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Temples Between Angkor Wat And Angkor Thom

Temples Between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom Ta Prohm Kel Temple
Ta Prohm Kel temple is located on the way from Angkor Wat to Angkor Thom, about 300 meters from the west entry gate of Angkor Wat. The chapel made of sandstone that faces east. The temple was built in the late 12th century, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. According to an inscription found in 1928, the chapel of 102 hospitals built by King Javavarman VII has the same form.





 

Bakeang

Phnom Bakheng Temple

Phnom Bakheng temple was built on a natural hill. Commonly referred to as temple-mountain because it is an earthly facsimile of Mount Meru, it is located on the left side of the road from Angkor Wat to Angkor Thom and attracts scores of tourists who come to watch the sunset or sunrise. The temple of Phnom Bakeng was cut from the rock that formed the natural hill and faced with sandstone in the late 9thearly 10th centuries, during the reign of King Yasovarman I (AD 889-910), dedicating to Shiva Brahmanism. Phnom Ba Kheng is 65 meters high and the temple has long towers. Phnom Ba Kheng temple was a replica of Mount Meruand the number of towers suggests a cosmic symbolism. The seven level-ground, five tiers, upper terrace of the monument represent the seven heavens of Indra in Brahmanism mythology.

The temple of Phnom Bakheng must have been a spectacular site in its entirety because originally 108 towers were evenly spaced around the tiers with yet another one, the central sanctuary, at the apex of them all. Today, however, most of these towers have collapsed. Besides the central sanctuary, there were 4 towers on the upper terrace, 12 on each of the 5 levels of the platform, and another 44 towers around the base. The brick towers on the different levels represent the 12 years cycle of the animal zodiac. It is also possible that the numerology of the 108 towers symbolizes the 4 lunar phases with 27 days in each phase. The arrangement allows for only 33 corresponds with the number of Brahmanism deities.

At the top of the hill, Phnom Ba Kheng is set on a tiered platform of five levels. There are stairways of a very steep gradient on all four sides. Seated lions flank the step at each of the five levels. The complex is surrounded by a laterite rampart with gopuras. Beyond there is a small structure to north with sandstone pillars in which there are two lingams. A modern footprint of the Buddha is in the center of the path. Two libraries are opening only to the west on either side of the part.

At the top most platforms of 76 meters square and 13 meters high, five towers are arranged in quincunx. The central tower once contained the lingam to which the temple was dedicated. It opens to all four cardinal points. The remaining four sanctuaries also sheltered lingams on pedestals and open on two sides. The central sanctuary is decorated with female divinities set in niches at the corner of the temple which have delicately carved bands of foliage above; the pilasters are finely worked and have raise interlacing of figurines. The makaras on the tympanums are lively and strongly executed. The decoration above the doors is well preserved showing a panel of foliated cusps with the heads of 33 gods. An inscription is visible on the west side of the north door of the central sanctuary.

According to an inscription on the temple, Bhnom Ba Kheng was the center of the city of Yasodharapura. This fact was verified in the late 9th century with the discovery of an old rampart. This temple was originally called Yasodharakiri. Later it was known as Phnom Kandal. It might have been called Phnom Kandal because it was built in the center of the city Yasodharapura of because it is between Phnom Bok and Phnom Krom. Today visitors refer to the temple as Phnom Ba Kheng. This name was found in an inscription on the temple in the 16th century.

Baksei Cham Krong Temple

Baksei Cham Krong temple is located about 150 meters north of Phnom Ba Kheng. The temple was perhaps begun construction by King Harshavarman I (AD- 910-944) and completed by King Rajendravarman (AD 944-968), dedicating Shiva Brahmanism. Inscriptions on the door reveal the date of the temple and mention a golden image of Shiva and the mythical founder of the Khmer civilization.

The temple is a simple plan with a single tower on top of a square, four tiered laterite platform. Three levels of the base are undecorated, but the top platform has horizontal molding around it that sets off the sanctuary. A square, central brick tower stands on a sandstone base shaped like a cone. It has one door opening to the east with three false doors on the other sides, which are in remarkably good condition. Most of the lintels are in poor condition but, on the east, Indra riding a three-headed elephant is still recognizable and is finely carved. The interior of the tower has a sunken floor and a corbelled vault.


