Ta Keo – the incomplete world mountain

Ta Keo – the incomplete world mountain

The Temple Mount “Ta Keo” is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park and is located between the water reservoir (the Eastern Baray) and the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom

Tempelanlage Ta Keo Außenansicht

The temple were built under the kings Jayavarman V and Suryavarman I in the 10th and 11th centuries. The original intention behind the construction of the structure had been to use it as a new state temple, but the construction was never fully completed. To this day, one can only speculate as to why “Ta Keo” was not further erected. A common interpretation is that there was a lightning strike in the temple towards the end of the construction period, which is said to be a bad sign from the gods, but this cannot be scientifically proven in its entirety.

“Ta Keo” has been designed as a temple mountain in pyramid form, with two terraces on it. On all four sides, stairs lead to the top of the pyramid, which can also be climbed by visitors (partly via steps that have been retrofitted for tourist purposes to ensure safe access, but also partly via original stairs). The entrance is located directly in front of the southern side, but this is much more uncomfortable to walk on than, for example, the eastern side. From the top, you have an excellent view over the surrounding areas – even as far as Angkor Wat.

The special thing about “Ta Keo” are the many smooth surfaces, without reliefs and decorations, which is due to the fact that the temple was not completed, so to speak, still the shell, but this also makes the special, very precise construction method of the Khmer apparent to visitors. The temple mountain was one of the first facilities that was built entirely of sandstone.
“Ta Keo” is meant to symbolize Mount Meru (the world mountain that is at the center of the universe of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythology), which is why the temple mount is also enclosed by a wide moat that is meant to symbolize the ocean around Mount Meru.

Ta Keo Innenansicht

“Ta Keo” means as much as “Old Crystal”, whereas the original name was “Hemasringagiri” and can be roughly translated as “Mountain with Golden Peaks”.

The entire temple complex is built on an area of 255 meters by 195 meters. The two terraces are located on the eastern side of the pyramid, while on the upper one, where the “central” pyramid towers up, there are still five concise towers that are supposed to symbolize the five peaks of Mount Meru.

The temple mountain of “Ta Keo” is a real secret type for visitors, which brings the great advantage that the localities are much less frequented by tourists than similar facilities and thus there is the possibility to let this architectural masterpiece act on itself to some extent in peace.