 2) Mebon Inscription (962) refered to ‘burning the city of Champa and his study of the Buddhist doctorine,

Briggs adds: “The inscription of Mebon, in the East Baray of Angkor Thom dated 952, says Rajendravarman II was of the Kaudinya-Soma line and that his mother was a descendant of Sarasvati (niece of Baladitya), and who married a brhaman, Visvarupa.”

“The Pre Rup inscription (dated 961), says Saravasti was the daughter of the sister of Bladitya, that King Nripatindravarman was a descendant of Sarasvati and the King Pushkaraksha was a son of Nripatindravarman and uncle of the uncle of the mother of Jayavarman II “(Briggs, p62).

This inscription wanted to say that Jayavarman II is a remote relative of Aninditapura (Baladitya) family. In spite of these inscriptions, the origin of Jayavaramn II is still not clear.

At Pre Rup, he restored the nearby temple of Baksei Chamkrong, a Siva temple. At East Baray he built a small island, called ‘East Mebon’ and on which Rajendravarman II built 5 towers over the 3 stories basement. It was dedicated to Yasovarman by his son, King Harshavarman I. The temple was completed by Rajendravarman II (944-968).

Buddhist chief minister, and architect Kavindrarimathana made many Buddhist foundations, as well as many works dedicated to Siva, had supervised the construction of the capital and its public buildings. C. Jacques adds; “There was no linga, but a golden statue called Paramesvara ‘(Jayavarman II) was erected in 947, Wednesday 23 February. From then on the temple was also the seat of the ‘spirits’ of all previous Khmer kings who are invoked in a splendid inscription which covers the whole of the tower’s gate-jambs. Thanks to this inscription we have a clue as to how the Khmers would rewrite their history at the time. (C. Jacques, p94)

 In the Angkor area at Pimeanakas he built a new pyramid temple and his palace there. Phimeanakas or Prasat Phimeanakas is a relatively small temple pyramid, 35 m long and 28 m wide and 12 m high, within the compound of the Royal Palace in Angkor Thom. The construction of Phimeanakas was started by Rajendravarman II, but subsequent kings made alterations to it, especially the long-reigning Suryavarman I.  But Jayavarman VII completed it and erected the ‘Phimeanakas Inscription’. It is predominantly a laterite structure, with some sandstone elements. There is an inscription on a door jamb, reused from an older temple of a minister of Yashovarman I.

Photo, Pimeanakas

Rajendravarman II attacked Champa in 946, and captured Po Nagar (Nha Trang) from where he took a Golden Goddess (Bhagavati) image. He established the Banteay Srei temple with red sand stone near the Phnom Kulen.

M. Vickery says that Rajendravarman II had established the real central government and solid administration system. At the same tim, after Jayavarman II until Rajendravarman II, all the kings seemed to ignore Buddhism. For instance, ‘Koh Ker’ is the city of ‘Sivaism’, without relics of Buddhism. Rajendravarman II made effort to foster Buddhism in Cambodia.

Rajendravarman II died in 968, his son Jayavarman V (968 - 1000) succeeded his father at the age of 10 years old. His relatives, ministers and scholars supported him. Jayavarman V sometimes ran into battle and threatened Champa. Harshavarman 1’s grandchildren Yajnyanavaraha and some other people who are familiar with medicine and astrology, an eminent Buddhist scholar undertook teaching of the young King. The most politically influential person was Saptadevakula from Northern India. He was Dr. (Bhatta) and married Jayavarman V’s younger sister Indralakshmi. His group was said to support Suryavarman 1 to take the throne as King of Angkor.

Rajendravarman II studied Buddhism intensely. Although he decided to remain a Sivaist, but he appointed a Buddhist, Kavindrarimathana, as the chief minister. Kavindrarimathana built shrines to Buddha and Siva. Jayavarman V remained a devotee of Siva. However, he permitted his own chief minister, Kirtipandita, to foster Mahayana Buddhism. He imported one hundred thousand texts of Buddhism.

During Rajendravarman II and Jayavarman V reign, Buddhism was raised to a level of Sivaism by dressing Buddha’s images in Sivaic forms and its rites performed in the same forms as Sivaism and through Sivaite agencies (Sharan, p229). Why both most important ministers selected by kings were Buddhists? I think there is a shadow of Srivijaya behind them.  When Rajendravarman shifted the capital from Koh Ker to Siem Reap, there might be serious resistnace. In Angkor, he faced many enemies against him. He got victory over many enemes, because probably he had strong power, or army. The resource of his army might be support from Srivijaya. After he took the throne, he propagated Mahayana Buddhism, before him all kings were devotees of Siva and Vishnu, like Chenla kings. Rajendravarman certainly fulfiled a religious revolution in the Angkor Dynasty.

39-1 And 2. Banteay Srei (2 pieces)

Rajendravarman II died in 968 in battle with Champa. His posthumous name is Sivaloka. Jayavarman V took the throne immediately. In this year Banteay Srei with red sandstone near Phnom Kulen was completed, which was called the ‘Temple of women’. Also, Jayavarman V started construction of Preah Vihear temple (completed by Suryavarman 1) near Thai border. He officially worshiped Sivaism, but Mahayana Buddhism became prevailed in his era. The minister of Buddhist Kirtipandita was ordered to spread Buddhism.

In his time, many scriptures and documents related to Buddhism were imported in vast quantities. Bodhisattva statues were made in large numbers, which housed in many temples. Vishnu worship was also popular to the masses at that time, and enshrined around the temples.

Jayavarman V renovated Phnom Bakheng (Yasovarman built). In nearby there, at Takeo (Angkor) he launched construction of the temple in 975. This is called Hemasringagiri (Golden-toped Mountain) and meant ‘Meru Mountain’. He moved his troops to the northeastern part of Thailand, but in his reign Cambodia was mostly at peace. However, after his death, within 10 years, 3 kings took thrones. The last one is Suryavarman I.

4-6 Suryavarman I

Jayavarman V had no male heir and Udayadityavarman I succeeded him first for a transient ruler, the next is Jayaviravarman and the third is Suryavarman 1(1002?-1050) who reigned until 1050. Jayavivaramn was certainly on the throne in 1003. But he is supposed to have reigned during 1002-1006. The inscriptions show there is no definite date on which the name Jayaviravarman ends and that of Suryavarman begins. The geographical distribution of the inscriptions shows that, while Jayaviravarman ruled at Angkor, Suryavarman began in the east and gradually moved toward the capital. (Briggs, p145).

However, there are some inscriptions which mention about Suryavarman I. 1) Prasat Trapam Run (Kompong Svay) dated saka 924 (or 934). 2) Tuol Ta Pec (Kompong Thom) inscription refers to a war of 9 years by Suryavarman who became king in Saka 924 (1002AD). There are also inscriptions related Jayaviravarman. 1)Stun Crap Inscription; this is recorded that in Saka 925 (1003AD), Vap Bramaputra made a petition to king Sri Jayaviravarman. 2)Tuol Prasat Inscription (Kompong Svay) dated Saka 925(1003AD). About the land property, made decision by king Jayaviravarman.

The name of Jayaviravarman is not in the SKT(Sdok Kak Thom) inscription, so he was doubted he really got the throne. Probably Suryavarman I might have instructed the author to delete his name from the the list of SKD inscription’s kings. Jayaviravarman worshiped Vishnu, so he was different from Suryavarman I (Buddhist, who rejected the Devaraja).

