Ta Som

Small 12th century Bayon style temple

Entrance gopura building at Ta Som
Ta Som gopura
Ta Som
Late 12th century
Jayavarman VII
East of the Jayatataka baray, North of the East baray
Neak Pean, East Mebon

The Ta Som is a small temple at the Eastern edge of the Jayatataka baray. The Bayon style monument was built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. The King dedicated Ta Som to his ancestors.

The Bayon style is evident in the East and West gopura entrance building of the outer enclosure, which are topped with large faces of Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, facing all four directions.

The temple is oriented towards the East. Three enclosures and a moat surround a single sanctuary tower in the center of the temple. Dedicated to the Buddha, the lintels and pediments of the Ta Som also contain sculptings of Hindu depictions.

Ta Som was cleared from jungle vegetation in the 1930’s.

Third enclosure Bayon style 4 faced gopuras

The outer enclosure measures 200 meters long by 250 meters wide. The laterite wall is intersected by a gopura entrance building on the East and West side. Both gopuras are topped with large faces of Lokeshvara facing each of the cardinal directions, in a similar style as those of the Bayon, a temple built by the same King.

At the center of the cruciform gopuras is the entrance gate topped with a tower with diminishing tiers. Flanking it are two small rooms with windows. The walls are adorned with sculpted devatas, while the lintels contain a carving of a standing Lokeshvara, the arms stretched out, flanked by sculptings of a number of devotees. The East gopura building, the main entrance of the Ta Som, is overgrown by the roots of a large tree.

Moat and second enclosure

A walkway from the gopura of the third enclosure leads towards the moat. Approaching from the East, the walkway is flanked by two small structures. A cruciform terrace crosses the moat to the second enclosure. The laterite wall of the second enclosure is intersected by gopura entrance buildings with porticoes.

Gopura at the Bayon style Ta Som temple Angkor
Bayon style Ta Som temple

First enclosure holding the central sanctuary

The first enclosure measuring 30 meters long by 20 meters wide is enclosed by galleries. At each of the four corners of the galleries are corner pavilions, while at the center of each side is a gopura entrance building topped with a tower with two tiers of diminishing size. Sculptings of armed dvarapalas on the walls guard the inner sanctuary. On the inner courtyard near the South East and North East corner pavilions are two library buildings, of which the South one is best preserved.

In the center stands a single cruciform sanctuary, with an entrance preceded by a vestibule on each of its four sides. The pediments and lintels contain both Hindu and Buddhist depictions. Several depiction of the Buddha have been defaced in the 13th century, when the official Angkor religion was changed back to Hindu.