Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temples Tours
Date: Built in early tenth century
King: Jayavarman IV (921-941)
Posthumous name: Paramasivapada
Many of the large statues at the National Museum in Phnom Penh came from Koh Ker. The enormous door frames of some of the tower sanctuaries hint at the size of the sacred images once revered here. Careful observers will discover pieces of large, now broken sculptures still lying around between fragments of columns, lintels
Koh Ker was once an ancient capital of Cambodia, located in Srayong Cheung village, Srayong commune, Kulen district, about 49 kilometers west of the provincial town. The Koh Ker complex is on the Chhork Koki highland.
After the Khmer empire had been established in the Angkor area (Roluos), Jayavarman IV moved the capital in 928 almost 100km northeast to Koh Ker. Here a vast number of temples were built under his reign, until his successor returned to the Angkor area about twenty years later.
Koh Ker temple is 35 meters high, and its design resembles a seven-stepped stupa raising high above the plain and the surrounding forest raising high above the plain and the surrounding forest. The temple faces west toward Angkor city. It was built to worship Treypuvanesvara, the god of happiness. The site is still 3 hours away from Siemreap, the area has been demined only recently and basic visitors’ facilities are just being built. This makes Koh Ker very attractive for anyone who would like to experience lonely temples partially overgrown by the forest and inhabited only by birds, calling to each other from the trees above.
Prey, Dey Chhnang, Srok Srolao, Lingam, Kuk Srakum, Trapiang Ta, Sophy, Krahom, Andoung, Ang Khna, Teuk Krahom, Damrei Sar, Krarab, Banteay Pichoan, Kuk, Kmao, Thneung, Thorn Balang, Rohal, Chamneh, Sampich, Trapiang Svay, Neang Kmao, Pram, Bat, Khnar Chen, Klum, Chrab, Dangtung, Prang, Kampiang…. These temples were not constructed near each other. Today, many of them are no longer standing, and some are buried in the ground. The followings are locations and descriptions of some of the Koh Ker temples:
1. Neang Khmao Temple
The Koh Ker complex is along a trail that is about 3 kilometers long. The first temple, Neang Khmao sits atop a small hill on the east side of the trail. The temple, which faces west toward Angk or city, is made of sandstone. It is 20 meters high and resembles a stupa. The temple terrace is 2 meters high and divided into three decks. The temple is surrounded by a laterite rampart, 44 meters square and 2 meters high. The rampart has only two openings; one on the east side, and the other on the west. The temple once housed lingam and yoni, but only yoni remains. The lintel sculpture has been damaged, but otherwise, most of the temple is in good condition, while nearly three-quarters of the rampart is good condition.
2. Pram Temple
About 700 to 800 meters north of Neang Khmao temple is another temple called Pram temple. Constructed of laterite and sandstone, it sits on a small hill surrounded by bushes that block the lingam and the lintel. The main body of the temple is in good condition.
3. Chen Temple
Farther down the trail is a three-peak temple made of laterite and sandstone. It faces east and is called Chen temple. Inside the temple there is a piece of lingam and remnants of a statue of King Jayavarman IV. A sculpture of garuda’s head on the south lintel is missing. The temple is overgrown by forest.
4. Preng Well
About 800 to 900 meters farther, there is the Preng well, which is similar to a pond. Surrounded by stone, it is 20 meters square. The terrace is about 8 centimeters high. The water in the pond is clear, and a nearby tree provides shade for weary visitors looking for a place to relax.
5. Rampart of Koh Ker Temple
Another kilometer down the trail is the rampart of Koh Ker temple. 1 kilometer long and 2 kilometers high, it is made of laterite. Koh Ker temple is the middle of a rampart, surrounded by 20 more temples. Some of the temples are:
6. Kuk Temple or Gopura
Kuk temple or Gopura is made of sandstone and has a sculpture of lotus petals on the temple fronton. Although the door frame is damaged, most of the temple is in good condition. A Shiva lingam that once was housed inside has been looted.
7. Prang Temple
Prang temple is constructed of sandstone and bricks. There are five separate parts of this temple. About 70 percent of the temple is still standing.
8. Krahom Temple
About 10 meters farther is Kramhom temple (The red temple). Constructed of brick and shaped like a seven-level pyramid, the temple is decorated with a 20-meter-tall sculpture of lotus petals. Inside the temple, there is a 3-meter-tall statue of Shiva with eight arms and four heads. The statue is supported by a l-square-meter base. The statue is seriously damaged, only some parts remain.
9. Khmao Temple
Farther down is Khmao temple. On the wall and door frame of the temple, there is a partially damaged inscription. Near the temple is a rampart gateway to Kampiang temple. The gateway is a 2-meter staircase. Some sculptures of lotus petals, seven-headed nagas and garudas remain.