The inscription of Preah Vihear, dated 1028, says Suryavarman I was of the line of Indravarman and that his queen Viralakshmi, was of the line of Harshavarman and Isanavarman. But, actually Suryavarman I’s throne had nothing to do with remote anscestor. His father’s marriage to a princess of the family of Saptadevakula brought him the support of that powerful family. His own marriage to a princess of the line of Yasovarman strengthened his position against claimants of the line of Harshavarman II or Rajandravarman II, of which Udayadityavarman I certainly- and Jayaviravarman probably-claimed (Briggs, p148-149).

The family of Saptadevakula rose into prominence during his reign. At its head was the distinguished scholar and poet, Kavisvarapandita, who had served as preceptor for Jayavarman V (Briggs, p149).  However, Suryavarman I had been supported by his strong army from Tambralinga (Srivijaya group).


These three kings’conflicts looked like the power struggle among relatives. But they had known each other connected in Tambralinga (Nakhon Si Thammarat). According to some inscriptions, Suryavarman I defeated his rivals, so there might have been some battle at the final stage. Notably all of them came from Tambralinga as military generals. It means that Srivijaya had sent military to the Angkor kingdom, and their advanced military base was located at Lopburi. M. Vickery and C. Jacque strongly deny the theory of Tambralinga. They deny also that Srivijaya (former Funan) had controlled the Angkor Dymasty. But they are wrong. From the beginning, the Angkor Dynasty had been supported and supervised by Srivijaya group. The Angkor Dynasty could not have sent tributary mission for 300 years, probably because Srivijaya group had prohibied Angkor to send mission to China. Another problem of Suryavarman I is that he rejected the tradition of Devaraja cult. Suyavarman I had not accepted the worship of Devaraja to identify himself with Siva in a linga as his predessors had done. (Sharan, p264)

In fact, Suryavarman I was a revolutionary Buddhist king. Even Jayavarman VII believed in this Devaraja cult and had constructed and established lingas.

Udayadityavarman I was a son of Jayavarman V’s wife’s elder sister. According to the Inscription (Prasat-Khna) his mother came from Sreshthapura family. The temple of Prasat Khna seems to have been dedicated to Vishnu in the form of Krishna, the first in Cambodia. (Briggs, p166-167). Angkor Wat is also dedicated to Vishnu by Suryavarman II.

 Udayadityavarman1’s reign was very short, only for 2 years. Upon the death of Jayavarman V, Suryavarman I claimed that he had the right to get the throne. He was a son of the ruler of the king of Tambralinga and his mother was from Indravarman 1’s matriarchal lineage. He led the navy and landed in eastern Cambodia and began advancing toward the capital. According to the Robang Romeas inscription, In Saka 923 year (1001 ~1002) he got to the throne, and the Wat Thipdei Inscription and the Takeo Inscription say that in 1002 he went to the throne. Udayadityavarman 1 had no record when he left the throne, and when Jayaviravarman took the throne unclear. One thing is clear that he reigned in 1003, but when he lost kingship was not known (Briggs, p144-145).


Jayaviravarman had no special justification to succeed the throne of Jayavarman V.

There is an inscription saying Suryavarman I became the king in 1002. However, there is a theory that Jayaviravarman occupied the capital, on the other hand, Suryavarman I led his troops into the Mekong River and dominated the eastern part. Suryavarman I made ceremony of coronation at Sambhupura. There is no evidence that both armies had faced for 9 years with hostilities. According to the Dambok Khpos inscription saying in 1005, Suryavarman I had dominated the Kompong Tom district (Briggs, p146).

The power of ministers and priests were strong in the reign of Jayavarman V. They had been longtime at Jayavarman V’s service, and holding substantial administrative and religious power. Saptadevakula is the direct descendant of queen of Rajendravarman and the most powerful person during the Jayavarman V’s reign. The Saptadevakula clan claimed victory (Briggs, p146). Also without doubt, Tambralinga, the headquarters of the Srivijaya Group had supported Suryavarman I.


4-6-1 Influence of Srivijaya through Tambralinga and Lopburi

In the ancient time, Lopburi had been founded by the Mon speaking people, as commercial city state, and was one of the major kingdoms of Dvaravati group. Srivijaya used Lopburi as the military base to supervise Angkor from there. The former king of Lopburi, after kicked out of Lopburi, went away in North Lampung, and later founded the Kingdom of Hariphunchai. In the 8th century, there is a legend that Princess Cham Devi, from Lopburi went to Lampung Kingdom and married the king.

The authenticity of this story aside, Jayaviravarman was a nephew of Rajendravarman II, and became King of Angkor. On the other hand, Suryavarman 1 might be ‘No. 2 King (Obyuvaraja) of Angkor until he took throne. Udayadityavarman I (Udayaraja) was the commander of Jayavarman V’s army (Obraja) and he took the throne first. In fact, these 3 persons were in acquaintance relationship beforehand as the officials from Tambralinga. In this time, Tambralinga was the headquarters of the Srivijaya Army, and supervised the Angkor Dynasty. Jayaviravarman and Udayadityavarman I aare brothers, and were in the Palace of the Lopburi which was surrounded by high walls. Briggs says ‘Suryavarman was the royal family of Tambralinga, whose sovereigns had been given the title, Sri Dharmaraja (King of the Law). There are reasons to think that he may have gone further in the establishment of Buddhism in Kambubujadesa than has been generally recognized.’ (Briggs, p167) .

In Prasat Khuna Inscriptions (K356/980) of Sri Narapativivavarman recorded about him. From his title, he Narapati or ruler of the Lopburi, was Jayavarman V’s army commander.

The Ta Praya Inscription was made in 962, during Rajendravarman II’s reign. Jayaviravarman was still in the position of Army Commander, and his step-brother.

Prasart Trapan Run (dated 1006) speaks of Jayaviravarman as residing at the Palace of the Caturvara (Four Doors) at Yasodharapura. Another inscription, of the same year (Phnom Sanke Kong, dated 1006), speaks of Suryavarman 1 as King of the Caturdvara (Angkor Capital) (Briggs, p140). In 1006, at the same time both kings were in Angkor.

The Angkor Dynasty, until Suryavarman 1 era had been under the control of Srivijaya since Jayavarman II. Srivijaya had maintained a huge military force at Lopburi. However, some historians believe that ‘the Angkor Dynasty ruled Tambralinga and Malay Peninsula’, but it is on the contrary. Angkor Dynasty could not control San-fo-chi or Tambralinga, unless Angkor had exceeding naval force. Historians often misunderstand the relationship among Southeast Asian countries.

At the beginning, Coedès made a decisive mistake that Srivijaya was based at Palembang. Most historians had blindly followed him. In considering the relationship between Srivijaya and the Angkor Dynasty, the rulers of Tambralinga and Lopburi were commanding Angkor army. At the same time, Srivijaya group had dominated the Mekong River and the coastal region of south Indo-china. So Suryavarman I brought a large navy force and landed near Kratie.

M. Vickery and C. Jacques ignore the political and military influence of Srivijaya group, so they do not understand the origin of Jayavarman II and the influence of Srivijaya group in the Angkor Dynasty.

In the above inscriptions dated 1002, Jayaviravarman and Suryavarman 1 could have once coexisted. There is possibility that Jayaviravarman reigned at Angkor as ‘No. 1 King’ and Suryavarman I might have dominated the eastern half as ‘No. 2 King’. Jayaviravarman in fact had secured the capital, Suryavarman 1 came up from the East toward the Angkor and was gradually stretched forces (Briggs, p146).

