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

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the