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Harihara Musée Guimet 897 1.jpg
Hariharalaya is located in Cambodia
Location in Cambodia
Alternative nameRoluos
LocationSiem Reap, Cambodia
RegionSoutheast Asia
Coordinates13°20′N 103°58′E / 13.333°N 103.967°E / 13.333; 103.967Coordinates: 13°20′N 103°58′E / 13.333°N 103.967°E / 13.333; 103.967
TypeArchaeological site
BuilderJayavarman II
Materialsandstone, laterite, brick
Founded9th century AD
PeriodsMiddle periods
Site notes
Public accessYes
Architectural stylesPreah Ko

Hariharalaya (Khmer: ហរិហរាល័យ, Hariharalay) was an ancient city and capital of the Khmer empire located near Siem Reap, Cambodia in an area now called Roluos (Khmer: រលួស). Today, all that remains of the city are the ruins of several royal temples: Preah Ko, the Bakong, Lolei.[1]: 60 [2]: 353–357 


This 7th century sculpture of Harihara is from Phnom Da in Cambodia.

The name "Hariharalaya" is derived from the name of Harihara, a Hindu deity prominent in pre-Angkorian Cambodia. The name "Harihara" in turn is a composite of "Hari" (one of Vishnu's names listed in Vishnu sahasranama) and "Hara" (meaning the Hindu god Shiva). Cambodian representations of Harihara were of a male deity whose one side bore the attributes of Vishnu and whose other side bore the attributes of Shiva. For example, the deity’s head-covering consisted of a mitre-type hat (the attribute of Vishnu) on one side and as twisted locks of hair (the attribute of Shiva) on the other. Alaya is a sanskrit word meaning "temple," or "home," so Hariharalaya can mean the home of the deity Harihara or the home of a temple dedicated to the deity Harihara.


The Bakong is the royal temple mountain founded by King Indravarman I at Hariharalaya.

Toward the end of the 8th century A.D., the Cambodian king Jayavarman II conquered vast territories near the great lake Tonle Sap. For at least part of this time, he established his capital at Hariharalaya.[3][4]: 98  However, when he declared himself the universal monarch of the country in 802 A.D., he did so not at Hariharalaya, but at Mahendraparvata on the Phnom Kulen Plateau. Later, he returned the capital to Hariharalaya, where he died in 835.[5]

Jayavarman II was succeeded by Jayavarman III and then by Indravarman I, who were responsible for the completion of the royal temple mountain known as the Bakong and the construction of Indratataka baray.[4] Indravarman I consecrated the temple’s dominant religious symbol, a lingam called Sri Indresvara (the name is a combination of the king’s name with that of Shiva), in 881. Indravarman I also constructed the much smaller temple today called Preah Ko ("Sacred Bull"), dedicated in 880. In 889, Indravarman I was succeeded by his son Yasovarman I, who constructed the temple of Lolei (the name may be a modern corruption of "Hariharalaya") on an artificial island in the middle of Indratataka.[6] Yasovarman also founded a new city at the site of Angkor Thom north of modern Siem Reap and called it Yasodharapura. Yasovarman made the new city his capital and constructed a new royal temple mountain, known as the Bakheng. Yasodharapura was to survive until the 1170s when it was sacked by invaders from Champa.[7]

See also[edit]


  • Freeman, Michael and Jacques, Claude. Ancient Angkor. River Books. 2006. ISBN 974-8225-27-5.
  • Falser, Michael. The Pre-Angkorian Temple of Preah Ko. A Sourcebook of the History, Construction and Ornamentation of the Preah Ko Style. White Lotos Publication. Bangkok 2006. (200 pages, ISBN 974-480-085-2)


  1. ^ Higham, C., 2001, The Civilization of Angkor, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 9781842125847
  2. ^ Higham, C., 2014, Early Mainland Southeast Asia, Bangkok: River Books Co., Ltd., ISBN 9786167339443
  3. ^ O'Reilly, Dougald J.W. Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia. Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc. 2006. ISBN 978-0-7591-0279-8. pp.123-124
  4. ^ a b Coèdes, George (edited by Walter F. Vella; translated by Susan Brown Cowing). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. University of Hawai`i Press. 1986. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. p.110ff
  5. ^ Freeman and Jacques, p.9.
  6. ^ The reason for its offset towards the north seems to be that Indravarman closed off hastily the north side while preparing to move the capital to Angkor site, as in Freeman and Jacques, p.202
  7. ^ Freeman and Jacques, p.9ff.