Ta Keo was the state temple of Jayavarman V. Around the year 975, work was begun on Ta Keo temple in the center of the new capitol. Ta Keo was actually called 'Hemasringagiri' or 'the mountain with golden peaks,' meaning Mount Meru—the sacred peak of Indian lore.
The temple is enormous, rising over 21.6 meters, making it one of the tallest buildings at Angkor. Its base measures 122 by 106 meters, while the outer moat stretched 255 by 195 meters, but has now vanished.
After Jayavarman V died, there was a violent usurpation by Suryavarman I in the year 1001. Work on the temple ceased, although artisans had only begun carving the decorative work at the base of the temple. An inscription says that lightning struck the temple at one point which was taken as a sign of bad luck upon which work was halted. More likely it was because of the death of King Jayavarman V who commissioned the temple.
For unknown reasons, the king donated the temple to his minister Yogisvara Pandita, who served under the former king. Yogisvara Pandita worshipped only the shrines at the base of the temple, as it was not customary to worship at a higher level than the king.
The massive sandstone monument dedicated to Shiva was left unfinished at the start of the 11th century. Work on the Ta Keo was halted at a time when sculptors began to add decorations to the temple.
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