Udayadityavarman 1, in the inscription of Koh Ker dated in 1002, was written by royal decree as a king (C. Jacques, p123). However, probably he was to be deposed in that year.

C.Jacques says that Jayaviravarman had set up in Angkor himself, apparently in the palace of Jayavarman V, and carried on building of Ta Keo (Angkor). He was a self-styled descendant of the (legendary) ‘line of Kaundinya and Soma’, which once again suggests that his rights were insecurely linked to ancient legend and his accession based on violent conquest. (C. Jacques, p124). He had dominated Angkor and Battambang area.

 (Map 8, Angkor Centre)

Suryavarman 1 took the throne in 1002. But Jayaviravarman was also on the throne until 1006. In the second half of 1006 Suryavarman I probably seized the Angkor. Phimeanakas temple was built by Rajandravarman II, but completed by Suryavarman I.

The Phimeanakas inscription says Suryavarman I was stayed in Sri Dharmaraja (= Tambralinga) in 1002. This description is also important, and certainly he was born in Srivijaya group. Since Jayavarman II, Angkor had been historically put under the supervision of Tambralinga. Angkor had been the formal Kingdom of Cambodia, and Tambralinga’s position seems to ‘assist the King of Angkor (Obyuraja = Viceroyalty)’, but the real power had belonged to Tambralinga. In realty the political and military power of Tambralinga was higher than those of the Angkor Dynasty.

Suryavarman 1’s reign had been generally at peace in the country. But, his residence was surrounded with walls. Also, to the Yasodharapura, he gathered 4,000 top military brass and local chiefs who swore his allegiance to Suryvarman I. He is said to have siphoned off the wealth from local rulers to prevent they gather mighty power and wealth. These measures were required to maintain political ‘centralization’. His power was fully consokidated by 1011, and after his long reign was devoted to construction and expansion.


The Phimai Hindu temple located in the Khorat plateau was completed during Suryavarman I’s time. Some say it was constructed by Jayavarman VI, but the temple was at first built as a Buddhist temple. The Angkor Dynasty had widely dominated northeast Thailand (Isaan), where remain many Khmer temples. In Thailand, Isaan area had rich archaeological sites to prove there was economic and industrial prosperity. As the Angkor Dynasty had been prohibited by Srivijaya to send tribute to China, Angkor economic energy was concentrated on nation-building, driven by domestic demand. Especially in Jayavarman VII’s time, the royal roads were built from Angkor to Phimai and extended to Vijaya of Champa.

The Pimeanakas temple in Angkor Thom was constructed by Rajendravarman II at first as a Hindu temple, and completed by Suryavarman 1. Later Jayavarman VII lived there and left an inscription which was probably destroyed by Jayavarman VIII. It has 40 m height on the pyramid with laterite, which was simulated Mt. Meru. It is known as ‘Royal Palace of Elephant Commander’. Upper structure is lost, now remains a basic part. The residence of the King had been described as ‘Gold Tower’ by Zhou Daguan (周達観).

Suryavarman I at Angkor started construction of West Baray, which was succeeded by Udayaadityavarman II. West Baray is located on the West side of Angkor Thom, length from East -West 8 km, width North-South 2.1km, the largest reservoir of Angkor. There is a small island with a temple in the Central West Mebon and a bronze statue of reclining Vishnu. The size is 4 m long. Now the upper body with a head is displayed at the Phnom Penh National Museum.

Photo No.


Zhou Daguan (周達観) wrote at the end of the 13th century as following; (風土記)

“A copper Buddha in the middle of the pond (East Mebon) pagoda is laying down in the Tower and spouting water at all times from the navel.” The copper ‘Buddha’ was a bronze ‘Vishnu’ and its location was at West Mebon (not East Mebon). At the end of the 13th century, a reclining Vishnu was active.

C. Jacques says that according to the inscription Suryavarman 1, at Sambhupura -Mekong basin, simply raised his coronation, but not a detailed description was found. Suryavarman 1 had sent a letter to King Rajaraja Chola (985-1016) in 1012 asking for military help to overcome enemies in the Chao Praya basin. The enemies of the Chao Phraya were probably the Mons states. However, this story was never realized. Suryavarman 1 was certainly belonged to the clan of the royal house of Srivijaya group, considering the communication with the Chola King.

 However, the good relation suddenly collapsed after Chola occupied Kedah in 1025. Probably the officials of San-fo-chi had interfered with the mission of Chola to the North Song Dynasty in 1015. (see, Chapter 2)

During Suryavarman I’s reign of 1002? -1050, the most inconvenient incident was the invasion of Chola in 1025. Kedah had been occupied by Chola and Tambralinga also occupied. The purpose of Chola was to dominate the trans-peninsula trade route of San-fo-chi. At that time, the headquarters of San-fo-chi was temporarily collapsed. The biggest problem for the Angkor Dynasty was that Suryavaruman I could not get military support from Tambralinga.

Since the invasion by Chola, the headquarters of Tambralinga probably moved to Lopburi. Lopburi became practically independent kingdom but with smaller military power. Chola did not interfere with Lopburi, which was out of trade route to China.

Since the beginning of the 9th century (Jayavarman II) to the end of Suryavarman 1’s reign, for 250 years, Mahayana Buddhism had been rapidly spread among Cambodian people and Cambodia became a great Buddhist country. This was obviously the influence of Srivijaya.


4-6-2 After Suryavarman I

Suryavarman I died in 1050 and his posthumous name is Nirvanapada. He was an ardent Mahayana Buddhist. His successor Udayadityavarman II (1050~1066) is Suryavarman I’s army commander but not direct relative. Suryavarman I probably abandoned the Phimeanakas as a central temple and to have started construction of a giant pyramid-shaped temple ‘Baphuon’ in the premises of Angkor Thom (completed by Udayadityavarman II). Baphuon is the last large Siva temple. He apparently discontinued the exclusive privilege guaranteed by Jayavarman II to the family of Sivakaivalya of furnishing purohitas (Chief Priests) of the Devaraja (Briggs, p167).

Udayadityavarman II was crowned in 1050. He had no blood relation with Suryavarman I, but relative of Viralakshmi, chief queen of him, who was descendant from the line of Yasovarman’s wife, the mother of Harshavarman I and of Ishanavarman II (C. Jacques, p136)

The SKT (Sdok Kak Thom) inscription, dated 1053 was established in remote areas of Angkor, so it was unharmed by the Jayavarman VIII. Udayadityavarman II should be called a wise king. About the author of SKT inscription, Briggs assumes that Jayendrapandita (Aninditapura, nephew of Suryavarman I) continued as guru for Suryavarman’s successor, Udayadityavarman II, for some time and was the builder of the inscription of Sdok Kak Thom in 1053, after which the family of Sivakaivalya disappeared from history. Sankarapandita was purohita for Udayadityavarman II and established his Udayadityasvera in his new central temple for Baphuon (the Devaraja temple), after which he was to continue as purohita for his successor, Harshavarman III (Briggs, p167)

Udayadityavarman II was marked by various upheavals, but he conquered them by his commander Sangrama. In the later years of Udayaditavarman II a former general Kambau revolted in 1066. At that time, general Sangrama served the commander of Udayaditavarman II and crushed Kambau revolt. Udayaditavarman II appears to have been a supporter of ‘Siva’, one of reaction against the Buddhism of Suryavarman I who seems never to have adopted the cult of the Devaraja. All the important foundations and inscriptions of his reign were Sivaite. He established a magnificent temple and set there a golden linga, Udayadityesvara. (Briggs, p175)

Harshavarman III (1066 1080) succeeded the throne from his elder brother, Udayadityavarman II, born of the same mother. His capital was the second Yasodhrapura, which had its center in Baphuon, built by his brother, and located at northwest of the Bayon. His reign was relatively peace, except war with Champa. According to the Ta Prohm inscription, Harshavarman III was the descendants of the first Chenla King of Bavavarman. Harshavarman III died in 1080. The posthumous name is Sadasivapada. By his death, the Tambralinga line was finished in the Angkor Dynasty.

