Apsara National Authority (ANA) on January 6 affirmed that work to reinforce the structure of Angkor Wat temple’s central tower-like spire, or “prang” in Khmer, was expected to finish in March-April.
ANA, the government body responsible for the conservation and management of Angkor Archaeological Park, emphasised in a statement that the intricately-carved spire, or “Bakan Tower” – the heart and one of the most iconic parts of the Kingdom’s most popular temple – has suffered considerable erosion over the ages.
Hourn Sokcheat, technical officer of the ANA’s Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology, pointed out that some of Bakan Tower’s stones had been dislodged from their original positions.
He explained that this was because some of the laterite used in the spire’s interior had been significantly weakened by erosion due to rain, humidity, and other environmental factors, putting more pressure on the sandstone used in the outer layer, on top of the plants growing in the crevices of the rocks, and thus shifting them.
Project manager Kheam Mony noted that the restoration team had been repairing the spire’s southwest corner since November, and that the operation was scheduled to be completed in March-April.
“This restoration work is done following the Angkor Charter and technical inspection is conducted carefully,” ANA quoted him as saying.
ANA shared that Bakan Tower had been restored once in the 1930s, during the French colonial period.
The spire rises 43m to a height of 65m above ground level, Angkor Wat’s highest point, and its pyramid shape is designed to represent Mount Meru, the abode of the gods and the centre of the universe in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology.