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Angkor Temple Towers (Khmer Prasats)

The typical architectural element of a Khmer temple is a so-called "Prasat", a square sanctum with a high roof, therefore called "tower". "Prasat" is derives from the Sanskrit-word "Prasada" for multi-storey buildings. Prasadas in South Asia often were palaces or dwellings of monks inside temple compounds. Inn contrast, Khmer Prasats are always sacral buildings.

A Prasat is the Khmer version of a "Sikhara" in Indian temple architecture. Prasats appear already at the beginning of Khmer stone architecture in the Chenla era, e.g. in Sambor Prei Kuk. Here they are almost the only form of stone buildings with inner rooms. At the begin of the Angkorian era Prasats are slightly smaller and often single towers. The Roluos time marks the beginning of building groups of Prasats on single platforms. Throughout the history of Angkor Prasats remained to be the central adytum of each temple complex.

A Prasat sanctum contains and shelters the main effigy of the divinity. Every Khmer temple has one Prasat at least, the main sanctum is positioned in the centre of concentric temple layouts or at the end of a compound at linear temples. Large monuments have additional Prasats surrounding the central one and some more edifices, such as Mandapa vestibules in front of the Prasat, surrounding enclosure walls, sonetimes with aisles called galleries, Gopuram gateways, secondary so-called library buildings inside the enclosure, platforms. At the Angkor Wat the central Prasat on the uppermost platform is connected with the four other towers by corridors, forming a cruciform structure of four cloisters.

The appearance of smaller Khmer temple structures remained to be dominated by Prasats throughout the Angkor era. Many of them are single Prasats, some of them with an antechamber (Mandapa) as in the case of hospital chapels erected under Jayavarman VII. about 1200, nearly at the end of the Angorian temple building era.

Some other structures are ensembles of lined up Prasats, in a row on a north-south axis. They are called longitudinal temples. Examples are Bei Prasat with three towers and Prasat Kravan with five towers on a single platform. Sanctuaries founded by other dignitaries than kings are called private temples. Since they are smaller structures, most of them are plain Prasat temples. Banteay Srei in an exception, its three main Prasats are surrounded by a whole complex of other architectural elements.

Some of the temples listed below are rarely visited, they are less imposing than more famous Angkor monuments and less charming than other "Secret Places" in and around Angkor. But some of the Prasat ensembles are remarkable, e.g. for their sculptural decoration. The more important monuments for today's visitors are at the begin of the list, the extras for Angkor enthusiasts closer to the end.

Angkor Temple Tower

Preah Ko

The Shiva-temple Preah Ko ("Sacred Bull") in Angkor's predecessor capital Hariharalaya - nowadays called Roluos - is located halfway between the similar Lolei temple and the pyramidal structure Bakong. It is the first ancestor temple of the Khmer empire. Preah Ko was consecrated 879, supposedly as a kind of royal chapel adjoined to the king's palace. The residential area was surrounded by a moat of 500 m length and 400 m width. The palace buildings were wooden and vanished in the course of time, so only the stone buildings of the temple area are left over. Preah Ko is famous for its exquisite decoration, inspiring the later Angkor styles of stone carving, but particularly its carved colonettes remained to be of unsurpassed quality.

In front of the six central brick towers on a shared single sandstone terrace there are remains of three kneeling bull sculptures facing them. They depict Nandi, the mount of Shiva. ("Ko" is the Khmer word for the bull). The central main shrines are arranged in two rows of three Prasats, but surprisingly the ground plan is not symmetrical, the distances between towers vary. The three eastern towers commemorating the male ancestors of King Indravarman I. (877-899) are larger than those for the females behind them.

Preah Ko was a Shiva and an ancestor temple at the same time. The Prasats were dedicated to Shiva. But instead of symbolic phalli called Lingas representing this god in most other Shiva temples of the ancient Khmer civilization, at Preah Ko images of manifestations of Shiva and of his consort were placed inside the shrines.