Harshavarman’s younger brother, Nripatindravarman, attempted to ascend to the vacant throne, but was probably not even crowned. (C. Jacques, p145).  However, Briggs says Jayavarman VI did not claim any connection with Harshavarman III, and for several years in strife against those who remained loyal to the legitimate line of Harshavarman III and his heir Nripatindravarman. Suryavarman II, successor of Dharanindravarman I, achieved the unity of Cambodia by conquering two kings, one of whom was his grand-uncle, Dharanindravarman I. The other seems to be the unnamed claimant of Harshavarman III’s line. (Briggs, p179) 


4-7. The Mahindhrapura Dynasty

4-7-1 Hiranyavarman group, from the north of the Dangrek Range.

The traditional ruler, influenced by Srivijaya had changed after the death of Harshavarman III.

From the northeastern area near Phimai, Jayavarman VI (1080-1106) appeared as the new ruler of the northeastern region in 1080, and later took the throne of the Angkor Dynasty, but he had nothing to do with Srivijaya group. The exact date of his coronation is unknown. He once occupied Angkor and was crowned there, but came back to Mahindharapura and lived there. He adored Chaupesvara (Vishnu) and made a rich donation to the Vaisnavite temple of Kok Po. (Sharan, p245) Jayavarman VI’s posthumas name is Paramakaivalyapada.

Jayavarman VI’s chief adviser was the Vrah Guru Divakarapandita, who seems to have been the guiding star of the early destinies of the house of Mahindharapura. Udayadityavarman II had chosen him, as a very young man, to serve the Devaraja at the dedication of the Baphuon-and Harshavarman III had made him the chief priest. Jayavarman VI had made him Vrah Guru and had been crowned by him. (C. Jacques, p179)

Hiranyavarman and Hiranyalaksmi had at least three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Dharanindravarman at first chose a religious life (Buddhist). Jayavarman VI was the second. The youngest is known to history as the Yuvaraja (Crown Prince). The daughter became the grandmother of Suryavarman II. (Briggs, p178).

According to the My-Son inscription, between 1074 and 1080, Angkor had been attacked by Champa prince Pang, a younger brother of Champa king, Harivarman IV. The Sambhupura temples were destroyed and inhabitants were taken into slavery to My-Son, including the prince Sri Nandavarmadeva. Harivarman IV was a strong Cham king. However, this incident was not recorded in the Angkor inscription. In 1076, Cambodia and Champa were driven by the Song court in an attack against the Tonkin. But the Chinese army was defeated.

M. Vickery points out the so-called Mahindharapura kings, whose origin was north of the Dangrek Ranges, did not descend directly from previous kings of Angkor, and that is why no earlier members of their kingdoms were mentioned before the end of the 11th century.

There are, however, inscriptions showing that high-ranking officials of the previous court continued in their functions under the new king, suggesting a peaceful transition, or at least a split in the previous court, with some favouring the new king. (M. Vickery, Bayon, p7).

Anyway, after the invasion of Chola, Surivijaya group had lost power to control the Angkor Dynasty. Without military assistance of Thambralinga, Lopburi had not enough power to ‘support’ Angkor rulers.

On the other hand, Isaan group (Phimai group) had accumulated economic power and started to dominate Angkor.

4-7-2 Suryavarman II

Probably Jayavarman VI (1080-1106) was consecrated in 1080 by purohita Divakarapantita at Yasodharapura (C. Jacques, p147). Divakarapantita had been in service of Udayaditayavarman II and Harshavarman III and made the coronation ceremony for Sutryavarman II in 1113.

Jayavarman VI auto-claimed king and established his authority on the northern province, while Harshavarman III still reigned at Angkor. At the death of Harshavarman III in 1080, his successor Nripatindravarman continued to reside at Angkor who attempted to ascend to the vacant throne, but he had no power and was probably not even crowned. (C. Jacques, p145).

During this period, Jayavarmn VI had to fight Nripatindravarman, but he succeeded to reconcile the favour of Harshaman III’s chaplan, Divakarapandita, and to consecrate his authority by Divakarapandita.

In 1107, after Jayavarman VI died he had no child, Divakarapandita transmitted the crown to his eldest brother Dharanindravarman I (1107-1113). At that time, he was in Buddhist monastery. However, in 1113 he was overthrown by Suryavarman II (1113-1149?). 

The Mahindhrapura Dynasty originated in Phimai region, so Jayavarman VI probably constructed this important temple. However, in the temple wall, a re-used stone engraved with a Buddhist inscription of the 8th century was found, together with a curious stele which has a homage to Siva on one side, and one to the Buddha on the other. Both date from the reign of Suryavarman I. (C. Jacques, p149).

While the lintels of the interior are Buddhist in inspiration, the main pediments and exterior lintels are clearly Hinduist (C. Jacques, p149).

On the Phimai Temple South Gate (main gate) the image of Trailokyavijaya was placed. This is Vimaya God, and became the origin of the word ‘Phimai’.

Jayavarman VI was a son of Hiranyavarman, a local ruler of Phimai area, northeast of Thailand. He called himself of Kambujadesa and claims that Mahindharapura had been connected with the Royal family.

Dhranindravarman I (1107-1113) was an elder brother of Jayavarman VI, but succeeded him. Prior to the throne Dhranindravarman I was a great priest, and had served as a minister in the Angkor court. Before he achieved remarkable job, he was killed by their big sister's grandson Suryavarman II.

Suryavarman II1113 1149 ? ) is not relative of Suryavarman I, and he is free from Srivijaya group. After the invasion of Chola, San-fo-chi (Srivijaya) had lost the controlling power toward Angkor.

M. Vickery says that Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII came from Phimai. He also shown diplomatic attention to the Chola, in 1114 he reportedly presented a gemstone to the Chola king. He frequently dispatched a military expedition from East to West, but none ultimately ended successful. Especially in the eastern front Suryavarman II, in 1128 with Champa army support fought against Dai Viet (Vietnam= 大越), but defeated. And in 1132, he tried again with Champa but failed again. Then in 1136, Jaya Indravarman III of the Champa did not join Suryavarman II’s war. Suryavarman II got angry and in 1144-5, invaded Champa, as the result the capital Vijaya (Binh Dinh) was occupied by Suryavarman II.

In 1145, Suryavarman II placed ‘Prince Harideva’, the younger brother of one of his chief queens (herself a Cham) on the throne of the Cham king of Vijaya. This deed provoked fury of Jaya Harivarmqan I, another Cham king, who killed Harideva in 1149 and proclaimed himself ‘supreme king of the Cham kings’ apparently defying Suryavarman II.

When Suryavarman II died is not clear, but supposed between 1149 and 1150, probably killed in the battle against Champa. He could not receive army support from Tambralinga and Lopburi, because he had no relation with Srivijaya. He had challenged San-fo-chi by sending tribute to Song in 1116.

