Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.

What does Chau Say Tevoda mean?

"Tevoda" is a Khmer word derived from Sanskrit "Devata", but with a slightly different meaning. A Devata is a female protecting semi-deity. A Tevoda is an asexual heavenly being, a kind of angel neither male nor female. The first syllable "Te" is slightly stressed. There are countless other transcriptions for "Chau Say Tevoda", for example "Chau Srey Tevoda" or "Chao Sai Tevoda".

Overview of Chau Say Tevoda Temple

Chau Say Tevoda is a small temple of similar design and floor plan to that of Thommanon located across the street (except for additional gopuras and library), but for years appeared as Thommanon’s neglected sister, languishing in significantly worse condition than Thommanon, which had been restored back in the 1960s. 

Chau Say Tevoda is now undergoing an extensive restoration project, for the moment allowing the visitor a close up look at the restoration process. The small section of the temple pictured to the left is currently in the process of being reconstructed. Chau Say Tevoda seems to stand in partnership with Thommanon, but in fact was built much later in Suryavarman II’s rule. 

Chau Say Tevoda displays some well-executed carvings that are in still fair condition, especially those on the eastern gopura. Though most carvings are Hindu-themed, there are also some Buddhist-themed reliefs. The eastern walkway from the temple leads to the Siem Reap River a few hundred meters away

History of Chau Say Tevoda

Originally Chau Say Tevoda was partly built in the mid-12th century under the reign of King Suryavarman II. Further supplementation of structures was done under the reign of Jayavarman VII. Though the temple was built under Hindu kings during the 11th and 12th centuries with predominantly Hindu deities such as Shiva and Vishnu, representation of Buddha images was interpreted to have been built during the reign of Dharanindravarman, father of Jayavarman VII, who ruled from Preah Khan Kompong Svay. 

The temple was reconstructed on the basis of about 4,000 elements of the temple that were found lying around at the site. This restoration was done by a Chinese team between 2000 and 2009 under a project sponsored by the People's Republic of China.

Layout & Design of Chau Say Tevoda

The Tevoda is built to a cruciform plan and linked to an entrance hall, similar to the Hindu temples built in India, particularly in Odisha. The temple has four gopuras or towers on the four cardinal signs with an entrance from the east though a raised bridge. 

The long hall, which links the gopuras and central chamber of the temple, has very elegant flower decorations. The temple consists of a central tower with an attached mandapa, which is achieved through an antarala chamber of small size, and with two libraries on its southern and northern sides.

It is enclosed by a compound wall which has four gopuras or towers. To its east, there is a raised causeway that leads to the Siem Reap River. Many of the sculptures depict Vishnu and are in a fairly good condition. However, the main deity of the temple is Shiva. 

Some of the sculptures are also of Buddha but disfigured totally. With time the ceiling has collapsed and led to further deterioration. The defaced Buddhas, which are deified in a lotus posture, flanked by devotees, are in a mandapa behind a pediment from the entrance door which leads to the antarala.

The incomplete eastern Gopura I, which is oriented in the western direction, has a roof which is part of the second "pediment of the lateral southern extension" which is not fully restored. The main figure here is of Buddha in a cross legged posture seated on a high platform flanked by disfigured carvings which are interpreted as that of Garuda and the king of Nagas. 

The top pediment of this Gopura I with figure of Buddha has an umbrella cover of a Bodhi tree. Carvings depicting episodes from the life of Buddha are seen on the northern door of the eastern Gopura I. 

A notable bass relief here is of Sita (heroine of the epic Ramayana) in a seated posture over an altar flanked by rakshasis (female demonesses). Hanuman, in a small monkey form, is carved in sitting posture facing Sita and offering her Rama's ring. A wall built with laterite stones enclosing the temple, which had existed in the past, has disappeared. 

The temple was in a dilapidated state with 4,000 of its elements lying scattered on the embankment and in the Siem Reap River. Between 2000 and 2009 some of these elements were put together under a restoration project initiated by the People's Republic of China. The temple reopened in late 2009 and is fully accessible.

Entry Tower

The entry towers are mostly demolished except for traces of the bases and stair ways with sculpted steps. A raised causeway on three rows of octagonal supports (later than the monument) and a terrace link the east entry tower to a nearby river to the east.

Pediments

At the south of the passage a scene depicts the combat of Sugriva and Vali, at the north of the passage (East Side) the reliefs include monkeys, Shiva, and Parvati on a bull, and apsaras.