10. Koh Ker Temple
About 300 meters farther to the west is Kampiang or Koh Ker temple. From a distance, the temple looks like a small hill, because it is covered by forest. Up close, however, it is actually a 35-meter-high stupa made of sandstone. It has seven levels, each level about 5 meters above the other. Each deck has a 2-meter-wide terrace, and there is a 55- step staircase to the top. At the top of the temple, there are large statues of garudas supporting Shiva lingam Treypuvanesvara. Nearby, there is a 4-meter square well, now completely covered by grass. According to local villagers, if a coconut is dropped into this well, it will appear in the pond near Neang Khmao temple. There is vegetation growing on top of the temple, and from there visitors have an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, in particular, Phnom Dangrek, Phnom Tbeng, and Kulen district.
Preah vihear ticket : 10 USD/P
Preah Vihear Temple | Prasat Preah Vihear
Prah Vihear tours
Date: Built from late 9th century to early 12th century
King: King Yasovarman I ( AD 889-910)
King: Suryavarman I (AD1002-1050)
King: Jayavarman VI (AD 1080-1109)
King: Suryavarman II (AD 1113-1150)
Preah Vihear Temple Khmer is a Hindu temple built during the reign of Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague awarded the temple to Cambodia.
Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand’s Sisaket province and through which the temple is most easily accessible. On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is 140 km from Angkor Wat and 320 km from Phnom Penh.
The temple complex runs 800 m (2,600 ft) along a north-south axis facing the plains to the north, from which it is now cut off by the international border. It consists essentially of a causeway and steps rising up the hill towards the sanctuary, which sits on the clifftop at the southern end of the complex (120 m/390 ft above the northern end of the complex, 525 m/1,722 ft above the Cambodian plain and 625 m/2,051 ft above sea level). Although this structure is very different from the mountain temple found at Angkor, it serves the same purpose as a stylised representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
The approach to the sanctuary is punctuated by five gopuras (these are conventionally numbered from the sanctuary outwards, so gopura five is the first to be reached by visitors). Each of the gopuras before the courtyards is reached by a set of steps, and so marks a change in height which increases their impact. The gopuras also block a visitor’s view of the next part of the temple until they pass through the gateway, making it impossible to see the complex as a whole from any one point.
The fifth gopura, in the Koh Ker style, retains traces of the red paint with which it was once decorated, although the tiled roof has now disappeared. The fourth gopura is later, from the Khleang/Baphuon periods, and has on its southern outer pediment, “one of the masterpieces of Preah Vihear” (Freeman, p. 162) : a depiction of the Churning of the Sea of Milk. The third is the largest, and is also flanked by two halls. The sanctuary is reached via two successive courtyards, in the outer of which are two libraries.The temple is originally known as Sreisikharesvara, which means the Power of the Mountain. The temple was built over 300 years from late 9th century till early 12th century by four kings to worship Shiva:
King Yasovarman I ( AD 889-910)
The king built the central tower of Preah Vihear Temple. King Yasovarman I built Yasodharapura city and preferred to build this temple on the mountaintop.
King Suryavarman I (AD1002-1050)
This king built a long hall next to the central tower, the rampart and three entrances. According to the temple inscription, the king prepared a ceremony to invite the god Patresvara who stay at Wat Pu (now in Lao) to stay together with the god Sreisikharevara to protect and take care of the Khmer Empire and its people.
King Jayavarman VI (AD 1080-1109)
The king built two libraries and repaired some parts of the temple.
King Suryavarman II (AD 1113-1150)
The king built the terrace with seven-headed-nagas, statues of standing lions along the walkway, and some more naga staricases. He also prepared the inauguration ceremony for the temple and regarded it as a worship place for all kings.
Temple aPreah Vihears the World Heritage by UNESCO
On July 8, 2008, the World Heritage Committee decided to add Prasat Preah Vihear, along with 26 other sites, to the World Heritage Site list, despite several protests from Thailand.
As the process of Heritage-listing began, Cambodia announced its intention to apply for World Heritage inscription by UNESCO. Thailand protested that it should be a joint-effort and UNESCO deferred debate at its 2007 meeting.
Following this both Cambodia and Thailand were in full agreement that Preah Vihear Temple had “Outstanding Universal Value” and should be inscribed on the World Heritage List as soon as possible. The two nations agreed that Cambodia should propose the site for formal inscription on the World Heritage List at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2008 with the active support of Thailand. This led to a redrawing of the map of the area for proposed inscription, leaving only the temple and its immediate environs.
Thailand’s political opposition launched an attack on this revised plan (see New dispute over ownership), claiming the inclusion of Preah Vihear could “consume” the overlapping area of the dispute lands. In response to the political pressure at home, Thailand withdrew its formal support for the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site.
Cambodia continued with the application for World Heritage status and, despite official Thai protests, on July 7, 2008 (July 8 in Cambodia), Preah Vihear Temple was inscribed on the list of World Heritage sites.
The renewed national boundary dispute of 2008 has been a reminder that despite the World Heritage ideals of conservation for all humanity, operating a World Heritage site often requires use of national authority at odds with the local cultures and natural diversity of the landscape. Prior to listing, Cambodia considered Preah Vihear part of a Protected Landscape (IUCN category V) defined as “Nationally significant natural and semi-natural landscapes that must be maintained to provide opportunities for recreation.” However, Category V is generally defined as “Land, with coast and seas as appropriate, where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, cultural and/or ecological value, and often with high biological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an area.”