Rorng
 Romong Temple

Rorn Romong temple is southwest of Phnom Ba Kheng. A small brick temple, the upper part has been lost over time. According to local residents, the temple’s name comes from the traditional Khmer game Romong. Some people, however, say the temple was once used to house an animal called Romong. Such an animal does not exist today, however, and no one has ever seen a picture of it.

Thma Bay Kaek Temple

Thma Bay Kaek temple is located near the south moat of Angkor Thom and north of Baksei Cham Krong temple, about 125 meters from the entrance to Angkor Thom. This temple was built in the 10th century to worship Brahmanism. No one knows who built the temple.

 

 

Temples At Vong Toch ( Small Circuit)

The temples at Vong Toch include the temples along the road from the Victory Gate to the East Gate of Angkor Wat.

Thommanon Temple

Thommanon temple is about 500 meters east of the Victory Gate. A temple dedicated to Brahmanism, it was built in the late 11thand early 12th centuries by King Suryavarman II. The temple is rectangular in plan with a sanctuary opening to the east, a moat and a rampart with two gopuras, one on the east and another on the west, and one library near the south-east of the wall. Only traced of a laterite base of the wall remain.

Chao Say Tavada Temple

Chao Say Tevada temple is south of Thommanon temple. The temple was in the late 11th and early 12th centuries by King Suryavarman II, dedicating to Brahmanism. Chao Say Tevada and Thommanon temple are two small monuments framed by the jungle that stand across the road from each other. Because of similarities in plan and form they are often referred to as the brother-sister temple. Chao Say Tavada has deteriorated more than Thommanon.

Ta Keo Temple

TakoeTa Keo temple is located east of Thommanon and Chao Say Tevada on the east bank of Stung Siem Reap. The temple was built in the late 10th to early 12th centuries by King Jayavarman V and Suryavarman I, dedicating to Shiva Brahmanism. Had it been finished, Ta Koe, undoubtedly, would have been one of the finest temples at Angkor.

The temple rises to a height of 22 meters to the sky, giving an impression of strength and power. An innovation at Ta Keo is a porch at each cardinal point on the five towers of the top level. A gallery was situated on a second base and had a roof of brick which is now destroyed. Enormous blocks of feldsparthic wacke a very hard to carve, greenish-grey sandstone were cut to a regular size and placed in position. This absence of decoration gives it simplicity of design that separates it from other temples.

Ta Keo temple is a replica of Mount Meru with a rectangular plan and five square towers arranged in a quincunx, standing majestically on a finely molded three-tiered pedestal that is 12 meters high. Long rectangular halls on both levels probably sheltered pilgrims. Two libraries on the east side of the platform open to the west. The upper platform is square and stands on three diminishing tiers with stairways on each side. Most of the space on the upper level is occupied by the five towers, all unfinished, opening to the four cardinal points. The central sanctuary dominates the layout which is given further importance by the development of porches.

 

Chapel of the Hospital

The Chapel of the hospital is west of Ta Keo temple and Spean Thma, on the west side of the road just over the bridge across Stung Siem Reap. The chapel was built in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. An inscription found in the area confirms the identity of this site as one of the chapels of the 102 hospitals built by the King. The central sanctuary is cruciform-shaped opened to east with false door on the other three sides. Female divinities adorn the exterior and a scroll surrounds the base of the tower. The pediments are decorated with images of the Buddha.

 

Spean Thma

Spean Thma is about 100 meters west of Ta Keo temple. It is a bridge constructed of reused blocks of sandstone of varying shapes and sizes, which suggests it was built to replace an earlier bridge. The bridge is supported on massive pillars, the opening between them spanned by narrow corbelled arches. Reportedly, there are traces of 14 arches.

 

Taney Temple

Taney temple is located in the forest, about 800 meters east of Ta Keo temple. It is accessible by small truck or vehicle. The temple was built in the late 12thcentury by King Jayavarman VII. The original name of the temple is not known, but according to the local people, the name may have come from an old man named Ney who cared for the temple. This explanation is plausible, because most of the temples at Angkor are not called by their original names.

 

Top Temple

Top temple is located in the forest northwest of Ta Keo temple near Ta Prohm temple. Like Ta Keo temple, Top Temple is constructed of large sandstones.