By inscriptions on the door jambs we know the ancestor or predecessor honoured in each Prasat was associated with the male of female deity respectively. Accordingly the guardian sculptures called Dvarapalas of the eastern towers are male, those of the western towers are females called Devatas. The outer walls of the six brick Prasats were dressed with stucco. Preah Ko is famous for the carved decoration on the lintels and columns of the doors and false doors. A lintel is the beam spanning the gap between the two posts of a door. False doors (also called blind doors) are niches, in size and design similar to doors, but closed by a wall. They became a typical element of Khmer architecture.


Preah Ko

Prasat Kravan

Prasat Kravan was a private temple. Prasat Kravan was consecrated in 921 by a nobleman called Mahidharavarman, who was a high official at the court of Harshavarman I (ca. 910-915), the less powerful son of the very first king residing in Angkor, Yashovarman I. His cousin was a local commander in Koh Ker who became more powerful than the kings of Angkor and defeated them and became their successor, but he continued to reside in Koh Ker. It was during this period of Angkor's weakness that Prasat Kravan was built. It takes up elements of the style of Koh Ker, particularly the dynamics in sculptural illustrations the style of Koh Ker is famous for.  

The five brick towers in one row from north to south share a single platform. Today only the central and the southernmost Prasats still have superstructures, consisting of receding tiers. The best preserved lintel, on the southernmost sanctuary, shows Vishnu on his mount Garuda, this sun-eagle is clutching the head of a naga. Inside the central and the northernmost towers there are brick bas reliefs at the inner walls of two towers. This kind of decoration on a brick wall is rather common in Cham temples in central Vietnam, but it is unique in Angkor monuments.

The brick reliefs in this central Prasat were once covered with polychrome varnish. The left wall shows Vamana, Vishnu's dwarf Avatara, stepping over the ocean, which is represented by the wavy lines below him. He liberates the world from the powerful demon Bali by three strides. In his four arms are Vishnu's four attributes: discus, lotus, mace, and conch. On the west wall there is another Vishnu carving, a rare illustration of this god with eight instead of four arms and hands, six rows of attendants and an images of reptile surround him. The Vishnu on the right wall is riding his bird Garuda. The north tower was dedicated to the five aspects of the goddess Shri Lakshmi. Vishnu's consort is depicted on three walls inside the north tower, and on the lintel. Her fifth aspect was represented by a statue, now missing.

Phnom Krom

The temple Prasat Phnom Krom was built about 900 AD by Yashovarman I on the top of the southernmost isolated hill in the plains of Angkor. Yashovarman, who was the first king residing in Angkor, used all three natural hills in the Angkor area for temple buildings, Phnom Bakheng and Phnom Bok being the other ones. Phnom Kroms three Prasats, in the sculptural art style of Bakheng, are dedicated to the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity). The slightly larger central tower is dedicated to Shiva, while the northern Prasat to Vishnu while and the southern one to Brahma. Four small building of similar sizes precede the sanctuaries, the two in the middle are of sandstone, the outer two of brick. All four have matrices of holes in the walls, which suggests they may have been used as crematoriums. The temple compound has a square plan, it is enclosed by a laterite wall intersected on each side by a cruciform Gopuram entry tower. There are bases of three long laterite halls paralleling the wall around the courtyard. They probably served as rest houses.

Read more about Phnom Krom on our page Siem Reap Temples.

Phnom Bok

Phnom Bok is one of the oldest temples in Angkor. It was erected by King Yashovarman I. (889-910), who is the founder of Angkor as Khmer capital. He built three temples on top of all three hills in the plains of Angkor. Like Phnom Krom, it has three Prasats dedicated to the Trimurti, one for Brahma, one for Shiva, one for Vishnu. Imposing statues of these three gods were found in those three Prasats of Phnom Bok, they are now exhibited in the Guimet Museum in Paris. Very similar to Phnom Krom, there were four buildings in front of the sanctuaries, the two inner ones of sandstone, the outer ones of brick, unlike on Phnom Krom, only foundations remain of the brick buildings. Unlike Phnom Krom, Phnom Bok has three sanctuary towers of the same size.

