Preah Ko Temple
The Ancient Khmer people took death very seriously and they had several temples dedicated to the departed.
Preah Ko Temple was built 879 AD and believed to be to be a funerary temple for the Khmer Royal Family in the old city of Hariharalaya before it moved to Angkor Thom Archaeology Park.
Once considered the largest city in the world and having a population of over 130,000, which grew to an estimated 1 million citizens during the height of the Khmer empire.
Hariharalaya is now the modern day town of Roulos and was a cosmopolitan capital, who were trading with countries as far away as Indonesia and China.
The name Preah Ko means “Sacred Bull” and derives from the life-like statues of bulls, which adorn the front of the central towers.
Built to worship the Hindu God Shiva, this temple was believed to be built by Indravarman 877- 889AD, who was a strong and well-respected king that had a wide reputation throughout Asia.
However, there is a mystery with these monuments….because all may not be what it seems – inscriptions were found around the doorway on 3 of the 6 towers written in ancient Khmer.
It gives information that dedicates the temple to Rudravarman (514 – 550 AD) and Pvirakvarman (550 – 600 AD)…which could indicate that these buildings are much older than once thought. Which lead many to believe the Khmer empire was a ruling force through Asia for longer than first suspected.
None of the temples have doors, so you can see directly inside – but now bare plinths only stand where treasures long ago have been swept away in the tide of history… but we can only imagine what they once held.
Preah Ko Temple is an impressive place to see, a photographic paradise and well worth taking the time to visit. It is still an active site, where citizens engage in daily worship and during the wet season – it is a delight to watch as local children splash in large puddles that accumulate upon the temple grounds.
TIP: Preah Ko Temple is in a rural area and there are no small shops around unlike Angkor Thom Archaeology Park – so be sure to take plenty of water and everything you will need for your trip.
Opening Hours: 5:00 am – 6 pm
There are lots of new and fun activities to try…and Siem Reap is a wonderful place to come for a holiday.