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta ProhmTa Prohm temple is located about 1 Kilometer east of the Victory Gate, southeast of Ta Keo temple. Its rampart is near the northwest corner of the rampart of Banteay Kdey temple. The temple was built in AD 1186 by King Jayavarman VII, dedicating to his mother. Shrouded in jungle, Ta Prohm temple is ethereal in aspect and conjures up a romantic aura. Trunks of trees twist amongst stone pillars. Fig, bayan and kapok trees spread their gigantic roots over, under and in between the stones, probing walls and terraces apart, as their branches and leaves intertwine to form a roof above the structure.

The Sanskrit inscription on stone tells something about its size and function. Ta Prohm owned 3,140 villages. It took 79,365 people to maintain the temple including 18 high priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers. Among the property belonging to the temples was a set of golden dishes weighing more than 500 kilograms, 35 diamonds, 40,620 pearls, 4,540 precious stones, 876 veils from China, 512 silk beds and 523 parasols.

 

The monastic complex of Ta Prohm is a series of long, low building standing on one level connected with passages and concentric galleries framing the main sanctuary. A rectangular, laterite wall, which is 700 by 1,000 meters enclose the entire complex. The east entrance is signaled by a gopura in the outer rampart of the temple. There is a sandstone hall just north of the gopura known as the Hall of Dancers which is distinguished by large, square pillars. The central sanctuary itself is easy to miss and stands out because of its absence of decoration. The stone has been hammered, possibly to prepare it for covering stucco and gilding, which has since fallen off. This accounts for the plainness of the walls of this important shrine. Evenly spaced holes on the inner walls of the central sanctuary suggest they were originally covered with metal sheets.

 

Banteay Kdey Temple

Banteay KdeyBanteay Kdey temple is located southeast of Ta Prohm. The temple was built in the latter half of the 12th and early 13th centuries by King Jayavarman VII. The temple is similar in art and architecture of Ta Prohm, but it is smaller and less complex. It is unknown to who this temple was dedicated as the inscription stone has never been found.

According to archaeologists, the original basic plan of the temple including a central sanctuary, a surrounding gallery and a passageway connected to another gallery. A moat enclosed the temple, another rampart which is 700 by 500 meters is made of laterite and has four gopura in the Bayon style, each with four faces looking in the cardinal directions, and garudas placed at the corners of each gopura, a favorite design of King Jayavarman VII. These gopuras are of the same style as those at Ta Prohm.

Research conducted by the University of Sofia has indicated that this temple was built on another older temple, as evidenced by a foundation base found under Banteay Kdey temple. Archeologists believe the foundation may be related to Kod village during the reign of King Jayavarman II.

 

Srah Srang

Srah Srang is located face to face with Banteay Kdey temple. It, too, was built in late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. It is a large lake which is 700 by 300 meters with an elegant lading terrace of superb proportion and scale. It is pleasant spot to sit and look out over the surrounding plain. Srah Srang always has water has water and is surrounded by greenery. It is built of laterite with sandstone moldings.

The platform is of cruciform shape with naga balustrades flanked by two lions. At the front there is an enormous garuda riding a three-headed naga. At the back this is a mythical creature comprising a three-headed naga, the lower portion of a garuda and a stylized tail decorated with small naga heads. The body of the naga rests on a dais supported by mythical monsters.

Kravan Temple

Kravan temple is located east of Angkor Wat and south of Beanteay Kdei. The temple was built in 921 during the reign of King Harshavarman I (AD 910-923), dedicating to Vishnu Brahmanism. It may have been built by high court officials. Although this temple looks small and somewhat undistinguished from the outside, it contains some remarkable brick sculptures on its interior walls which stand alone as unique examples in Khmer art. The interiors of two of the five towers have sculptures depicting Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi; the scene in the central tower is the most impressive, but both are exceptional in stature and quality of workmanship. The five brick towers are in a row on one platform which is decorated with carved, sandstone, lintels and columns. All of the towers open to the east.

 

Batchum Temple

Batchum temple is located about 300 meters south of Srah Srang. It is accessible by Beung Mealir ancient road, which is located north of Kravan Village. Constructed of brick, the temple has three towers that face east. According to the inscription, the temple was built by a Buddhist officer named Kavey Treanrimthon during the reign of Rajendravarman, who crowned in AD 944. According to the inscription written in AD 953, the temple was originally called Saok Takrum. It is now called Batchum.