Behind the main temple compound there is a new shelter for a mound. It covered a Lingam, indicating once more, that Phnom Bok though dedicated to the Trimurti first and foremost was a place of Shiva worship. This Lingam is one of the largest ever found in Cambodia. But now it is not at all impressive any more, it is broken in pieces and hardly recognizable. Art thefts tried to transport it to sell it in Thailand, but it was too heavy and fell down. This is why it is shattered. However, it remained unstolen. This Lingam, like others from the ancient Khmer culture, was square at the bottom, representing Brahma, octagonal in the middle, representing Vishnu, and round at the top, representing Shiva. This Khmer Lingam type once again shows clearly the dominance of Shiva in the Trimurti. Furthermore, there is some astronomical speculation concerning the structure of Phnom Bok, as equinox and winter and summer solstices could be observed from inside the entrance of the temple.

Read more about Phnom Bok on our page Angkor Secret Places.

Phnom Bok

Prasat Suor Prat

At the Royal Square, also called Victory Square, in the core of Angkor Thom there is a group of twelve simple Prasats called Prasat Suor Prat. The modern Khmer word "Suor Prat" means "tightrope walking" or "cord dancing". The associated assumption is that ropes were stretched from one tower to another for artists performing on festival days their acrobatic shows in front of the royal platform, which is the Terrace of Elephants at the opposite west edge of the Royal Square. There is no historical evidence for this interpretation of the towers. Another legend has it, that similar to a Buddhist Jataka tale, an ogress imprisoned twelve young wives of the king in the twelve towers. This is the origin of the alternative name "Prasat Neang Pi Dandap", meaning "Towers of the twelve young women". The famous 13th century Chinese envoy to Angkor, Zhou Daguan, gives another dubious account of their function. According to his report the towers were used to settle legal disputes by an ordeal. The two belligerent parties were kept in the towers. After a few days one was healthy and the other one suffering from fever or catarrh or an ulcer. This way the sick one was declared guilty by divine decree.

Ten of the twelve Prasats are aligned on a north-south axis. The group of twelve towers is symmetically divided by the so-called "Victory Alley", now part of the Small Circuit road, that begins at the Royal Square and leads eastwards to the Victory Gate. The towers not on the same line as the others flank the victory road a little bit further to the east. Behind them there are the North and South Khleangs, much earlier structures. All twelve towers are almost identical. They are built of laterite, with bays, frames and lintels made of sandstone. They are undecorated. Only some stone pediments show carvings depicting Nagas and hermits. The architectural style of the towers is quite unique, as they have windows with balusters on three sides, instead of the common false doors, and two levels in the interior. The upper one has a cylindrical vault with two frontons.

As with many monuments in Angkor, the construction of Prasat Suor Prat may have been begun under Jayavarman VII, the city founder, and finalized later on in the first half of the 13th centuries under his successor Indravarman II. But strikingly, the twelve towers do not display Jayavarman's Bayon-style characteristics. It has been argued both that they are pre-Bayon or post Bayon. Thus neither the function nor the date of Prasat Suor Prat is known beyond doubt. The towers underwent restoration recently, some of them are still enforced with wooden beams.

Prasat Sour Prat

Bat Chum

Bat Chum is located about 500 meters south of Srah Srang, there is a footpath from the reservoir to the temple. Its appearance is quite ususal, three brick towers in a north-south row are aligned on the same platform and open to the east, they are surrounded by an enclosure and a moat. But its history is exceptional, Bat Chum is considered to be the first Buddhist sanctuary in Angkor, dedicated in 960. Bat Chum's private founder was Kavindrarimathan. He was a learned Buddhist court official of King Rajendravarman II. (944-68). It is the same minister who was the architect of Rajendravarman's state temples East Mebon and Pre Rup and of the tank Srah Srang, all of them located in the very same eastern area of Angkor.

