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“It's not the great who are strong, it's the strong who are great”
Emperor Suryavarman II the Great (posthumous name: Paramavishnuloka) ruled from 1014 to 1045 and was the greatest ruler of the Khmer Empire.
Suryavarman II (Shield of the Sun) is his personal name, Paramavishnuloku (He Who Has Entered the Heavenly World of Vishnu) is his posthumous name and Samhananavatavarman is his temple name.
Suryavarman II was born in Lopburi as Narith, the son of Sodaravarman, brother of the King of the Khmer Empire. Narith grew up in the city and as a prince he learned Khmer and Sanskrit and culture and history of the empire as well. He also met Princess Suryavana Devi of Champa, the two were in love at the first sight. Although not first in line of succession, he believed that he was destined to become king. He ambushed the king with a small army and killed him, he crowned himself king of the empire and married Suryavana.
He immediately set out to consolidate his empire. He started campaigns against the neighbouring kingdoms of Champa, Haripunjaya and Lavo. He was a great strategist and successfully conquered and subjugated the kingdoms and peoples. He began construction of the greatest temple and his mausoleum:Angkor Wat, he chose the Hindu God Vishnu as his patron. He was treated a a god on Earth by his people and had all the power in the government. He made Angkor the biggest city in the world with glorious temples,monuments and grandeur,competing with Lhasa for this title.
He also conquered Malaysia and Dai Viet, but his biggest obstacle was the Kingdom of Pagan. The Pagan Empire was the biggest rival of the Khmer Empire,but Suryavarman was determined to conquer and unify South East Asia. After a campaign of 10 years he finally conquered the kingdom and took king Alaungsithu prisoner. He has now control over Mainland Southeast Asia and an empire which covers more then 2,500,000 km2. He was crowned God-Emperor of the Khmer Empire. But it wasn't enough he set out to conquer the Holy city of Varanasi and all of India and more... Suryavana bore him his only child: Suryavarman III
Angkor Wat was completed in 1144,one year before his dead. He invaded the Sena Empire and conquered Bengal after a 2 years campaign. In 1145 He set out for Varanasi but was killed in the battle,leaving his wife, Suryavana and his only son, Suryavarman III to reign the empire. He was buried in Angkor Wat.
Suryavarman II is regarded as one of the greatest leaders of the Khmer nation and is greatly respected by his people. His great conquests and achievements still inspire many people. His temple to Vishnu, Angkor Wat is still the largest Hindu temple ever constructed and his dynasty rules the empire until today. Although he couldn't achieve his dream to unify Southeast Asia, his successors did so and Suryavarman II would have certainly been proud.
- Suryavarman II was one of the few emperors of the Khmer Empire who only had one wive. The reason behind this was Suryavarman's and Suryavana's loyalty and eternal love to each other. Suryavana never remarried after his dead and was very sad for a long time,even implementing a year of national mourning after his dead. Suryavana was later buried in Angkor Wat next to her husband
- Suryavarman II was the only emperor of the Khmer Empire who only had one child
- Suryavarman II was one of the youngest emperors of the Khmer Empire to date
- Suryavarman II was a formidable swordsman and warrior,he always led his army personally into battle and fought with them
- Suryavarman II was often on the battlefield instead of being at home with his wife and son,despite this he was a caring father and husband
- Suryavarman II was very tall for his time,the average man in the Khmer Empire was 1.70 meter while he was 2.10 meter tall. He was also muscular hence his nickname Suryavarman II "the Muscular".