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Roluos

Roluos is the site of an ancient center of Khmer civilization known as Hariharalay, located about 12 kilometers from Siem Reap Provincial of town. It includes three temples-Preah Kor, Bakong and Lolei. After King Jayavarman II established his capital on Phnom Kulen in AD 802 inaugurating the Angkor Period, soon afterward he moved the capital back to Roluos perhaps for a better source of food or for defense purpose. King Jayavarman II died at Roluos in AD 850. It is generally believed that his successors remained there until the capital was moved to Ba Kheng in AD 905. 


The structures of the Roluos group are distinguished by tall, square-shaped, brick towers on low pedestals. They open to the east, with false doors on the other three sides. A rampart originally enclosed the temple although only traces remain today. The library is a rectangular building with a vaulted roof and frontons. A temple often has two libraries, one on each side of the gopura preceding the central sanctuary.
Preah Kor Temple


Preah Kor temple is located between Bakong and Lolei on the western side of the road to Bakong. the temple was built in 9th century by King Indravarman I (AD 877-889), dedicating to Shiva Brahmanism. It is also a funerary temple built for the King’s parents, maternal grandparents, and a previous king, Jayavarman II and his wife. Originally square in plan and surrounded by three ramparts with gopuras, the complex seems small today because of the dilapidated state of the rampart. The outer rampart is 400 by 500 meters square with gopuras on the east and west sides. A small terrace, which is largely destroyed, precedes the laterite gopura at the east. Long halls or galleries parallel the middle rampart, two each at the east and west, and one each at the northeast and southeast. There are galleries with a porch opening to east on the north and south sides of the walkway. An unusual, square, brick structure stands between the long hall and the gallery at the south. The brick rampart inside has two gopuras at the east and directly opposite on the west.


Three images of Shiva’s mount Nandi are at the east of central area. Although only portions of the bulls remain, their original position can be discerned facing to the temple. The central area consists of brick towers set towards the east in two rows on low platform. The shrines of Preah Ko are built near ground level-a typical feature of Khmer temple that are dedicated to ancestors. The central towers are square in plan with a porch in each of the cardinal directions. Each of six towers of the central group was covered with elaborate stucco.
Bakong Temple.


Bakong temple is south of Preah Kor temple. King Indravarman I also built it in AD 881, dedicating to Shiva Brahmanism. The temple was the center of Hariharalaya City and was probably the state temple of King Indravarman.
It is a temple-mountain symbolizing the cosmic Mount Meru. Four levels leading to the central sanctuary extend the symbolism, and correspond to the worlds of mythical being nagas, garudas, rakasas, and yakshas. The fifth and top most level is reserved for the gods-the levels represent the five cosmic levels of Mount Meru.


The temple is enclosed within two separate ramparts. The out rampart measure 900 by 700 meters. It surrounds a moat, and there are causeways on four sides, which are bordered by low naga balustrades. The inner and smaller rampart has a gopura of sandstone and laterite in the center of each side of wall. Long halls on each side lie parallel to the eastern wall. They were probably rest houses for visitors. Pairs of square-shaped, brick structure at the northeast and southeast corners are identified by rows of circular holes and an opening to the west. On each side of the processional way, just beyond the halls, there are two square structures with four doors. The inscription of the temple was found in the northern building. Further along the processional way, there are two long sandstone buildings standing parallels on each side and opening on to the causeway. These may have been storehouse or libraries.


The diminishing platforms are square in plan with stairways on all four sides. The central sanctuary is visible from each of the five levels because of the unusual width of the tiers. The sanctuary is square with four tiers and a lotus-shaped finial. Only the base of the original central sanctuary remains. The upper portion was constructed at a later date, perhaps during the 12th century, which explains the lotus spire that is characteristic of that period.
Lolei Temple.