The three Prasats of Bat Chum were dedicated to a kind of trinity of Mahayana Buddhism, namely the Buddha in the central, Avalokiteshvara as Vajrapani in the southern and Prajnaparamita in the northern tower. The Bat Chum inscriptions, though difficult to decode, are remarkable historical sources. Apart from usual information about a king's political achievements and religious dedications, the Bat Chum inscriptions mention the clear water in the lake for the benefit of the people. Reservoir building was the major task of a king according to Buddhist scriptures. It admonishes local elephant handlers to keep their animals off the reservoir dams, calling the elephants "dyke breakers". The inscriptions are are first and foremost poems praising the temple founder Kavindrarimathana, but signed by different persons.

Because of the dilapidated state of Bat Chum some restoration work is in progress now (2014). But the lion figures at the stairs and the colonettes at the doors are elegant, two sandstone lintels are in a pretty sound condition, too.


Shortly after ascending the throne, Yashovarman I erected or completed the Lolei temple, which is the third largest structure in the temple group today called Roluos, Angkor’s predecessor. The temple was built on an artificial island in the reservoir called Indratataka, which was already begun under Indravarman I, father of Yashovarman I. Similar to Indravarman’s ancestor temple Preah Ko, the Lolei temple consisted of a group of brick towers on a shared single terrace. Supposedly six towers were planned as in the case of Preah Ko, but only four were completed. The style of Lolei’s architecture and sculptural decoration is still that of Preah Ko, also called style of Roluos or style of Indravarman. Later buildings of the same king Yashovarman I will be in the new style of Bakheng.

The remarkable inscriptions of Lolei are dated 893. They are in a remarkable good condition. their style resembles that of Preah Ko, too, though a new style of inscriptions of the Bakheng period already appeared in the very same year when Lolei was completed. The Lolei inscriptions mention these Prasats were dedicated to Yashovarman’s ancestors. In the front towers the male ancestors were associated with Shiva, one tower for Indreshvara honoured the king’s father Indravarman, the other one was for his maternal grandfather, a reminder of the Southeast Asian tradition of higher esteem for the matrilinear lineage, that is less emphasized in Indian traditions. The grandfather was associated with another form of Shiva called Mahipateshvara. The rear towers were for Yashivarman’s mother and maternal grandmother, associated with Shiva’s consort and Shakti, they are called Indradevi and Rajendradevi respectively.

Male guardian figures in niches of the front towers and female Devata sculptures at the rear towers as well as lintel carvings of Lolei are estimated as highest achievements of the much admired and examplary style of Preah Ko.

See photos of Lolei on our page Roluos Group.


Bei Prasat

"Bei Prasat" means "three towers". Three brick Prasats share a single laterite platform. The towers, supposedly dedicated to the Hindu trinity Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, stand in a north-south row. They habe sandstone doorways to the east and false doors on the other sides, as usual. The only complete tower is the central one, it contained a Lingam, the phallus symbolizing Shiva's power. The lintels of the central and the southern tower are good examples of typical Bakheng style stone carvings. They depict Indra on his three-headed elephant Airavata. The lintel of the north tower is unfinished and allows studying the carving techniques.

There are remains of a small shrine in the front of Bei Prasat. A sandstone door frame still stands upright, and a Lingam is placed at the centre. Balusters and lintel have nice carvings. It is supposed to be a kind of entrance of Bei Prasat. This structure and the ruined Prasat further east (which is next to the main road and very close to the famous Angkor Thom Southgate) are sometimes counted as a separate temple complex called Thma Bay Kaek. There is a kneeling bull statue called Nandi in front of the Prasat remains. In this Prasat a hidden gold relic treasure was found, five gold leaves, one bearing the image of Siva's bull Nandi. The small structure further north was dedicated to Shiva's wife Uma. Her torso still remains in situ.

Bei Prasat was one of the many temples once surrounding the Phnom Bakheng, the natural hill with Yashovarman's state temple in the centre of his capital Yashodharapura. Bei Prasat is sometimes ascribed to his son and second successor Ishanavarman II. But not much is known about this king, who obviously was a weak ruler, soon overcome by his cousin, the regional ruler of Chok Gargyar (Koh Ker), who then became the king of the Khmer empire. Ishanavarman II. is only mentioned in an inscription in Tuol Ker from 968, as a ruler in the year 925/6. The inscription uses his posthumous name Paramarudraloka.

