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The Tomb of Ta Keo

The Tomb of Ta KeoTa Keo - Introduction

Ta Keo is a temple-mountain. Its construction began during the reign of the king Jayavarman V, but it has never been completed. Therefore the modern touristic routs usually bypass this place, preferring to show the majestic temples of Angkor Watt and other. Though this place is not less majestic and amazing as the other ancient temples of Cambodia.  

Construction and Basic Facts

Its construction began in 975. It is a huge rectangular lateritic pyramid, fully clad in sandstone and is not only the most spectacular of its kind, but also the first temple-mountain, built entirely of sandstone. Usually people who visit this place begin their journey from the temple of Bayon, the Elephant terrace and much more, but those who would like to have a dipper dive into the Khmer history and atmosphere also come to this place.

The View and Peculiarities

The Tomb of Ta KeoOn reaching the temple there is a standard procedure of checking the tickets and then the climb begins. From a distance, it is obvious that the temple consists of five levels. There is a main staircase leading to the top of the temple, but taking few of the first steps it is possible to realize that these temples were built not for the fact that it would be climbed by common people. The stairs are very narrow and tall therefore the road up to the top of the temple is rather a climb up then a simple walk. So, don't forget to take your neck personal cooling fan: the climbing can be really hard.

At the top platform of the temple there are 5 towers standing in a checkerboard pattern with a central tower rising in the middle. Visually all the parts of the complex seem to be finished and to the some extent destroyed, but the guides tell that the church was not finished, as it was designed as even more majestic and vast. Unfortunately this temple is with almost no bas-reliefs, maybe they were destroyed or they were not built originally as it was said by the scientists that the stone carving emerged majorly once the temple was already built.  

Each of the five sanctuary towers has its own overlapping with others terrace. The views from the terraces are not that majestic, majorly because with the flow of time the wild nature and lots of trees has grown, covering the area. The construction of the temple is also unique due to an complex use of perspective construction effects. Due to this fact the Tomb is one of the most vivid examples of the Khleang style of Angkorian architectural styles.    

The terraces are located one above the other, the usual height between the terraces is about 5 and a half meters. They are majorly connected by the stairs, though due to the complexity of the structure you may spend quite a lot of time looking for those passages. The higher you get, the steeper the stairs become. At the base of the eastern terrace it is possible to see the statue of a kneeling Nandi. The presence of this statue shows that the tomb of Ta Keo was really a Shivaite temple. The absence of any decorating elements makes the final pyramid look really massive and somewhat clumpy.

The temple complex is completely not guarded. All the safety is summed up to the entrance ticket check, and then you are free to do whatever you want, manhole where you want, some of the tourists even pick up some parts of the temple as a souvenirs.

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