Lolei temple is located north of the main road in the center of Baray, close to a modern Buddhist temple. King Yasovarman I dedicating to Shiva and in memory of the King’s father built the temple in the late 9th century in 893. Lolei is worth a visit just for its exquisite carvings and inscriptions which some consider to be the finest of the Roluos group. The temple was originally located in the center of a great Baray, the Indratataka. According to an inscription found at the temple, the water in this pond was for use at the capital of Hariharalaya and for irrigating the plains in the area.
The temple consists of a double platform rising originally form the Baray surrounded by a laterite rampart on all four sides. Lions on the landings of the stairways guard the temple. The four towers appear randomly placed on a raised smaller brick platform. A sandstone channel in the shape of a cross situated in the center of the four towers is an unusual feature; the channels extend to the cardinal directions from a square pedestal for a lingam. It is speculated that holy water poured over the lingam flowed in the channels. The panels of the false door have multiple figures. The inscriptions on the doorframes of these towers are exceptionally fine.


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Temples At Vong Thom (Grand Circuit)

The temples at Vong Thom include the temples along the road from Srah Srong to Day Chhang Gate. Pre Rup Temple Pre Rup temple is about 2 kilometers northeast of Srah Srang and about 500 meters south of the East Baray. The temple was built in 961 during the reign of King Rajendravarman, dedicating to Shiva Brahmanism. The boldness of the architectural design is superb and gives the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. The temple is close in style to the East Mebon, although it was built several years later. It is a temple-mountain symbolizing Mount Meru. Up until now, Cambodians regards this temple as having funerary association, but its true function is uncertain. Nevertheless, the name Pre Rup recalls one of the rituals of cremation, in which the silhouette of the body of the decease, outlined with its ashes, is successively represented according to different orientations. Some archaeologists believe that the large vat located at the base of the east stairway to the central area was used at cremations. Constructed of laterite with brick towers, the plan is square and comprises two ramparts with gopuras placed centrally in each wall. A platform of three narrow tiers serves as a pedestal for five towers, which are set out in quincunx-one in each corner and one in the center. The outer rampart is 127 by 116 meters. Within the out laterite rampart there are two groups of three towers on each side of the entrance; the groups share a common base. Long halls are placed between the two ramparts. In the northeast corner there is a curious small square building built of large blocks of laterite and open on all four sides. The inscription describing the foundation of the temple was found near this building. On the left and right sides of the east gopura of the second rampart there are libraries with high towers. They sheltered carved stones with motifs of the nine planets and the seven ascetics. In the center there is a vat between two rows of sandstone pillars. This platform was more likely to have been a base for a wooden structure or a platform for Shiva’s mount Nandi. Top Temple Top temple is located about 500 meters south of Pre Rup temple and north of Bor Em Village. According to old villagers, particularly those in Prakak commune, this temple was originally called Damkol Sob, as related to the story of King Trasok Paem. Leak Neang Temple Leak Neang temple is located near the northwest part of Pre Rup temple, about 100 meters east of the entrance to Ta Prey village. Constructed of brick, the temple faces east. It was built in the second half of the 10th century in AD 960, by King Rajendravarman.  East Mebon Temple East Mebon temple is about 500 meters northeast of Pre Rup temple. The temple was built in AD 952 by King Rajendravarman. The temple is similar to Pre Rup in plan, construction and decoration. A major difference, however, is that the East Mebon once stood on a small island in the middle of Yasodharatataka (the East Baray). The only access was by boat to one of the four landing platform, situated at the mid-points on each of the four sides of the temple. The decoration on the lintels of the temple is superior in quality of workmanship and composition to that of Pre Rup. The motifs on the false doors, with small mythical figures frolic king amongst foliage, are particularly fine. Ta Som Temple Ta Som temple is located east of Neak Pean. It was built in early 13th century by King Jayavarman VII, dedicating to his father. A significant feature of Ta Som is the growth of a huge ficus tree on the east gopura, which provides a dramatic example of nature and art entwined. The temple is a single shrine on one level surrounded by three laterite ramparts. The superstructure are carved with four faced. The main tower is cruciform shaped with four porches. Kraol Ko Temple Kraol Ko temple is located north of Neak Pean about 900 meters off the right side of the road. The temple was built in late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. The main point of interest of the temple is the frontons on the ground. Two outstanding examples depict a Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara standing on a lotus, flanked by devotees, and a strongly modeled scene of Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana to shelter the shepherds. The temple is a single tower surrounded by tow laterite ramparts with a gopura at the east and a moat enclosing it with steps leading down to the water. A library built of laterite and sandstone opening to the south is on the left of the interior courtyard. The central sanctuary stands on cruciform terrace.

