Last updated
Thommanon (Angkor) (6844745654).jpg
Affiliation Hinduism
District Siem Reap
Province Siem Reap
Deity Shiva and Vishnu
Location Angkor
Country Cambodia
Cambodia adm location map.svg
Om symbol.svg
Location in Cambodia
Geographic coordinates 13°26′48″N103°52′38″E / 13.44667°N 103.87722°E / 13.44667; 103.87722 Coordinates: 13°26′48″N103°52′38″E / 13.44667°N 103.87722°E / 13.44667; 103.87722
Type Khmer architecture
Completed12th century

Thommanon (Khmer : ប្រាសាទធម្មនន្ទ) is one of a pair of Hindu temples built during the reign of Suryavarman II (1113–1150) at Angkor, Cambodia. [1] :119 This small and elegant temple is east of the Gate of Victory of Angkor Thom and north of Chau Say Tevoda. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO in 1992 titled Angkor. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. [2]

Khmer language Language spoken in Cambodia

Khmer or Cambodian is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. With approximately 16 million speakers, it is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language. Khmer has been influenced considerably by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious registers, through Hinduism and Buddhism. The more colloquial registers have influenced, and have been influenced by, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, and Cham, all of which, due to geographical proximity and long-term cultural contact, form a sprachbund in peninsular Southeast Asia. It is also the earliest recorded and earliest written language of the Mon–Khmer family, predating Mon and by a significant margin Vietnamese, due to Old Khmer being the language of the historical empires of Chenla, Angkor and, presumably, their earlier predecessor state, Funan.

Suryavarman II Cambodian king

Suryavarman II posthumously named Paramavishnuloka, was a Khmer king from 1113 AD to 1145-1150 AD and the builder of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world which he dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. His reign's monumental architecture, numerous military campaigns and restoration of strong government have led historians to rank Suryavarman as one of the empire's greatest kings.

Angkor Former capital city; region of Cambodia

Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire, also known as Yasodharapura and flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The city houses the magnificent Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia's popular tourist attractions.



Library Thommanon (Angkor) (6844744004).jpg

Scholars studying the carvings of the devatas in Thommanon have concluded that it was built around the time when work on Angkor Wat was begun. [3] However, there is some disagreement as to the precise date it was built. Some believe that the distinctive carvings of females, known as devatas, indicate that they were built during the reign of Jayavarman VI (1080–1113 AD), some time at the end of the 11th century. However, there is greater agreement, especially given the scholarly studies, that it was built by Suryavarman II around the time of Angkor Wat and Beng Mealea from 1113 to 1150 AD. [4]


Deva is the Hindu term for deity; however, devata is a smaller, more focused deva. The term "devata" can also mean deva. There are male and female devatas. There are many kinds of devatas: vanadevatas, gramadevata, devatas of river crossings, caves, mountains, and so on. In Hinduism, the devatas that guard the eight, nine and ten cardinal points are called Lokapala or, more specifically in ancient Java tradition, Dewata Nawa Sanga. Every human activity has its devata, its spiritual counterpart or aspect.

Jayavarman VI was king of the Khmer Empire from about 1080 to 1107 AD.

Angkor Wat A temple complex in Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaiva tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

The Vaishnavite cult was adopted in Cambodia by Jayavarman II and his son Jayavarman III. Under these rulers, the shaivite cult was subsumed with the Vaishnavite cult in the temples such as the Thommannon, Beng Mealea, Chau Say Tevoda, Banteay Samre, and Angkor Wat. [5]

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea or Bung Mealea is a temple from the Angkor Wat period located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay.