In 1994, Thailand held a World Heritage proposal conference in Srisaket in which the local cultural traditions were considered along with monuments like Preah Vihear that stimulate more nationalistic sentiments. The use of passes in the Dongrak Mountains reportedly tied together cultural communities and practices divided by a militarized (and imperfectly demarcated) modern border line. A Mon-Khmer ethnic minority, the Kui or Suay (the ethnonyms have multiple spellings), used the passes to hunt and capture elephants in the forests below the Dongrak cliff edge, including the Kulen area which is now a Cambodian wildlife sanctuary. Kui in Cambodia were skilled ironsmiths using ore from Phnom Dek.
While elephant hunting in the vicinity of Preah Vihear was touched upon in the International Court of Justice proceedings, the World Heritage plans overlook local culture and species protection to facilitate national revenues from tourism. One international law professor has urged that practicality calls for laying aside exclusive sovereignty in favor of an “international peace park. A scholarly article concurs in concluding: “Since Thailand and Cambodia have brought only blood and bitterness to this place, it might be desirable to preserve it from both. It could be given back to nature and the indigenous peoples, to be managed cooperatively between the two governments in equal partnership with local communities, as a transborder Protected Landscape-Anthropological Reserve (IUCN category V and old category VII)”.Given the massing troops in 2008, perhaps such a transborder reserve would create not only a demilitarized buffer zone in which any future demarcation can be amicably undertaken, but a recognition of the added ecological and cultural aspects of an area which both Cambodia and Thailand may still save from the destructive and exploitative impacts of rapid development so often suffered in other ASEAN countries.
Disputes over ownership since 2008
Main article: Cambodian–Thai border dispute.
The ongoing conflict between Cambodia and Thailand over the site has led to periodic outbreaks of violence.
A military clash occurred in October of 2008.In April of 2009, 66 stones at the temple allegedly were damaged by Thai soldiers firing across the border.In February 2010, the Cambodian government filed a formal letter of complaint with Google Maps for depicting the natural watershed as the international border instead of the line depicted on the 1907 map used by the International Court of Justice in 1962.
In February 2011, whilst Thai officials were in Cambodia negotiating the dispute, Thai and Cambodian troops clashed, resulting in injuries and deaths on both sides.
Since February 4, both sides have used artillery against each other, and both blame the other for starting the violence. On February 5, Cambodia had formally complained in a letter to the U.N. “The recent Thai military actions violate the 1991 Paris Peace Accord, U.N. Charter and a 1962 judgment from the International Court of Justice”, the letter claims. On February 6, the Cambodian government claimed that the temple had been damaged. Cambodia’s military commander said: “A wing of our Preah Vihear temple has collapsed as a direct result of the Thai artillery bombardment”. However, Thai sources spoke only of minor damage, claiming that Cambodian sources had fired from within the temple.
ASEAN, to which both states belong, has offered to mediate over the issue. However, Thailand has insisted that bilateral discussions could better solve the issue. On February 5, the rightwing People’s Alliance for Democracy called for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for “failing to defend the nation’s sovereignty”.
Preah vihear ticket : 10 USD/P
4WD (mountain Car) : 25 USD/Car
Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura
Date: Built in early 7th century
King: Isanvarman I (AD 615-635)
Private tour can start any time of the day base on your tour program
Tour program: Start at 8:30 am from Siem reap about 2hours and Over night at siem reap Hotel.
Cambodia’s most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments, Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries AD. The property comprises more than a hundred temples, ten of which are octagonal, unique specimens of their genre in South-East Asia. Decorated sandstone elements in the site are characteristic of the pre-Angkor decorative idiom, known as the Sambor Prei Kuk Style. Some of these elements, including lintels, pediments and colonnades, are true masterpieces. The art and architecture developed here became models for other parts of the region and lay the ground for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period. It was an important learning centre during the Angkorian era. In the early 1970s, Sambor Prei Kuk was bombed by US aircraft in support of the Lon Nol government’s doomed fight against the Khmer Rouge. Some of the craters, ominously close to the temples, can still be seen. The area’s last land mines were cleared in 2008. An easy 40-minute drive from Kompong Thom, the area has a serene and soothing atmosphere, with the sandy trails between temples looping through shady forest and less than 2hours from Siem Reap
Sambor Prei kuk temple
The Central Temple
The central temple is called Tor or the Lion Temple which was built in the 9th century. It has sealed door on each side except the north side which hsa a real door. On each side, there is a staircase with two statues of kneeling lions guarding on both sides. There are a number of temples to the west of Lion Temple.
The Northern Temple
The northern temples are called Mid-Sambo Temples. It is a complex of many small temples.
The Southern Temples
The southern temples are called Yeay Poan Temples. It is a complex of many temples. There are two ramparts, which the inner one has four entrances on each side. This site was a former Capital.
Kraol Romeas Temples
Krao Romeas Temples locates about 2km north of Sambo Preykuk. All were built with brick, except the western temple which was built with laterite.