Neak Pean Temple:

Neak Pean temple is located east of Preah Khan and about 300 meters off the road. The temple is in the center of Jayatataka or Northern Baray and placed on the same axis as Preah Khan. It was built in the second half of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. The temple seems to have served as a place where pilgrims could go and take the waters, both physically and symbolically-the Khmer equivalent of a spa. The central pond is a replica of Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas, situated at the top of the universe, which gives birth to the four great rivers of the earth. These rivers are represented at Neak Pean by sculpted gargoyles corresponding to the four cardinal points. Neak Pean was probably consecrated to the Buddha coming to the glory of enlightenment. Neak Pean temple is set in a large, square, ma-made pond which is 70 meters square bordered by steps and surrounded by four smaller square ponds. A small circular island, with a steeped base of seven laterite tiers, is in the center of the large square pond, and forms the base for the shrine dedicated to Avalokitshavara. Small elephants sculpted in the round originally stood on the four corners of the pond. The bodies of two nagas encircle the base of the island and their tails entwine on the west side which give the temple name. The heads of the nagas are separated to allow passage on the east. A blooming lotus surrounds the top of the platform, while lotus petals decorate the base. The central sanctuary is cruciform shaped, stands on two recessed levels, opens to the east and is crowned with a lotus. The three other false doors are decorated with large image of Avalokiteshvara. The fronton depict episodes of the life of the Buddha-the cutting of the hair (east), the great departure (north), Buddha in meditation protected by a naga (west). The Principal feature in the pond of the central sanctuary is a three-dimensional sculpted horse swimming towards the east with figures clinging to its sides. The horse, Balaha, is a manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who has transformed himself into a horse to rescue Simhala, a merchant, and his companions of misfortune. They were shipwrecked on an island off Sri Lanka and snatched by female ogresses. The victims are holding on to the horse’s tail in the hope of being carried ashore safely. There are four small chambers which have vaulted roofs and back onto the main pond, then open onto four small ponds with steps leading to the water. The interior of the vault is decorated with panels of lotus and a central waterspout in the form of an animal or human in the center. The four building served a ceremonial function, where pilgrims could absolve themselves of their sins. They anointed themselves with lustral water, which flowed from the spout connected to the central pond. Each water spout is different-elephant head (north), human head (east), lion (south) and horse (west). The human head is of exceptionally fine quality workmanship and was coined the Lord of Men.

Preah Khan Temple

Preah Khan temple is located 2 kilometers north-east of Angkor Thom on the Grand Circuit. The temple was built in the second half of the 12th century in AD 1191 by King Jayavarman VII, dedicating to his father Dharanindravarman. The Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares served as the nucleus of a group that includes Neak Pean and Ta Som, located 4 kilometers long Jayatataka Baray-the last of the great reservoirs to be built in Angkor. The inscription indicates that Preah Khan was built on the battle site where King Jayavarman VII finally defeated the Chams. In those days it was known as Nagarajayacri which mean the city of Preah Khan. Four concentric ramparts subdivide Preah Khan. The outer or fourth wall, which is encircled by a wide moat, today encloses a large tract of jungle, formerly the living quarters of the monks, students and attendants of Preah khan. The second rampart delineated the principle religious compound of about four hectares within which there is a dense concentration of temple and shrines. The central complex is Buddhist. The north and western sectors are dedicated to Brahmanism-Vishbu (west) and Shiva (north), whilst the southern sector is a place of ancestor worship. The eastern sector forms the grand entrance to the central shrine. A place for a king located near Preah khan temple is called Veal Reacheak or Prea Reachea Dak. It is 1,500 meters long and 1,200 meters wide, nearby about 700 meters north of Preah khan temple along the road to Angkor Thom district is another small temple called Ptu. The temple was made of laterite. West Baray West Baray is the largest man-made body of water at Angkor. Visitors can hire a boat to take them to the island in the middle where West Mebon temple once stood. Today, only traces of it remain. But the island is a pleasant spot for a picnic or just walking around when water level is low. Alternatively, visitor can also go for a refreshing swim. As the temple in the middle is in the same style as Baphuon, the Baray was probably constructed in the 11th century. The east dyke leads to Ba kheng temple. Some historian believed that the West Baray could have been a mooring place for the royal barges as well as a reservoir and a place for breeding fish. The West Baray is a vast man-made lake, surrounded by an earthen levee which forms a dyke. According to legend, the young daughter of a ruler of Angkor was grabbled by an enormous crocodile, which made a large opening in the south dyke of the West Baray that can still be seen today. The crocodile was capture and killed. The princess, still living in its stomach, was rescued. West Mebon Baray West Mebon temple is located in the middle of West Baray on an island about 11 kilometers northwest of Siem Reap. The temple was built in the second half of the 11th century by King Suryavarman I, dedicating to Vishu Brahmanism. It was originally surrounded by a square rampart with three squares, sandstone gopuras and a sanctuary on one level crowned with a lotus. Most towers have collapsed, but the three on the east side are reasonably intact. A sandstone platform at the center is linked to a causeway of laterite and sandstone that leads to the east dyke. The sides of the towers are carved with lively animals set in small square, a type of decoration found also at the Baphuon. Ak Yum Temple Ak Yum Temple is located southern end of the West Baray. The temple was built between 7th and 9th centuries. The inscriptions found on pillars give the date of AD 609, 704 and 1001 from Ak Yum temple. Evidence of a lingam and some sacred depository has also been found. During the construction of the West Baray this site was partially buried by the south levee of the Baray. The temple was built on three levels standing on a platform and enclosed by a brick wall. The monument was built of brick with sandstone bays. Four shrines occupied the corners of the second tier and two others stood on each side, making a total of twelve shrines. The central sanctuary was on the uppermost tier and opened to the east with false doors on the other three sides. Post holes are still visible and were probably used to support a wooden framework for the monument.