Chau Say Tevoda

Chau Say Tevoda is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia. It is just east of Angkor Thom, directly south of Thommanon across the Victory Way. Built in the mid-12th century, it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat period. It is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu with unique types of female sculptures of devatas enshrined in it. The Buddha images have been interpreted to have been built during the reign of Dharanindravarman, father of Jayavarman VII, who ruled from Preah Khan of Kompong. The temple was in a dilapidated state with 4,000 of its elements lying scattered on the embankment and in the Siem Reap River. Many of these elements were used in the restoration work carried out by a Chinese team between 2000 and 2009 under a project sponsored by the People's Republic of China. The temple was reopened in late 2009.

Thommanon is directly opposite the Chau Say Tevoda and just 500 metres east of the Victory Gate on the way to Ta Keo. In the 1960s, the temple underwent a full restoration, funded by the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO). French archaeologists restored it and added concrete ceilings. [3]

Ta Keo monastery

Ta Keo is a temple-mountain in Angkor (Cambodia), possibly the first to be built entirely of sandstone by Khmers.


Angkor Thommanon 2009b.jpg
Linteau du sanctuaire (Thommanon, Angkor) (6990869711).jpg
Left: Doorway with carvings.
Right: A panel on the lintel of the entrance to the temple.

Thommanon is a single-towered temple with an east-facing central sanctuary, crowned by a prasat, or tower. Access from the east is via a gopura, followed by a mandapa, or antechamber, before arriving at the central sanctuary. [3]


Mandapa in Indian architecture is a pillared outdoor hall or pavilion for public rituals.

The temple's carvings are very well preserved and the aged sandstone provides a distinct contrast to the surrounding jungle. The architectural style of its tower is akin to the Angkor Wat temple and the Chau Say Tevoda in its vicinity. [6]

Thommanon is better preserved than Chau Say Tevoda, though they are similar in design. The reason for better preservation of Thommanon is attributed to the fact that its superstructure does not have stone-enclosed wood beams. Thus, adoption of sandstone as the medium for carvings in this temple has made it more advanced in its architectural design vis-à-vis other temples in its vicinity, which were mostly wood-based. All doorways include carved pediments. [4] [6] [7]

The compound walls around the temple have all disappeared, leaving only the entry gates on the east and the west. The central tower is all that remains of the main temple. It is inferred that Thommanon and Chau Say Thavoda were interlinked to the central tower under one large compound with large gates. The independent building separated from the main temple was the library. [8]

Devata et Dvarapala (Thommanon, Angkor) (6990871049).jpg
Divinities keep company.jpg
Left: Devatas in a corner panel depiction with two styles of skirts.
Right: More depictions of devatas.


Images of devatas, the female divine carved figurines, are seen in profusion here, as in other Khmer temples. They are the centre of attraction in Thommanon. The devatas depict flower crowns, sampots (Cambodian skirts), necklaces, armbands, belts and ankle bands. [4]

The mudras displayed are complex. The devatas grip the flower very distinctively, holding the ring and middle fingers against the thumb, while the index and small finger are extended. One Angkor researcher calls this position the "devata mudra" and notes it is also prominent at Angkor Wat. [4]

The sampots of the devatas are divided into two types: one is the ancient pleated style, seen in the Bakheng period at Lolei and Phnom Bok (900 AD), and the other is a patterned fabric style with folds and "tail" seen at Angkor Wat. [4]

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Khmer architecture

In Khmer architecture, the period of Angkor is the period in the history of the Khmer Empire from approximately the later half of the 8th century CE to the first half of the 15th century CE.

Khmer Empire Empire extending over large parts of Southeast Asia

The Khmer Empire, officially the Angkor Empire, the predecessor state to modern Cambodia, was a Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdoms of Funan and Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalised most of mainland Southeast Asia and parts of Southern China, stretching from the tip of the Indochinese Peninsula northward to modern Yunnan province, China, and from Vietnam westward to Myanmar.

Angkor Thom archaeological site in Cambodia

Angkor Thom, located in present-day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north. It is also a very big tourist attraction, and people come from all over the world to find it.

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Bayon Khmer temple in Cambodia

The Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.