Central Sanctuary

A long room with a porch precedes the square Central Sanctuary connecting it with the east entry tower by a passage raised on three rows of columns of which only traces remain. This long room is covered with a pattern of flowers inscribed in squares and sculpted with stone flowers such as are seen at Banteay Srei and Baphuon

The three false doors of the Central Sanctuary are decorated with foliage and columns with diamond-shaped patterns (lozenges) and flowers (on the left); human figures accentuate some of the bands of foliage in the columns.

What to see at Chau Say Tevoda

The 42 metres long and 33 metres wide temple walls made of laterite has four Gopuram gateways in the cardinal directions. Gopurams and the other monuments are built from sandstone blocks.

Two depictions of Ramayana scenes, including the death of Valin, at the south side of the east Gopuram, are in a sound condition. The causeway connecting the Gopuram with the main shrine again is a later addition from the time of Jayavarman VIII (1243-95).

There are two edifices called libraries in the north-east and south-east corner of the enclosed temple compound. The central main structure is a cruciform Prasat temple tower with a single Mandapa antechamber to the east. It is slightly smaller than the neighbouring Thommanon sanctuary. The sculptural decoration is of the same artistic quality, but in a poorer condition due to vandalism.

The exterior wall of the Mandapa is covered with a floral pattern inscribed in geometrical squares and decorated with stone flowers similar to the famous stone carvings of Banteay Srei. A panel on the ground to the south possibly is an illustration of a maternity hospital.

The inscription of this temple tells us about a ceremony called Shivasaharatri celebrated inside this temple. Shivasaharatri memorizes the night when Shiva made love with his nine wives to absorb female energy called Shakti, he thereby increased his sprititual energy to create the universe and all creatures.

After completing his creation work Shiva died on his wife’s chest. Shiva's Linga and his wife’s Yoni symbolize this creational power. Brahmins poured water or milk on the top of the Linga, and afterwards collected the holy liquid from the spout of the Yoni panel.

Chau Say Tevoda was a syncretistic Hindu and Buddhist temple, as there are not only Hindu topics depicted in the lintels' and pediments' stone carvings, but Buddhist legends, too, the popular story of Preah Visadatara in particular.

Some Buddhist reliefs at pediments were thoroughly scratched out during the iconoclasm period in the late 13th century. That's why Glaize calls the temple "Brahmanic" (Hindu). But the pediment at the west face of the southern satellite building marks the temple Buddhist.

Preparing your visit to Chau Say Tevoda

Location

Chau Say Tevoda is located a few hundred metres east of the Victory Gate at Angkor Thom. It’s less than 200m directly south of Thommanon temple. Other nearby temples include Ta Keo and Chapel of the Hospital.

Check the location of Chau Say Tevoda on Google Maps for your reference.

Getting There

You can reach Chau Say Tevoda from Angkor Thom by exiting through the Victory Gate along Victory Way. Alternatively, you can head east from Angkor Wat to Srah Srang. From here, turn left and then turn right after Ta Prohm temple. Follow the road to the left and go across the Siem Reap River. You’ll see the temple on the left side.

You can easily reach this temple by all modes of transport. It’s not too far from the town, so it’s easily accessible by bicycle, tuk tuk and taxi. You may also see some larger buses and minivans here for tour groups.

Chau Say Tevoda Tours

Chau Say Tevoda isn’t often visited by tourists. However, it can easily be added to tours which include Angkor Thom and other popular temples nearby, such as Ta Prohm temple.

If you’re on the Angkor Wat Small Circuit Tour, then ask your guide to stop along the way. If you’re on a shared tour or in a group, then you may not get the opportunity to visit this temple unless it’s explicitly mentioned in the itinerary.

Accommodation

As the temple is located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, there is no accommodation nearby. Most guests will tend to stay in Siem Reap town and travel the short journey to the park to see the temples. There are hundreds of accommodation choices in town to suit nearly every taste and budget.

Here is our Siem Reap Travel Guide

Why Visit Chau Say Tevoda?

The temple was once is a poor state with nearly 4,000 parts of it laying around in the area. However, the Chinese embarked on a 9-year restoration project and it’s now a great place to visit.

Many visitors overlook this temple in favour of the other more popular temples like Bayon or Ta Prohm. This means that you can explore in relative peace and quiet.

You can get some great shots of this Angkor Wat style temple without thousands of tourists blocking your view.

Chau Say Tevoda Temple Photos

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My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!

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