Cambodia temples

temples du Cambodge

Hundreds of vestiges of temples

The Angkor Achaeological Park is the most visible part of an iceberg consisting of hundreds of vestiges of temples - sometimes entire cities - spreading over almost all of Cambodia.

This map displays, for now, the most spectacular sites, but all sites worth visiting in this area are not yet present.

Les principaux monuments du Cambodge

Banteay Chmar

The temple of Banteay Chmar is located about 100 kilometers northwest of Angkor, near the Thai border. It is a huge City - Temple, largely developed in the late 12th century by the great King Jayavarman VII. The abundant and magnificent sculptures of this site which were subject to extensive looting throughout the region are now better protected because of the continued presence of archaeological teams (WMF) responsible for the clearing and restoration of monuments, as well as the development of the site for visitors. Banteay Chmar is a large city, probably much older than the most part of the visible monuments of today. It has a moat and a baray along 1,700 meters, with a small Mebon at its centre. The entrance to the town to the east has a Dharmasala, a classical monument of the reign of Jayavarman VII sometimes called a "house of fire" and whose use is supposedly that of a haven for travelers. But as its name suggests, it was more likely a building for the recitation and teaching of... , the heart of a Buddhist Institute, a school or simply the chapel of a school or the capel of a hospital built during the reign of Jayavarman VII. The distribution of the sanctuaries inside the perimeter wall is similar to those of Preah Khan and Ta Prohm of Angkor and are similar, though perhaps more chaotic. It is a whole, enclosed by several enclosures forming a long rectangle of 170 by 40 meters, which should have first a very pure Angkorian monastery dedicated to the Buddha design, but has also received multiple additions of monuments dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and to religious or royal personages. As at the Bayon, the towers of the central sanctuary are four faced. It is accessed by a large hall, dance hall called out and which has superb bas-reliefs, representing a (creature which was half-woman, half-bird. The bas reliefs on the walls, depict scenes of battle on land or sea, and various unidentified legends. The most beautiful sculptures are a series of eight large Lokesvara forms possessing 4-32 arms and 1-16 heads. Despite the vandalism and looting, all the bas-reliefs of Banteay Chmar remain a unique attraction, surpassed only by their counterparts at the Bayon and Angkor Wat.

Koh Ker

Koh Ker is an archaeological site under development, situated within a hundred miles north-east of Siem Reap, on an axis connecting the ancient Imperial City with Voat Phou via Preah Vihear. Koh Ker contains numerous remains of temples, almost all built in the 10th century and most of them under the reign of Jayavarman IV, which allowed for even the audacious move of the capital of the Devaraja Empire out of Angkor, to what has become a particularly isolated, even deserted country side. Prasat Neang Khmaw is the first temple met, ... A solitary tower of laterite, guardian of the magnificent ruins of the city ... The main street of the town was oriented south-north to the main sanctuary Prasat Thom ... This axis that we follow today for the visit is marked by the numerous remains of monuments, mostly either single towers or groups of three brick towers. We have also met, in sandstone, monuments which are like UFOs in their architectural style and religious purposes. The main attraction of Koh Ker is a surprising, somewhat megalomaniacal monument : The Prasat Thom. This is a long esplanade with palaces and galleries and even a large moat ... At the end stands the main sanctuary, a pyramid of seven floors, nearly 60 meters high ... This group was very well-constructed, as this unfinished pyramid, is still standing today, with no collapsing and no recent important reparations The sculptures from the site of Koh Ker were victims of extensive looting in the area once deserted but are now better protected because of the continued presence of archaeological teams responsible for vegetation clearance and the restoration of monuments, as well as development of the site for visitors. The main buildings date from the twelfth century, as with Angkor Wat.

Beng Meala

Beng Mealea is a large city-temple located forty kilometers east of Angkor, a node of an ancient road leading to two destinations: Koh Ker to Preah Vihear and Voat Phou one hand, Kompong Svay and Sambor Prey Kuk other hand. The main buildings date from the twelfth century, as with Angkor Wat . Beng Meala is in the same style as Angkor-Wat, but without the large number of carved Apsaras, as this site was the victim of intensive looting.... it is now better protected because of the continued presence of archaeological teams responsible for the clearing and restoration of monuments, as well as accommodation for visitors.

The Temple of Beng Mealea is not of royal foundation ... The author's identity is a mystery but legend deals with a historic Khmer king or a duke, Kato Mealea who received from Indra himself a palace in the image of his god-stables. The written sources for this Angkorian legend mentions Angkor Wat as the identity of this palace, but Angkor Wat does not resemble stables in its form, unlike Beng Mealea… More over it has an author: Suryavarman II . Basically, Beng Mealea and Kato Mealea have the same name. Historical sensitivities of this type are numerous between the official history sometimes seriously interpreted from epigraphy, and a more folkloric vision relayed either orally or from records copied and written on palm leaves.

Tonle Bati

Located near Tonle Bati Lake, 40 km from Phnom Penh, the temple of Ta Prohm, from the 12th century, (and that of Yeay Pew) are well maintained with flowers and trees. It was built by King Jayavarman VII on the site of a shrine from the seventh century and contains superb sculpures, apsaras and bas-reliefs from the 12th century. This temple, Ta Prohm, therefore, involves the building of a model: a Chapel of the Hospital, at least the third such one to be given the name of Ta Prohm, or Ta Prohm Kel specifically, a legendary paralytic king of humble origin and who was miraculously healed before accessing the Throne. Note that Ta Prohm is described by travel guides as a term referring to Brahma, a hypothesis validated for the Great Angkor Ta Prohm, which has entries topped with towers with four faces that they, (the French) have long confused with Brahma. Inscriptions reveal that the Ta Prohm Angkor is a great foundation, like a department of health and had hospital chapels under its authority. Ta Prohm is a name that does not refer to Brahma, because otherwise it would not in Preah Prohm and Ta Prohm. The lexical root Prohm is used to form words and names evoking poetic purity, virtue, chastity. The particle Ta reveals that what was worshiped in the temple following the decline of Angkor was not Buddha but a “génie du terroir”

Battambang

The Battambang region is located relatively close to Siem Reap and Angkor, but relatively difficult to access due to regular flooding of the lake that requires a long terrestrial road to bypass it, still true today, but mitigated by recent opening of the great and beautiful road between Siem Reap and the Thai border. Thanks to another route, linking the Thai border to Battambang by Paylin, this region will see economic and tourist progress thanks to its proximity to Bangkok and the beaches of the central coast of Thailand. Two main Angkor monuments to visit in this region: ek Phnom and Phnom Banan. Ek Phnom is a monastery located 12 km from Battambang on the west bank of a canal along the northern side of the Sangkaè river. The archaeological site contains the small but impressive remains, of a temple built in the eleventh century to a new architectural form which had become fashionable, replacing temple mountains: an enclosure surrounding a temple Gopura composed of a halled tower, a Mandapa and two libraries. The shape of the temple is clearly visible as it is still standing, despite its poor condition. Its base, which is relatively high, was installed by placing blocks of stone, but without any trace of sculpture job. The modern monastery of Wat Phnom Ek is the subject of major construction and decoration and is an interesting mix of contemporary Khmer religious architectures . It is, however, less impressive than its neighbor in the region of Battambang: Phnom Sampeuw. Prasat Banon is a temple mountain located 25 kilometers south of Battambang on the bank of the river Sangkaè. The archaeological site is located on a high hill and contains the ruins of a temple mountain from the twelfth century built by an unknown ruler which has raised the question of Shivaite-styled architectural temples of late. Were they built by turbulent vassals of Angkor, and Devaraja who dared to proclaim the will of Shiva at a time when the state religion of the Khmer Empire turned to Buddhism.

Bakan preah khan kompong svay

Bakan renamed by the French administration the Preah Khan of Kampong Svay, is an Angkorian city of more than three kilometers area gived, which means an area greater than Angkor Thom. This city is located 150 kilometers west of Angkor and was for a long time the capital of a Khmer nation, that of the Kuys, who lived in harmony as vassals of Angkor from at least the 9th century, the period of the construction of the oldest monuments. The Kuys were in Angkorian times a people with valuable expertise with steel and in all areas related to iron working. Most monuments of the ancient city are of an artistic style typical of the area which flourished during the late 12th century, ie after Angkor Wat, later to become part of the Bayon Style (the monumental gates of Angkor Thom, the central tower of the Neak Poan, ...) and some late Angkorian styles. Even more so than in other sites, the abundant and beautiful sculptures of Bakan were victims of the intensive looting in this region, which is now better protected because of the almost permanent presence of archaeological teams (JSA) charged with the release and restoration of monuments, as well as the development of the site for visitors. Bakan is in the form of a large fortified perimeter with a triple wall, containing a very large number of relics of magnificent monuments the 12th and 13th centuries, including a particularly admirable module: Prasat Preah Stung, whose style is completely Angkorian but with architectural and decorative solutions that are completely unprecedented. There is also the presence of a Dharmasala, a classical monument of the reign of Jayavarman VII sometimes called a "house of fire" and whose use is supposedly that of a haven for travelers. But as its name suggests, it was more likely a building for the recitation and teaching of... , the heart of a Buddhist Institute, a school or simply the chapel of a school or the capel of a hospital built during the reign of Jayavarman VII. Some older monuments are visible outside the walls, including Prasat temple Domrey – a mountain temple that dates from the 9th century and is situated on the edge of a baray (reservoir artificial irrigation rectangular) installed perpendicularly to the east side wall of the city.

Sambor prey kuk

Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear is probably the most breathtaking Angkorian site after Angkor Wat itself Preah Vihear, perched atop the Dangrek Mountains, on the northern boundary line between Cambodia and Thailand, and is not always accesible as the political situation, on one side or the another becomes turbulent It is a temple, and is easily accessible from the Thai side but difficult (however, the roads are improving and increasing in number each year) from the Cambodian side. The linked article has been written following a visit in May 2008, at a particularly quiet time in terms of political tension between the two brothers, now unfortunately, enemies ...

Ta moan

Ta Moan stands atop the Dangraèks Mountains, that is to say, on the northern boundary line between Cambodia and Thailand, and is not always accesible as the political situation, on one side or the another becomes turbulent. It is a temple, or rather a set of three modules, particularly isolated but easily accessible from the Thai side, yet particularly difficult - even dangerous- because of mines on the Cambodian side. The linked article has been written following a visit in May 2008, at a particularly quiet time in terms of political tension between the two brothers, now unfortunately, enemies ...