Yasodharapura II

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For Yasovarman I's city, constructed around Phnom Bakheng, see Yasodharapura, while we've listed the later, 11th to 14th-century capital as Yasodharapura III

Yasodharapura II
Native Nameយសោធរបុរៈ
Alternative nameJayendrapura, Rajendravarapura, Rajendrapura (?)
K InscriptionVarious
TypeAncient City
CommuneKok Chak
DistrictSiem Reap Municipality
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.43492, 103.91971
Founded2nd half of the 10th Century
BuilderRajendravarman II, Jayavarman V
Art StylePre Rup
MaterialBrick, Laterite, Sandstone
ReligionHinduism, Buddhism
UNESCO Inscription1992

C1710294 Yasodharapura II 1.jpg
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Site Size & Condition: Ancient City Yasodharapura (យសោធរបុរៈ - Pronounced: Ya-sod-hara-por-ra).

Apart from the brief early 10th-century period at Koh Ker (Lingapura (Preah Vihear)), the imperial capital remained within what is today the Angkor area, from the late 9th until the early 15th centuries. Yasodharapura is the name given to Yasovarman I's capital city located around Phnom Bakheng and there is historical evidence that subsequent capitals from the mid-10th-century onwards kept this prestigious name. This includes the new city presumably constructed by Rajendravarman II around his state temple of Prasat Pre Rup, located slightly to the east, and the later 11th-century onwards city, assumed to have been founded by Suryavarman I, in the vicinity of what was to become Angkor Thom.

It's a safe assumption that due to the period of internal strife and wars of succession in the immediate post-Yasovarman I era and prior to the reassertion of power by Rajendravarman II in the mid-10th-century, the site of Yasodharapura had suffered extensive damage. On the latter king's assumption of power and move back to the Angkor region the construction of a new, at least provisional, site would be a logical action. This area, south of the East Baray, included his royal temple as well as that of Jayavarman V at Prasat Ta Keo (Siem Reap) and associated minor sites.

Names such as Rajendravarapura, Rajendrapura and Jayendrapura are all plausible names but none are confirmed so, for convenience sake, we're henceforward referring to the city as Yasodharapura II.

A temple site, Prasat Mebon Khang Kaeut, was commissioned in the centre of Yasovarman's old baray while the small satellite site of Prasat Leak Neang (Preah Dak) lies just to the east of Pre Rup. Other Angkor sites dating to the reign of Rajendravarman II however are scattered and limited to minor temples such as Prasat Kutisvara, Prasat Kapilapura and the Buddhist shrine Prasat Bat Chum. Conversely, mid-10th century sites are widely found the length and breadth of Cambodia and it would appear that Rajendravarman Ii was more concerned with consolidating and reorganising the provinces rather than creating statement structures in the capital. (Both Pre Rup and East Medbon are impressive sites but are simpler brick constructions in contrast to some of Jayavarman IV's elaborate sandstone sites at Koh Ker.)

Despite his long reign, even fewer sites are known from the subsequent reign of Jayavarman V, although the independently commissioned Prasat Banteay Srei (Banteay_Srei) does of course date to this era. His royal temple, Hemasringagiri or Ta Keo, was famously never completed and the only other site of any size confirmed in this timeframe is the somewhat obscure site of Prasat Banteay Srei (Damdaek) at Damdaek. It's conceivable that certain later Pre Rup period sites or more pre-Suryavarman I Khleang temples outside of Angkor could be assigned to Jayavarman V's reign but no obvious additional sites can be seen in the vicinity of his uncompleted state temple.

Work may have continued for a brief period on cursed Ta Keo but it's clear that the focus of attention of the succeeding kings Jayaviravarman and Suryavarman I's was shifting west.

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