Suryavarman I

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Suryavarman I (Khmer: សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី១; posthumously Nirvanapada) was king of the Khmer Empire from 1010 to 1050. Suryavarman usurped King Udayadityavarman I, defeating his armies in approximately 1002. After a protracted war with Udayadityavarman's would-be successor, Jayaviravarman who was of Malay origin from Old Malay Kingdom (currently Malaysia),[1] Suryavarman I claimed the throne in 1010. Suryavarman was the son of the king of Tambralinga,[2] a minor Buddhist kingdom on the Malay peninsula (present-day Thailand) that was a dependent of Angkor's rival Srivijaya. Suryavarman held claim to the Khmer throne through his Khmer mother who was a member of the royal family. While the Khmer Empire predominantly practiced Vaishnava Hinduism, Suryavarman was a Mahayana Buddhist who was also tolerant of the growing Theravada Buddhist presence in the Khmer kingdom.

Suryavarman I established diplomatic relations with the Chola dynasty of south India. Suryavarman I sent a chariot as a present to the Chola Emperor Rajaraja Chola I. [3] It seems that the Khmer king Suryavarman I requested aid from the powerful Chola Emperor Rajendra Chola against Tambralinga kingdom .[4] After learning of Suryavarman's alliance with Rajendra Chola, the Tambralinga kingdom requested aid from the Srivijaya king Sangrama Vijayatungavarman.[5][6] This eventually led to the Chola Empire coming into conflict with the Srivijiya Empire. The war ended with a victory for the Chola dynasty and Angkor Wat of the Khmer Empire, and major losses for the Sri Vijaya Empire and the Tambralinga kingdom.[7][8]

His reign lasted some 40 years and he spent much of that time defending it. Known as the "King of the Just Laws," he consolidated his political power by inviting some four thousand local officials to the royal palace and swear an oath of allegiance to him. Suryavarman I favored Buddhism but he allowed the people to continue practising Hinduism.

His palace was situated in the vicinity of Angkor Thom, and he was the first of the Khmers rulers to protect his palace with a wall. In 1022 Suryavarman I expanded his territory to the west to Lopburi in Thailand and into Laos.

The major constructions built by this king were the Prasat Preah Vihear, on Dangrek Mountain, and Phimeanakas. Suryavarman I also started the second Angkor reservoir, the West Baray, which is 8 km long and 2.2 km wide. It held more than 123 million liters of water.[9] This is the largest Khmer reservoir that survives. There is some indication that Suryavarman I sent a gift to Rajendra Chola I the Emperor of the Chola Empire to possibly facilitate trade.[10]

Suryavarman I died in 1050 and was given the posthumous title Nirvanapada ("the king who has gone to nirvana"), a nod to his Buddhist beliefs. He was succeeded by his sons, Udayadityavarman II, who died around 1066 and Harshavarman III (Sadasivapada). The latter continued the struggle against internal rebellions and fought back assaults from the Chams until his death in 1080.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Suryavarman I". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Quaritch, H. G. (1965). Angkor and Rome: A Historical Comparison. Wales. London: Bernard Quaritch, Ltd. 
  3. ^ Indian History by Reddy: p.64
  4. ^ Kenneth R. Hall (October 1975), "Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318-336, Brill Publishers
  5. ^ Kenneth R. Hall (October 1975), "Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318-336, Brill Publishers
  6. ^ R. C. Majumdar (1961), "The Overseas Expeditions of King Rājendra Cola", Artibus Asiae 24 (3/4), pp. 338-342, Artibus Asiae Publishers
  7. ^ Kenneth R. Hall (October 1975), "Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318-336, Brill Publishers
  8. ^ R. C. Majumdar (1961), "The Overseas Expeditions of King Rājendra Cola", Artibus Asiae 24 (3/4), pp. 338-342, Artibus Asiae Publishers
  9. ^ Freeman, Michael; Jacques, Claude (2006). Ancient Angkor. River Books. p. 188. ISBN 974-8225-27-5. 
  10. ^ Economic Development, Integration, and Morality in Asia and the Americas by Donald C. Wood p.176
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jayaviravarman
Emperor of Angkor
1006–1050
Succeeded by
Udayadityavarman II

External links[edit]