 

Phnom Kulen

Phnom Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and is a popular place of pilgrimage during weekends and festivals. Phnom Kulen is in Svay Leu and Varin district, about 60 kilometers from Siem Reap provincial town and 25 kilometers from Banteay Srei. Phnom Kulen, originally called Mount Mahendraparvata, is the mountain where, when King Jayavarman II (AD 802-850) proclaimed independence from Java in 802, the Angkorian Empire was born. This mountain plateau served as the capital of the first Khmer Empire for more than half a century before it relocated south minor temples are found around the plateau, including Rorng Chen temple, the first pyramid built by an Angkorian King, but many of them are difficult to reach. Numerous important sites lie scattered across the mountaintop, which is accessible by foot or by car. They include: Chub Preah Chub Preah is a plain on the flank of the mountain. The cool water that flows between the rocks can refresh weary travelers before they continue their journey. Nearby is a large, rare Champa tree, 0.7 meters in diameter and 15 meters tall. The site also has a large Buddha statue and many small statues built in the 16th century. 1,000 Lingams One thousand lingams are located on the top of the mountain, along Stung Siem Reap.

The site features impressive riverbed rock carvings include innumerable scores of yoni and lingam that sit on the bottom of a stream from which water flows year round. Srah Damrey Srah Damrey or the Elephant Pond is a collection of giant stone animals guarding this sacred mountain. Terrace of the Leper King Terrance of the Leper King or Preah Learn Sdech Kunlung is a smooth, volcanic terrace. At the center of the terrace is a small brick temple that has been smashed to pieces. Based on the rocks they were found, scientists believe the site might have been a volcano millions of years ago. Preah Ang Thom Preah Ang Thom is located on the mountaintop and attracts Khmer pilgrims during religious festivals. Built in the 16th century, it features a large statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana. The statue is 7.5 meters tall and 8 meters long, carved into a huge sandstone boulder. The site also offers spectacular views across lush jungle. There are two Champa trees at the site, and local people worship there because they believe the site holds great power. Preah Ang Thom is close to Chhat Ruot, a multilayered umbrella; Preah Bat Coan Tuk, footprints of Buddha; and Peung Chhat, Peung Eyso and Peung Eysey, overhanging rocks. Phnom Kulen Waterfall    Phnom Kulen waterfall farther downstream, is a good spot to cool off after explorations. It has two levels. The first level is 4 to 6 meters high and 10 to 15 meters wide, depending on whether it is the dry or rainy season. The second level is 15 to 20 meters high and 6 to 8 meters wide, depending on the season. Near the waterfall is a small jungle-covered laterite temple called Kraol Remeas temple.

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