Militarily, he had to use the mercenaries of the Thai and Mon people. Thai people originally lived in Yunnan province, at that time they were emigrating to the northern and northeastern Thailand as farmers and some of them worked as mercenaries for the Angkor army. Later Thai people became important villagers in Thailand. The Mon people lived in the Menam Valley and the lower Burma. However, these mercenaries were not so strong, and Suryavarman II was often defeated.

Suryavarman II ascended to the throne in 1113, with the coronation ceremony of Divakarapandita, high priest attended the enthronement ceremony at Wat Phu. 

In 1116, King's name was not recorded in case of the first Suryavarman II’s tribute to Song. In the event of the following mission in 1120, the king was assigned to the king of Champa (Nominal).  However, the king of Champa got independence and sent its own tributary mission to the South Song in 1127 and continued sending the envoys further in 1129, 1132, 1155 ,1167 and1168. Champa kept independence during these years.

Suryavarman II constructed ‘Angkor Wat’ which is the greatest achievement under his reign. He was an ardent follower of Vishnu. This temple is the length 1030m, width 820m was enclosed by a laterite fence. The central tower’s height is 45m, which symbolizes ‘Mount Meru’ (center of the universe). This construction was done by Brahman Damodar Pandita, from India. Suryvarman II made this Vishnu Temple, Angkor Wat as his mausoleum (Zhou described this temple like the miracle of the ancient Chinese architect, ‘Lu Pang’s work’). His posthumous name is ‘Paramavishnuloka’, and after his death he entered the world of Vishnu.

He officially avoided Sivaism and Buddhism, but the Suryavarman II is known to have granted aid for the propagation of Buddhist education (Sharan, p184).

Photo 41, Angkor Wat (back)


Suryavarman II constructed irrigation reservoir at Beng Mealea and Kompong Svay, from the Angkor 40 km away. Beng Mealea irrigation reservoir is located south of Phnom Kulen and Marea means ‘Lotus pond’. Beng Marea Temple is one of the largest temples of Angkor era with 11 towers. Vishnu is seen among statues, statue of Krishna and Siva statue, too.

Suryavarman II’s successor was his cousin Dharanindravarman II (1150-1160). Formal accession to the throne is not certain, but he lived in Yasodharapura (Angkor). He married a daughter of Harshavarman III, princess Chudamani, by whom around 1125 he had a son, later Jayavarman VII.

In addition, during his reign, he sent the tributary mission with Lavo (Lopburi) to the South Song in 1155. Lopburi used to be the forward-base of San-fo-chi, but at this time Lopburi became independent. Lopburi probably kept within territory Chantaburi port. Angkor was placed under the supervision of Tambralinga, and Lopburi was its forward base. However, C. Jacques considers contrarily that Angkor supervised Lopburi (C. Jacques p198).

By the invasion of the Chola (in 1025), the military power of Tambralinga collapsed and Lopburi became free and independent from Tambralinga. Originally Lopburi used to be a city of the Mons and was prospering as a commercial and manufacturing (iron and salt) center. So, with remaining army of former Srivijaya group, the position of Lopburi was so far strong in the 12th and 13th century.

Many historians believe that Lopburi had been under control of the Angkor Dynasty, but the fact is on the contrary, Angkor was placed under control of Tambralinga and Lopburi. In the 12th century San-fo-chi recovered independence from Chola, but after 1178, the South Song court stopped ‘the tributary system’, so San-fo-chi dissolved as a matter of course. At Tambralinga, Chandra Bahnu decleared independence in 1230, from the Srivijaya group. But he failed after two times invasions to Sri Lanka, and finally Thambralinga was absorbed by King Ram Khamhaeng of Sukhotai at the end of the 13th century.  On the other hand, the Lopburi kingdom kept independence, and prosphered economocally. Later, Lopburi played an important role to form the Ayutthaya Kingdom. After the foundation of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 14th century, Lopburi was a stronghold of Ayutthaya’s rulers. It became the capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom during the reign of King Narai the Great in the mid-17th century.

C. Jacques says that on the death of Suravarman II, around 1150, the supreme crown passed to Yasovarman II, a king whose origin and accession to the throne are completely mysterious. For a long time, it was assumed that between Suryavarman II and Yashovarman II, there could have intervened the reign of the father of the future Jayavarman VII: Dharanindravarman II. There is in reality, no trace of such a reign “.   (C. Jacques, p197).


However, Briggs says that Suryavarman II was succeeded by Dharanindravarman II (1150-1160). Dharanindravarman II was a cousin of Suryavarman II. This genealogy shows that Dharanindravarman was a son of Mahindraditya, brother of Suryavarman II's mother, Narendralakshmi, and one Rajapatindralakshmi. (Briggs, p204).

After his death, Yasovarman II succeeded him in 1160, but some say he had been on the throne backward during 1150-1160. Yasovarman II was a close relative of Dalanindravarman, but no evidence. Ta Prohm inscription says Dalanindravarman II was an ardent Buddhist and the posthumousname isParamanishkalapada’.  (Briggs, p204).

In the Central Thailand, independence movement came out from the Angkor Dynasty. In Nakhon Sawan, Sri Darmasoka appeared as the king. At Dong Mae Nang Muang, Nakhon Sawan, an inscription written in Pali and Khmer (1167 A.D.), was discovered. That also existed in the current Suphan Buri (region called Shin Li Fu真里富) self-government. (Piriya, p138).  Yasovarman II is supposed to suppress the movement of independence of these (rebels).

4-7  Jayavarman VII

The Reign of Jayavarman VII (1181-1218?)
The inscription of Say-Fong (in Laos) introduced Jayavarman VII as the son of Dharanindravarman II (ardent Buddhist). Through his father, he was a second cousin of Suryavarman II and through his mother, Jayarajachudamani who was daughter of Harshavarman III, he was a great grand-son of Suryavarman I. So, Jayavarman VII had remote relation with Srivijaya group.

He was born at the latest in 1125 and was married to the princess Jayarajadevi who had a great deal of influence over him. The inscription of Pimeanakas inscribed by his second queen Indradevi provides the rest of information about his early life before he was crowned (Inscriptions du Cambodge II: Grande stele du Pimenakas).

The queen Indradevi was the elder sister of the late queen Jayarajadevi. According to the inscription, Jayavarman VII left Cambodia to conduct a military expedition in Champa, at Vijaya (Binh-Dinh). During the campaign, he learnt the death of his father and the accession of Yasovarman II. During the usurpation of the king Triphuvanaditya, he returned in great haste to safeguard the Angkorian throne, but it was too late. The Angkorian court was already under control of the usurper, but later Tribhuvanadityavarman was said to be killed by a Champa King, Jaya Indravarman IV in 1177. But this incident in 1177, was the substancial ‘coup d’eta’ by Jayavarman VII.

Jayavarman VII was very cautious to take the throne. After the death of the usurper in 1177, he took the throne 4 years later in 1181. Jayavarman VII had pushed ‘Buddhism first’ policy. Many inscriptions of both Khmer and Cham sites reveal that he had spent the rest of his life to fulfill that mission (Buddhism first). In the campaign, he enlisted many Yuvarajas (crown princes) who were brought up in Angkor and tasks were assigned to them to stabilize in many parts of the empire. Vijaya (Binh Dihn) was the most important place for him. He constructed the royal road to Vijaya. Vijaya was the important port for the trade with China at that time.

