Ta Som - Filip Šubrt Photo

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Ta Som

Ta Som (originaly Gaurashrigajaratna - jewel of the auspicious White Elephant)  is one of the smallest major temples built at the end of the 12th century by the 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.

Standing to the east of the Jayatakata (the baray of Preah Khan), the temple lies in what is today a relatively remote area within the Angkor archaeological zone.

The layout of the temple is an extremely simplified version of Banteay Kdei or Ta Prohm. The outer laterite wall, now mostly vanished, measured 240 x 200 meters, within which sat a second enclosure surrounded by a moat. The inner enclosure is a rectangle with four corner towers and four gateways at each of the cardinal directions, with a central free-standing tower in the middle.

Apart from two 'libraries' of varying size there are no ancillary buildings. In Jayavarman's time, devotees would have entered the temple from the east, whereas modern visitors usually approach from the west. The temple is nowadays famous for the large strangler fig which has completely overwhelmed the east outer gopura.