Trapeang Phong

A Trapeang is a small lake. However, Trapeang Phong in Roluos is a Prasat, a Khmer temple tower, on a low natural mound becoming an island in the marshlands of the Tonle Sap during the rainy season. But remains of a Trapeang are recognizable during the dry season. The Prasat of Trapeang Phong opens east, as usual, with false doors on the other sides. The door is broken, the false doors (or blind doors) are of sandstone, they are in a good condition. Their lintels and colonnettes are well executed.

Most noteworthy are the Devatas (Apsaras) at the outer walls of Trapeang Phong, as these depictions of female semi-goddesses are the oldest in the Apsara-crowded Angkor at all. They stand in niches at the wall, smaller ones sit in small medallions at the upper tiers. The reliefs - some of them were covered and under restoration in 2013 - are carved on brick and covered with stucco. Conservation work at Trapeang Phong has been carried out by the German Apsara Conservation Project, financed by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

See photos of Trapeang Phong on our page Roluos Group.

Trapeang Phong

Hospital Chapel

The single sandstone Prasat was the core of a much larger complex of halls. They served as lodges for sick people and for their doctors and nurses and other assistants. Since they were constructed of perishable materials such as wood and bamboo, they have long since disappeared.

Hospitals with small shrines or attached to bigger temples already existed before Jayavarman VII. But this Buddhist ruler praised himself to have cared for the people by building 102 hospitals and making special efforts to ensure that they were run professionally. The Sanskrit inscription of "jungletemple" Ta Prohm includes the most detailed account about these hospitals (Arogyasalas) restored or newly constructed by King Jayavarman VII. After an invocation of the healing Buddha Bhaishajyaguru and an eulogy of the compessionate ruler, the text lays down the hospital regulation and lists the personnel. 100 or 200 people worked in a hospital of the capital.

The structure of these Hospital temples is simple and always the same. Inside an enclosure with a Gopura gate there is a Prasat with a small projecting body, more an Antarala than a Mandapa, and flanked by a small library. The best example in Angkor is this small structure simply called "Chapel of the Hospital" near Ta Kao. An inscription found in this area confirmed the identity of this site as one of Jayavarman's 102 hospitals. Some Devata images are left over, and you can see small figures enclosed in circular medaillons. There are more fragments standing on the ground near the Prasat, these former pediments and lintels have further Buddhist carvings. Two sandstone door frames remain from the former Gopuram slightly eastwards.

Wat An Kao Sai

The small monument is located in Siem Reap city, at the Siem Reap river, northwest to the Angkor National Museum. This means it is outside the Archaeological zone's ticket area. The temple proper consisted of three aligned Khmer Prasats, one is not existing any more, there is now a modern stupa (chedi) on its basis. The two remaining other towers are restored. They are of different size, one with a five-level roof, the other one only with four. Remarkably the higher Prasat was not placed in the centre, but is the southern one. The remaining northern tower (the former central one) is the only complete brick Prasat in Angkor.

The inscription at the door jambs of the taller tower is dated 968. It is an important source for historians. Vers 21 mentions a dignitary called Divakarabhatta, who married a sister of King Jayavarman V. It says he was born at the Kalindi river, the Khmer name for the Yamuna in India. This could mean that he was an Indian or of Indian origin. The era of Rajendravarman II. and Jayavarman V. are marked by both a renaissance of Indian influence and a more prominent role of court dignitaries. Verse 29 of part B of the Wat An Kau Sai inscription (dated 983) mentions trade with China and imported commodities such as gold, jewels, pearls, and cloth. This is remarkable sinde thee economic basis of the Angkor empire was agriculture, in contrast to the former Cambodian era Funan that originated from martime trade in the first place. From the Wat An Kau Sai inscription we learn, that trade remained to play an important role during the Angkor era as well.