 Suryavaramn II in 1116 sent his first tributary mission to the South Song court, but was treated with cool attitude. Angkor sent again tribute mission in 1155, together with the Lopburi Kingdom. Angkor and Lopburi had kept good relation. Tribhuvanadityavarman, once a faithful minister of Yasovarman II killed the king and ascended the throne in 1165. However, the Cham King Jaya Indravarman IV attacked Angkor in 1177 and killed the usurper king. However, M. Vickery says this story is impossible and raised serious doubts. Probably what M. Vickery says is correct. Jayavarman VII might have hired him to attack Tribhuvanadityavarman. Jayavarman VII seems to have worked behind him. The Song Shi describes about this battle, but a Cham king could not have enough power to attack Angkor and killed the king. Tribhuvanadityavarman said to have asked peaceful solution, but was refused. M. Vickery doubts this battle in 1177 itself, because in Champa there is no inscription of this war.

M. Vickery points out the inscriptions of Champa side. Cham King Jaya Indravarman IV won in 1163-65, 67, 68 and 1170, when he donated to the shrine. However, in 1177, there is no record about the war. Therefore, there was no big war, nor victory of Champa in the year 1177. Probably M. Vickery’s view may be correct. The following inscriptions (C92B and C92C) of My-Son dated in 1181, 1182 and 1190, 92, 93, 94. Jayavarman VII ascended the formal throne of Angkor in 1181, and then in 1190 Cham King Jaya Indravarman IV was assigned the king of Champa. Cham King Suryavarmadeva i.e. Vidyanandana Prince in 1182 had served at the Jayavarman VII’s court as a general of Angkor army.

 The story of the ‘Song Shi’ is probably written based on the explanation of the Angkor mission of Jayavarman VII in 1200.

The reason why Jayavarman VII had stayed at Vijaya is unclear. His wife Jayarajadevi told him to wait for the opportunity to get the throne (C. Jacques, p203). After the usurpation of Tribhuvanadityavarman, Jayavarman VII quietly went back to Vijaya. At Vijaya he was looking for a favorable occasion to intervene. He was 40 years old then. In 1166-1167 at Vijaya Jaya Indravarman IV killed the former Champa king and took the throne. He was a very ambitious young king and caused a lot of trouble with Arab merchants and the Song court.

Jayavarman VII seems to use the armies of the Cham, and later he is said to have fought against the Cham King at Preah Khan (holy sword). In the last battle at Preah Khan, he defeated Cham King Jaya Indravarman IV. However, M. Vickery suggests this (Preah Khan) battle might be fictious. He claims the existence of inscriptions that wrote Jaya Indravarman IV died at home. Certainly, Jayavarman VII acceded to the throne 4 years later in 1181.

The point of M. Vicckry’s theory seems to be correct, especially on the 1177 incident, the Cham King Jaya Indravarman IV could not have been strong enough to defeat the army of the Angkor. I can't find evidence that he was alone to attack Angkor. Jayavarman VII seems to have overthrown the usurper Tribhuvanadityavarman, teamed up with Cham generals. Jayavarman VII seems to plot a coup d'etat against Tribhuvanadityavarman. Probably he borrowed the army of the Champa King Jaya Indravarman IV. However, 4 years later, in 1182 Jayavarman VII probably asked Champa forces to retreat from Angkor, and ascended to the throne. After Jayavarman VII ascended the throne, the relation Angkor and Champa was peaceful. Jayavarman VII acted as the Buddhist King earnestly, Mahayana Buddhism was also more prevailed than before.

After 1181, Jayavarman VII had employed Cham Prince (Sri Vidyanandana later Suryavalmadeva) as the Angkor commander to defeat defeat the rebellion of Battambang, and successfully played his role. The Cham Prince In, married Jyavarman II’s younger sister. In 1190, when Indravarman IV rebelled against Jayavarman VII, at that time Cham Prince Sri Vidyanandana (Suryavarmadeva) was sent and captured Jaya Indravarman IV, who was transported to Angkor.

My-Son pillar inscription says:

“In 1112 saka (1190), King Sri Jaya Indrvarman ong Vatuv (IV) made war against the King of Kambujadesa. The latter sent the Prince (Vidyanandana) at the head of the troops of the Kambuja to take Vijaya and defeat the king (Indravarman IV). He captured the king and had him conducted to Kambujadesa by the Kambuja troops. He proclaimed Suryajayavarmadeva Prince In, brother-in-law of the king of Kambujadesa (Jayavarman VII), as king of the city of Vijaya.”

Indravarman IV expressed allegiance to Jayavarman VII and he was allowed. Vidayanandana Prince and then King Vijaya was transferred and appointed once Rajaputra (= Phan Rang). However, a revolt in 1191 drove Vidayanandana Prince out and seated in his place called Rashupati, who ruled under the name of Jaya Indravarmadeva (Jaya Indravarman V).


In 1192 Jayavarman II sent Jaya Indravarman IV (ong Vatuv) to help the prince (Vidyananda) to reconquer Champa. They met at Rajapura, took Vijaya, defeated and killed Jaya Indravarman V (Radhuputi) and ruled over Vijaya. Again, Vidayanandana was assigned king Vijaya formally.

After this vicory, Jaya Indravarman IV fled from the Cambodians and went to Amaravati (Thu Bon area) where he raised revolt and invaded Vijaya; but Vidayanandana defeated him and put him to death.

After the occupation of Champa, Jayavarman VII appointed his brother-in-law (Vidayanadana Prince) as the King of Vijaya, but he (later Suryavalmadeva) betrayed his former patron, Jayavarman VII. In 1193, Jayavarman VII got angry and sent an army into Champa, which Suryavamadeva defeated. The next year, he sent a larger army, which also met the same fate. That year (1194), Suryavarmadeva renewed tribute to Dai Viet. In 1198, he was formally consecrated and sent an embassy to the Chinese court asking for investiture, which he received in 1199. (Briggs, p216).



The Song Shi writes, Angkor revenged after 1995, about the Champa’s attack in 1177.

(淳熙)四年1177占城以舟師襲眞臘傅其國都。 慶元以來眞臘大舉伐占城以復讎殺戮殆盡俘其主以歸國遂亡其地悉歸眞臘。

Champa’s navy attacked Angkor in 1177, and King Tribhuvanadityavarman was killed. After Kei-Yuan time (慶元、1195~), Chenla (Angkor) attacked Champa with large army for revenge, killed many people and the king was captured. Champa area was totally occupied by Angkor”. This story is very doutful from the bignning. In 1177 Jayavarman VII practically killed Tribhuvanadityavarman. He must be very happy about this incident. He had no reason to revenge Champa on this incident.

Probably this story was also reported to the South Song Dynasty, by the envoy of Angkor in 1200. However, many facts were cut off and distorted in this story, but partly correct.

Jayavaraman VII had been betrayed by his most reliable Champa king (Suryavalmadeva), and finally in 1199, he invaded Champa with big army of Cambodia and defeated Suryavarmadeva. He fled to Dai Viet and probably he was killed by them.


Jayavarman VII progressively promoted the network of ‘royal roads’ (paved with stone base and then straight road) around the territory even extended to the conquered area deep in Champa. He constructed accommodations (121 places) for travellers and also for residents 102 Arogyasala (= Hospital Chapel) were constructed. The construction had been started gradually since Yasovarman 1 period. (C. Jacques p270).

Map 10.12 - 13 Century road)


Later Phimai had re-emerged as the center of politics. The main road connecting Angkor with Phimai became called typical 'Royal road’. This ‘Royal Road’ also extended to Champa Vijaya (Binh Dinh).

Jayavarman VII brought a Burmese priest Hrishikesa as hotar. He was called later Jaya Mahapradhana and performed the coronation of Jayavarman VIII. Jayavarman VIII (1243-1295) was an ardent Sivaist and fulfiled anti-Buddhist movement violently. Jayavarman VII was betrayed here again.

Jayavarman VII was later called ‘Mahiharapura’ king and introduced a new type of Mahayana Buddhism. Later Srindravarman, son-in-law of Jayavarman VIII, put his faith in Theravada Buddhism, and since 1308 Khmer was switched to Theravada Buddhism. Kings of this group is born in the north of the Dangrek Ranges (now Northeast Thailand) and Phimai area. They had not a direct lineal connection with kings of earlier Angkor. However, royal followers are often carried over from the earlier kings.

Jayavarman VII in his reign made effort for the benefit of people as much as possible and unified the kingdom. However, he met rebellion in Malyan- South of Battambang. He used above Champa (Tumprauk-Vijaya born) Prince Sri Vidyanandana and dispatched as commander to repress the rebellion. He relied upon more the Champa generals than the generals of Khmer.

Jayavarman VII became a mild authoritarian, but few allies in the court. He gave privileges to many local monarchs, and gave the government rights. They were not necessarily faithful to Jayavarman II, and many were Hindu followers who had secretly resisted the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism. Later Jayavarman VIII completely took anti Buddhism action.

Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist constructed many temples where he set inscriptions and Buddha images. Jayavarman VII constructed Bayon along with Angkor Thom where he completed a residence there. Ta Prohm temples should be called the Royal Mausoleum (1186 years) which is a famous temple covered by the roots of Banyan trees.

Photos 43 ; Ta prohm Temple

Jayavarman II made Buddha's mother universal bodhisattva (Prajnaparamita = Perfection of Wisdom = Wisdom completed 観自在) mimics the mother of Jayavarman VII, which is enshrined in the form of the statue. In addition, Banteay Kdei Temple is constructed.  Preah Khan Temple was also completed in 1191, which is a Buddhism temple, but with factors of Siva and Vishnu. At the Preah Khan Temple, Jayatataka (Baray) was constructed. In the temple, Jayavarman VII placed his father, Dalanindravarman II’s statue of Lokesvara, named Jayavarmesvara.

Jayavarman VII also built the temple Ta Prohm to honor his parents in 1186. His mother was worshiped there as Pranjaparimita, the Goddess of Wisdom, the mother of the Buddha. The temple also contained many shrines, including an image of his Kru (guru). The resident monks of the temple were Buddhist, Sivaite and Vaisnavite. The trinity of Avilokitshvara, Pranjaparimita and Buddha was central to his thinking and manifest in the projects he commissioned in his lifetime.


He used a former residence of Tribhuvanadityavarman King. Jayavarman VII is dedicated to the God for the former king. Also, Champesvara the form of Vishnu that honors God was installed. This is a name derived from the Champa. Evrything may be integrating for the future prosperity of the Angkor Dynasty and Jayavarman VII and propagation of the Buddhist philosophy.

Photo 44, The Bayon

Jayavarman VII’s best temple is Bayon. This is said to commemorate the victory over Champa, but originally built as a Mahayana Buddhist temple. The Bayon, with the faces looking out in the four cardinal directions, represents the Buddha himself: Jayavarman VII.

However, crazy Sivaite, Jayavarman VIII strongly hated Buddhism and especially Jayavarman VII, he intentionally tried to convert Bayon to Hindu temples.

The image of Buddha enshrined by Jayavarman VII was smashed to pieces and thrown them into the central well of Bayon. The 3.6m statue was recovered and restored in 1935, by French scholars. He demolished many of the Buddhism temples and Buddha statues, but also transformed the central shrine of Bayon. The images of Buddha, especially those on the pediments, were all transformed into linga. (C. Jacques, p281).  Jayavarman VIII freely moving stones of Bayon, built a new Tower as much as what Jayavarman VII had constructed including inscription and bas-relief. There is evidence Angkor Thom also was made modifications and transformed to the Siva statue

Jayavarman VIII ordered the demolition of the sixteen chapels on the first level of Bayon, and their stones had been used to build the new angels of the second crucified enclosure.

Photo of destroyed Budha Image

In addition, In the reign of Jayavarman VIII, the texts of these steles were almost completely erased. The images of Buddha, especially those on the pediments, were all transformed into linga. (C. Jacques, p281).

He was believed to have destroyed also the inscription on the Pimeanakas, which was recovered from under ground later. Jayavarman VIII destroyed mainly what Jayavaluman VII had ordered to construct. It is said that the older Buddha images were not so much harmed. But,from Angkor Wat in the Northeast 6 km, there is Banteay Kdei from which large and small 274 Buddha buried statues were found by the Sophia University’s restoration team. Jayavarman VIII is believed to be the work of this destruction of Buddha images.

Fottunately, the SKT inscription was made far away from Angkor, so even Jayavarman VIII could not have touched it. Jayavarman VIII was the ruler of the outdated concept of anti Buddhism and Buddhists. Naturally people’s mind went away from him.

In addition, Jayavarman VII constructed Banteay Chhmar temple at near the Thailand border in northwestern Cambodia, which is called ‘Cat fortress =Citadel of the Cat’. The Banteay Chhmar temple was reportedly built for his son Crown Prince, Srindrakumara Rajaputra who died before him. But in fact, it was for his grandmother Rajapatindralakshmi. Banteay Chhmar is mysterious place, where was the site of ancient kingdom of Chambak Borei (Briggs, p206)

Adjacent to the Banteay Chhmar, an irrigation reservoir (1.6kmX0.8km) had been constructed. In the middle of the pond and the mebon (island), there is a Buddhist temple. This pond has around the 1.9kmx1.7km of the surrounding moat. This land was barren ground of sand, was in his grandmother's land.

There are historians, like Coedès, who think Jayavarman VII had made a huge construction and exhausted wealth of the government, as the result later Angkor Dynasty led a path of decline. However, construction work was mainly done in the off-season, and the government had not depended on debt finance, so his criticism for Jayavarman II is not proper. His investment of roads, hospitals and traveler lodge were mainly for the convenience of common people.

Jayavarman VII had distributed 23 statues of ‘Jayabuddha Mahanatha’ to the major cities. As the major cities, Lavodayapura = Lopburi, Svarnapura = Supan Buri, Sambukpattana (Central Thailand cannot be specified), Jayarapapuri (= Ratchaburi), Jayasimjapura (= Muang Singh, Kanchanaburi), Jayavajrapuri (= Phetchaburi) are recorded. These cities were important for the Angkor Dynasty, but most of them are the Mons cities. Currently 17 statues still exist. The image of the Kanchanaburi Muang Singh is exhibited in the Bangkok National Museum.

Photos 45-1; Jayabuddha mahanta statue in Muang Singh, Bangkok National Museum

Photos 45-2... Phimai Temple of Jayavarman VII

Jayavarman VII’s posthumous name is ‘Mahaparamasaugata’. There are many inscriptions related with Jayavarman VII in Cambodia, Laos and Champa. The inscriptions of Champa often speak of him as a great conqueror. (Briggs, p236).

Jayavarman VII was a ‘bodhisattva king’. He had a sincere earnest belief of his destiny as a bodhisattva whose path in life was to save his people from suffering. The people were objects of his compassion, an audience for his merit-making. Images of Jayavarman portray him in the ascetic seated meditation posture with a serene, enlightened expression.