Banteay Kdei temple

Banteay Kdei, meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII, it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls, and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

Phimeanakas Hindu temple

Phimeanakas or Vimeanakas at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the Khleang style, built at the end of the 10th century, during the reign of Rajendravarman, then completed by Suryavarman I in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple. On top of the pyramid there was a tower, while on the edge of top platform there are galleries. Phimeanakas is located inside the walled enclosure of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom north of Baphuon.

Ta Som

Ta Som is a small temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built at the end of the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. It is located north east of Angkor Thom and just east of Neak Pean. The King dedicated the temple to his father Dharanindravarman II (Paramanishkalapada) who was King of the Khmer Empire from 1150 to 1160. The temple consists of a single shrine located on one level and surrounded by enclosure laterite walls. Like the nearby Preah Khan and Ta Prohm the temple was left largely unrestored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins. In 1998, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) added the temple to their restoration program and began work to stabilise the structure to make it safer for visitors.

Jayavarman VII Cambodian king, considered by historians to be the most powerful Khmer monarch of all time

Jayavarman VII, posthumous name of Mahaparamasaugata, was a king of the Khmer Empire in present-day Siem Reap, Cambodia. He was born in circa 1122. He was the son of King Dharanindravarman II and Queen Sri Jayarajacudamani. He married Princess Jayarajadevi and then, after her death, married her sister Indradevi. The two women are commonly thought to have been a great inspiration to him, particularly in his unusual devotion to Buddhism, as only one prior Khmer king was a Buddhist. He then built the Bayon as a monument to Buddhism. Jayavarman VII is generally considered the most powerful of the Khmer monarchs by historians.

Preah Palilay

Preah Palilay is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia. It is located in Angkor Thom, 400 m north-west of Phimeanakas. This small Buddhist sanctuary in the wooded area north of the Royal palace in Angkor Thom has a number of attractive features and is well worth the short detour.

Banteay Samré temple

Banteay Samré is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, located 400 metres to the east of the East Baray. Built during the reign of Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early 12th century, it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat style.

Sdok Kok Thom geographical object

Sdok Kok Thom, or Sdok Kak Thom, is an 11th-century Khmer temple in present-day Thailand, located about 34 kilometres (21 mi) northeast of the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed by a prominent priestly family, Sdok Kok Thom is best known as the original site of one of the most illuminating inscriptions left behind by the Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Southeast Asia from the end of the 9th century to the 15th century.

The archeological complex of Preah Khan (of) Kampong Svay or Prasat Bakan or Bakan Svay Rolay is located 100 km east of Angkor, in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. It stands as the largest single religious complex ever built during Angkorian Era, as its exterior enclosure is about 5 km square, even if the isolated location makes it one of less visited Angkorian sites.

Wat Athvea

Wat Althea, also called Prasat Vat Althea, is a 12th-century Hindu temple at Angkor, Cambodia with an active Buddhist temple and cemetery adjacent to the walled ancient structure. It is 6 km south of Siem Reap, just west of the road leading to the Tonle Sap.


  1. Higham, C., 2001, The Civilization of Angkor, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN   9781842125847
  2. "Thommanon". Lonely Planet. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  3. 1 2 3 "Thommanon". Asia Explorers. Archived from the original on 2010-04-02. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Davis, Kent. "Thommanon Temple – Khmer Devata at the Gate of Victory". Archived from the original on 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  5. Sharan, Mahesh Kumar (2003). Studies in Sanskrit Inscriptions of Ancient Cambodia. Abhinav Publications. pp. 242–244. ISBN   81-7017-006-0 . Retrieved 2010-04-02.
  6. 1 2 "Angkor Temple Guide: Thommanon". Canby Publications. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  7. "Thommanon Temple (built mid 12th-century". Asian Historical Architecture. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  8. Colet, John; Joshua Eliot; Abigail Vertigan (2002). Cambodia handbook. Footprint Travel Guides. p. 134. ISBN   1-903471-40-0 . Retrieved 2010-04-02.