The pediment reliefs above the Prasat door are excellent. They could be the oldest representation of such well-known subjects as Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana and the Churning of the Milk Ocean that became very common in Khmer art. The naive style of the depictions is extraordinary.

Learn more about Wat An Kao Sai (Preah Enkosei) on our page Siem Reap Temples.

Wat An Kao Sai


Kutishvara is a minor Angkor monument just north of Banteay Kdei and east of Ta Prohm, in approximately 250 metres distance from the Small Circuit road. It is located in a very small grove surrounded by farmland. The Sanskrit word Kutishvara may be the original name of the sanctuary, because a site of Kuti is mentioned in the famous Sdok Kok Thom inscription from the eleventh century.

Parts of this small temple may have been built already by the legendary empire founder Jayavarman II around 800. But more probably the central tower is a monument in the Preah Ko style of Roluos-king Indravarman I, second half of the ninth century. However, Kutishvara is the oldest monument inside the archaeological zone (and ticket area) of Angkor. In Angkor there is only Ak Yum at the West Baray 10 kilometres outside the core zone was built earlier than Kutishvara. Kapilapura near Angkor Wat is as old as as Kutishvara, too, but there is no temple any more, only foundations at Kapilapura. 

Kutishvara only consists of poor and still half buried remains of three Prasat towers. It is a typical longitudinal temple, as the three towers are arranged from north to south on a single earth bank. The platform of the older central Prasat is brick, those of the other two are laterite. The central tower is better preserved, the two adjacent brick towers are ruined. The original temple was dedicated to Shiva, symbolized by a Linga on a pedestal. But most probably the extensions of the mid tenth century served to worship the Hindu trinity Shiva with Brahma and Vishnu. A statue of Brahma on a round lotos pedestal was found in the southern shrine.  

The central Prasat from the ninth century has octagonal stone colonettes and an eroded stone lintel in situ. Two later Pre Rup style lintels lying on the ground nearby are much better preserved, they belonged to the two the adjacent towers from the tenth century. The northern lintel shows an early version of the frequently illustrated churning of the milk ocean. The lintel relief in front of the south tower depicts the sitting four-headed Brahma surrounded by worshippers.


Prasat Cha

Prasat Cha is a temple ruin surrounded forest, close to a village of the same name. It is located 4 km north-west of Angkor Thom and 3 kms north of the reservoir West Baray. The village can be reached from the west and east by a track across the fields. The temple compound is situated in a grove just 300 metres north to this village street. The towers are raised on artificial mound. They were enclosed by a 60 metres square moat and an outer earth dam. Prasat Cha's towers are built of brick and laterite. They are not well-preserved, only worth a visit for those looking for some extra "Angkor feeling" of a forgotten temple in the jungle.

The door posts of sandstone are richly ornamented. Their inscriptions date from 979 and 994, both from the reign of Jayavarman V. But locals advise not to enter the tower area. They believe, that someone reading the entire inscription at the end will see a five-headed dragon living in the temple.

Indeed: Do not cross the thicket here and do not enter the inner rooms! Locals are not sure it is free of landmines.

Prasat Prei Monti with 3 Khmer temple towers in Roluos near Angkor

Prei Monti

Prasat Prei Monti is another group of three brick towers. It is situated in Roluos, 2 km south to the Bakong temple. Prei Monti is even older than Preah Ko and Bakong in Roluos. Sometimes Prasat Prei Monti is ascribed to this Jayavarman III of whom not much is known, others believe Prei Monti to be the first palace of his successor Indravarman I, who 

The three Prasats of Prei Monti are located in the East of a rectangular compound, which once was surrounded by a moat. In this respect it appears similar to the Preah Ko shrine of Roluos: a sanctuary close to the eastern edge of a much larger area. Only traces of other constructions were unearthed in both rectangles. Both compounds seem to have been royal palaces, with a sanctuary built of non-perishable material at the entrance from the east. Remarkably the two compounds are located on the same north-south axis, it runs parallel to another axis which without doubt is of highly symbolic significance, namely the noth-south-line connecting the Bakong state temple and the Lolei shrine in the centre of Indravarman's vast reservoir called Indratataka. The more secular palace axis of Preah Ko and Prei Monti is only about a hundred metres further west.

The three towers are open to the east and share a single platform. They are more stocky and less elegant than those of the later Preah Ko. But as in the case of Preah Ko the Prasats are made of brick, with sandstone doors from the east and blind doors at the three other sides. The central tower is almost completely collapsed, but its sandstone lintel can be studied on the ground slightly to the east. It is much less elaborate than the famous lintel carvings at Preah Ko, but it already marks a transition from the pre-Angkorian division of the panel by line of medaillons to the more integral classical style of a bent garland.

Ta Prohm Kel former hospital chapel near Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm Kel

The famous king Jayavarman VII (1181- ca.1220), founder of Angkor Thom and its Bayon temple, is famous for having chosen Mahayana Buddhism as the new state cult of the Angkor empire. The Mahayana version of Buddhism stresses the importance of compassion and social acticity. Accordingly the Mahayana ruler Jayavarman VII liked to be regarded as a benefactor of the people. One of his welfare projects was the establishment of 102 hospitals throughout his empire. They were called Arogyashalas in Sanskrit. Four of them surrounded the new capital Angkor Thom, the southern one is called Ta Prhom Kel, also spelled Ta Prom Kel.

The remaining stone monument was the shrine inside the hospital, wooden halls disappeared. One of two Devatas at a corner of the Prasat has curls and braids, the other one a crown-like cover. The north false door of the Prasat has survived.The Buddhist carving on the northern pediment still is in good condition, though it was damaged during the vandalistic 13th century Hindu resurgence. Unusual coarsely rendered carvings in the interior are from a much later period.

Prasat Tor with 2 Prasat towers and 1 Mandapa hall east of Angkor

Prasat Tor

Prasat Tor is a smaller structure east to Angkor. It is rarely visited. Prasat Tor is located close to the northeast corner of the East Baray. When traveling to Banteay Samre, turn left only 300 metres before reaching the car park of the famous Banteay Samre temple. The track crosses a typical Cambodian village situated on the crown of the dike of Angkor's former main reservoir East Baray, which is dry now.

The temple consists of two brick towers, orientated east. A Mandapa antechamber precedes the southern Prasat tower, but superately, instead of being connected to the main sanctuary by an Antarala. The Prasat has a sandstone lintel depicting a god enthroned on Kala demon; it is in the style of Preah Ko. This means Prasat Tor is contemporary the Roluos temples of the late ninth century. Nearby is a Neak Ta shrine, called Ta Tor, and the canopy of a stele.

Kok Po with 2 ruins of temple towers west of Angkor

Kok Po

Kok Po is located about 3.5 kilometres north of the West Baray. It is a Hindu temple from the 8th century. This means it remains from the pre-Angkor period. The seventh and eigth century are the time of the so-called Chen-la pricipalities. Chenla (Zhen-La) by the way is only the ancient Chinese name of Cambodia, not a Khmer name for a specific pre-Angkor style.

During the early Angkor period, in the 9th century, King Jayavarman III had conducted some restorations at Kok Po. He left a bilingual inscription in Sanskrit and Khmer about his donations. This is noteworthy as there are not many inscriptions from the 9th century, much less than from the earlier Chenla period. The first early Angkorian king leaving a lot of comprehensive inscriptions with most valuable information was Indravarman I, the king who resided in present day's Roluos and built its two most remarkable temples, Preah Ko and Bakong. He was the successor of Jayavarman III, who had remaind childless. Jayavarman III is not mentioned at Indravarman's ancestor temple Preah Ko. So there is little information available about him. All the more important is his own inscription found at Kok Po.

Kok Po was continuously used for worship, as many statues from different periods have been found at the site of this temple. There are remains of two brick Prasats, both of them have false doors ornamented with floral design. Such tendrils in the shape of rows of circles are a very common subject in South and Southeast Asian art. By the way, as in the case of the Arabesque in Islamic art, the tendril of Asian temples may have been inspired by hellenistic art, that influenced northern India after Alexander the Great. The false door of the more ruined Prasat is half-broken. Here you can study its construction covering a brick wall.

Airavata lintel relief at Leak Neang temple close to Pre Rup in Angkor

Leak Neang

King Rajendravarman's state temple Pre Rup probably was surrounded by numerous smaller temples, perhaps they were edifices in an outer enclosure of Pre Rup not existing any more. One of Pre Rup's satellite temples remains. It is called Leak Neang. The remaining sanctuary tower is noticeably crooked and not in a fair condition. The sanctuary chamber of the small and simple structure of Leak Neang is only of 2.30 m width. The inscription on the door jambs mentioning several donations is from 960, one year earlier than Pre Rup. The bricks used at Leak Neang are smaller than those at Pre Rup. The lintel panel above the entrance to the east has a frieze of small praying figures at the top, the main panel shows Indra's mount, the threeheaded elephant Airavata, called Erawan in Thailand, a popular subject on Angkorian lintels.

Prasat Sralao Khmer temple north-west of Angkor Thom

Prasat Sralao

Prasat Sralao, situated 3 kms southeast of the village Svay Chek, is a very remote small temple, dating from second half of the 10th century. Sra Lao was dedicated to a local god called Tribhuvanamaheshvara, a form of Shiva also venerated in Koh Ker and Banteay Srei. There were three brick sanctuaries lined up north-south and open to the east, the south tower is completely ruined, and not much is left of the central tower. This central Prasat had a Mandapa, the sandstone door frames of this former antechamber are still standing upright. Foundations are the only remains of the former east gate of the complex. The temple area itself is a thicket now, it is surrounded its original temple moat.

The historically informative inscription of Prasat Sralao is from a later period than the temple foundation. It claims King Harshavarman III entered the throne in 1066/67. But the inscription of Prasat Prah Khset from 1067 only mentions him along with his predecessor Udayadityavarman II. at the same time. This apparent contradiction can be solved by assuming that Udayadityavarman appointed his successor fellow ruler during the last years of his rule. However, the Sralao inscription verifies Harshavarman III reign in the year 1071/72. There are no records about this king for later dates. Presumably he ruled many more years, but in times of turmoil and of and invasions from the neighbouring Champa.   

The lintels of Prasat Sralao are rare examples of the Banteay Srey style, but most of them not in situ any more. All in all there is not much left of the temple buildings and decorations in situ. However, the best preserved temple tower is pituresquely wrapped and surmounted by a tree, thus Prasat Sralao can be called a small "jungle temple".

Prasat Tonle Snguot former hospital chapel, single Khmer temple tower near northern gate of Angkor Thom
Prasat Tonle Snguot

Prasat Tonle Sanguot is a small ruin rarely visited. There is not much to see except a broken - or nearly split - single temple tower. It is located a few hundred meters north of the North Gate of Angkor Thom and originates from the same period, this means the reign of King Jayavarman VII, end of the 12th century. The Prasat was the sanctum or worshipping hall of a functional building, a hospital, one of 102 so-called "Arogyasalas" (also romanized "Arogyashalas" or "Arokhayasalas") Jayavarman VII claimed to have founded, at least one in each province. The Sanskrit term "arogya" literally means "not-sick". Four hospitals surrounded Angkor Thom, in all four directions, but not exactly axial, and in different distances between half a kilometre and one kilometre. The Arogyasala in the East is the best preserved one and usually only called "Chapel of the Hospital". The southern one, opposite the Angkor Wat, is Ta Prohm Kel. The one in the west is a little bit far and outside the Angkor Archaeological Park. Prasat Tonle Snguot was the hospital chapel to the north of Angkor Thom. Some more hospitals are known throughout Cambodia and Northeast Thailand, for example three along the road to Phimai in Northeast Thailand, one newly discovered.


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