In remarkable condition
Thommanon underwent a major reconstruction thanks to the Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO) and is now in remarkable condition.
Like many monuments this was originally a walled-in structure, but the outside wall has largely collapsed leaving the gopuras standing alone almost like mini-temples in their own right. Chau Say Tevoda, also a flat temple with a similar layout, sits opposite Thommanon to form a pair.
Probably started by Jayavarman IV and continued by Dharanindravarman I, it seems to have been completed by Suryavarman II around the middle of the 12th century. (Dharanindravarman’s influence is shown by the presence of some Buddhist imagery at this temple.)
Thommanon is a flat temple, with all elements on one level and a dominant tower. Many of the site’s lintels are worn but the site is noteworthy for some of the female devatas with their fancy headgear that flank some of the sanctuary walls.
Just over the road, Chau Say Tevoda is worth a look if you can spare the time between the more famous temples—but if you only have time for one then check out Thomannon for its superb lintels and pediments.
Slightly later than Thomannon, Chau Say Tevoda may still have been begun by Dharanindravarman since it too has several explicitly Buddhist carvings, before being continued by Suryavarman II and perhaps Yasovarman II. The temple features a couple of libraries as well as a long causeway which leads to a terrace—beyond that, the Siem Reap River.
Restoration work was carried out between 2000-2009 with restricted access, but it’s fully open now and to the untrained eye the new blocks no longer stick out like they once did.
Caroline swapped the drizzle of Old Blighty for the dazzling sunshine of Siem Reap and she spends most weekends cycling the temple-studded terrain that she can call her backyard.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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