Inscriptions say he “suffered from the maladies of his subjects more than from his own; for it is the public griefs that make a king’s grief.” Another inscription reads: “Filled with a deep sympathy for the good of the world, the king swore this oath; ‘All beings who are plunged in the ocean of existence, may I draw then out by virtue of this good work. And may the kings of Cambodia who come after me, attached to goodness…attain with their wives, dignitaries and friends, the place of deliverance where there is no more illness.” But his will was simply betrayed by Jayavarman VIII.

Jayavarman VII’s successor is his son Indravarman II (1218? -1243), and he was sought to complete his father's unfinished construction (C. Jacques, P278). He was believed Sivaite. After his death, the brhaman Jaya Mahapradhana (Hirishiksa) went to the shrine of Siva at Bhimapura (Phimai) to offer prayers for the peace of the king’s soul. It is not certain that Indravarman II was a son of Jayavarman VII or that he succeded him directly.  But it is known that he was reigning just before 1243 and Jyavarman VIII’s chaplain seems to have served Indravarman II also. (Briggs, p238)

His successor is Jayavarman VIII. C.Jacques says, “It is a fact that Jayavarman VIII stands out, in contrast to his predecessors, not only as a Hinduist king but also as a fierce opponent of Buddhism, and this is what seems to this author (C. Jacques) to be the most significant feature of his reign.”

4-9. Decline of the Angkor Dynasty

After Jayavarman II’s death, Angkor evacuated Champa in 1220 due to the decline of the military power. Angkor fought against the Dai Viet in 1216 and 1218, but defeated. In northern Thailand and the Menam valley area, the Thai people were making independent small kingdoms and later they formed the Sukhotai Kingdom (1238-1438). In such circumustances, Angkor could not gather sufficient mercenaries of the Thai and Mon people, so the military power of Angkor declined drastically.

In 1222, Ansararaja was placed on the throne of Champa under the name of Jaya Parameshvara IV. After that Angkor could not have intervened Champa again.

C. Jacques says that Jayavarman VIII had a lengthy reign of around 50 years.・・・It is highly likely that his accession was determined by political causes. There is strong indication that he belonged to a lineage which had been dispossessed by Jayavarman VII. His zeal in destroying any testimony to the previous reigns is remarkable (C. Jacques p283).

In 1283, Kublai Khan's forces tried to attack Cambodia from Champa. The attempt was unsuccessful, but Jayavarman VIII sent the tributary missions in1285 and 1292 to the Yuan Dynasty. By the tribute to Yuan, Angkor spared military invasion. But Angkor never tried to fight the Sukhothai Kingdom of Thailand which had risen in the Chao Phraya basin. Jayavarman VIII was old and incompetent, rarely left the Palace.

In Thailand, the Sukhothai Kingdom and then Ayutthaya Dynasty, Lanna Dynasty had emerged, and Khmer was gradually being squeezed. In Thailand, Theravada Buddhism was introduced from Ceylon and became state religion, which united the people together and became a source of national power. On the other hand, the Angkor Dynasty led to a decline by the reign of Jayavarman VIII, whose regime was unfortunate for Angkor. As the Buddhist country, Cambodian people were united, but Buddhism was destroyed without reason. Distressed Buddhist farmers began to neglect the repair of irrigation facilities and water retention occurred, as the result which caused epidemics of diseases such as malaria and farmers were more impoverished. That was in a vicious cycle. Jayavarman VIII seems to be indifferent of the farmers’ suffering and he lacked the ability to resolve such disaster. His main concern was worship of Sivaism, and the hatered toward Buddhism and Jayavarman II.

Picture 46- 1 Buddha images were cast into the Lake were destroyed by Jayayavarman VIII

Picture 46-2.The restored image

Jayavarman VIII was abdicated in 1295 under pressure from his son-in-law, Srindravarman.

Zhou Daguan (周達観)、the author of “Memoirs on the Custom of Cambodia “(真臘風土記) came to Cambodia (1296-1297) as the attendant of the mission of the Yuan Dynasty. He wrote that the new prince (Srindravarman) is the son-in-law of Jayavarman VIII and his daughter stole the golden sward from him and took it to her husband (Srindravarman). Jayavarman’s son plotted to raise troops, but Srindravarman discovered the plot, cut off his heels, and locked him in a dark prison.’ 

In the description of the Zhou Daguan, Buddhist ministers were active and came out everywhere. His observation of people's lives and practices is quite important. Probably they were Brahmen and worked at the palace as the king ‘s staff. 

From the 14 th century to the middle of the 16 th century the inscriptions and other resources are rare and even the king's name is also unclear.

In 1431 Angkor district was occupied by the force of Ayutthaya, so the Angkor Dynasty palacewas shifted to the South. In 1431 Rajadhipati captured Angkor. This is written in the Ayutthaya period. O. W. Woler claims 1369, but without basis in theory and M. Vickery opposes him.

Jayavarman VII is accused that he destroyed the government wealth and the people were battered by a huge construction project. However, these damages could be recovered relatively in short times, at most in a few subsequent decades. Later Jayavarman VIII was indulged in superstition and Sivaism and opposed Buddhism.

The rejection of Buddhism gave serious shock to the spiritual life of the common people.

 Buddhism faith of the people was very deeply damaged, which was the base for the unity of the Angkor kingdom. Jayavarman VIII ignored the wishes of the people. It led to the collapse of the centralized system of Angkor Dynasty.  Jayavarman VIII and his court officials were ignorant of the management of economy. They were inddiferent of collapse of the irrigation pond. Maintenance and management of this magnificent water supply system depended upon the cooperation of talented civil servants and farmers. After the middle of the 15th century Cambodia was placed under the rule of the Ayutthaya Dynasty. It later became the Ayutthaya territories. However, the Ayutthaya Dynasty had not governed Cambodia properly, so non-government situation lasted for long time. Further in the 19th century Cambodia was colonized by France. And recently the people were seriously damaged by the Pol Pot regime even after independence.

Table 2 Angkhor Kings


Jayavarman II


In 790 or earlier he had title of King ?


Jayavarman III


The son of Jayavarman II. Killed before 877 ? Vishunaite.


Indravarman I


The suspicion of usurpation. Completion of irrigation ponds in Roluos.




son of Indravarman I, Yasodralapura


Harshavarman I


The son of Yasovarmaan I


Isanavarman II


Yasovarman’s elder sisters son.


Jayavarman IV


Yasovarman Sister's husband, Moved to Koh Ker


Harshavarman II


Son of Jayavarman IV


Rajendravarman II


Yasovarman’s elder sistr’s son


Jayavarman V


The son of Rajendravarman II, Ascended the throne at the age of 10


Udayadityavarman I


Jayavarman V’s commander



1002-1007 ?

Nephew of Rajendravarman II


Suryavarman I

1002 ? -1050

Tambralinga King's son, Buddhist


Udayadityavarman II


Suryavarman Is military commander  


Harshavarman III

1066-1080 p

Last king of Srivijaya group


Jayavarman VI


Phimai, provincial royalty


Dhranindravarman I


Jayavarman VI’s brother, Buddhist


Suryavarman II


Jayavarman VI’s sister's grandson, in 1116, resume tribute to Song




Construction of Angkor Wat , Vishnu


Dhranindravarman II


Jayavarman VII’s father, Buddhist


Yasovarman II


Dhranindravarman II’s relative?




Usurper murdered Yasovarman II


Jayavarman VII


Buddhist King, Construction of Bayon


Indravarman II


Son of Jayavarman VII, Sivaist


Jayavarman VIII


Sivaist, Destroyer of Buddhism




Jayavarman VIII’s son-in-law, Theravada Buddhism


Srindra Jayavarman




Jayavarman IX