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Ta Keo

Angkor, Cambodia

Temple Mountain

Rising just east of the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, the imposing stone temple of Ta Keo dominates the landscape even in its unfinished state today. Built at the end of the 10th century during the reign of King Jayavarman V, Ta Keo was constructed entirely of sandstone and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Intended to be the official state temple of the new capital, its pyramidal shape represents sacred Mount Meru. Although surrounded by a moat and imposing enclosure wall, Ta Keo lacks the carved narrative bas-reliefs of many Angkorian temples. According to local legend, this is because a lightning strike halted construction and was seen as a bad omen, leading workers to abandon decorating the walls. Some scholars instead suggest the death of King Jayavarman V ended the ornate carvings.

Ta Keo remains a visually striking monument, with its towering structure rising just east of Angkor Thom. Twin giant nagas frame the eastern entrance, hinting at the grandeur envisioned for Ta Keo, had it been completed. Though mostly devoid of decoration, Ta Keo's stark beauty, height, and commanding presence awaken a sense of wonder, especially when contemplating the legendary stories around this soaring edifice.


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Situated just east of the walled city Angkor Thom in modern day Cambodia


Constructed in late 10th century, during the reign of King Jayavarman V


Built as the official state temple of the Khmer capital and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva


Largely unfinished, lacking carved bas-reliefs, but still standing tall as a visually impressive and commanding temple ruin rising above the Angkor landscape


Ta Keo

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