Temple Watch: Jayavarman's first wives

Temple Watch: Jayavarman's first wives

SR-photo-byline-.jpg
SR-photo-byline-.jpg

Situated north of the great city of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, or Temple of the Sacred Sword, is among the largest and most complex of all the Angkor temples.  Dedicated to the father of Jayavarman VII, it was a very important monastic complex, and it has been estimated that more than 70,000 people lived and worked within its walls.  

Most visitors traverse the temple east to west or vice versa, and with many narrow passages and secret chambers, Preah Kahn is a delight to explore. Many parts of the temple are in ruins with spectacular trees to rival those at Ta Prohm.   

The Halls of the Dancers to the east, and the north temple have the best reliefs and door lintels. A two-storey building to the northeast is unique in that it has round columns looking more Greek or Roman than Khmer.

An exciting find is the figure of Jayavarman's first wife with a diamond in her navel (now replaced by a glass replica). A relief of Jayavarman's second wife can be found in an adjoining chamber. Both these escaped the attention of the Khmer Rouge by being hidden in the collapsed chamber, only being discovered during restorations. These figures are unmarked and hard to find, so an experienced tour guide is needed.

The temple is undergoing some restoration work on the West Gopura entrance and the old wooden visitors centre was still under reconstruction as of Friday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget