This is a small island temple, The central Temple sits at the centre of a cross, or lotus pattern of 8 pools.
Constructed late 12th century C.E. - Buddhist.
You cannot get to the actual temple, just view it from the edge of the pools.
Unlike most temples Neak Pean is a temple which consists of ponds in a crucifix formation. It is said to have miraculous healing from the four representations of the mouths of a lion, elephant, horse and ox (replaced by a man's face.
Neak Pean is different from most of the other temples in the complex. Historians believe it was built as a hospital. A central, large pool is surrounded by four smaller pools, allegedly each representing one of the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind. By bathing in these ponds, a sick person would find balance in the elements which composed him/her, and be cured. In the middle of the central pool there is a horse Boddhisatva, savior of the drowning. It is said that Neak Pean looks much better in the wet season - we were lucky to be there just at the beginning of the dry season, when the pools still had water inside.
Neak Pean comprises of a central tower which divides four symmetrical ponds. Unfortunately all ponds are dry. However, you can go down and look at the subterranean carved fountains in each pond depicting a different figure.
Neak Pean is an unique Angkor site because it was actually a series of swimming pools built in the late 12th century for Jayavarman VII. We visited in February, during the dry season, so the pools were completely dry allowing full access to all areas for exploration. I have heard that it is best viewed during the wet season when the pools accumulate water, but I wouldn’t know firsthand. Just a word of caution on your visit, since this site is a large pool, rather than a temple, there aren’t any trees to provide shade from the intense heat of the sun so be prepared; wear sunblock and a hat or come in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is cooler.
Neak Pean is on the northern edge of the Grand Circuit. It consists of a central tower, surrounded by a circular pond. This central pond is surrounded by four others in a clover-leaf shape. However, in the dry season, the ponds are all empty and this temple is not very spectacular or photogenic.
Neak Pean was constructed in the 12th century under Jayavarman VII. The name means "entwined serpents" and refers to the two snakes lying around the base of the monument. Its four pools represent Water, Earth, Fire and Wind and were used to help cure disease.
Neak Pean is a cruciform arrangement of ponds with a sanctuary tower on a circular island in the middle. At the centre of the main pond stands a tiny circular island 14m in diameter that supports the sancutary tower. The other four smaller ponds are joined to the main pond at the cardinal points. It is said to represent the sacred Himalayan lake of Anavatapta.
I managed to see it when the main pond is filled with water and when there are no other tourists around. It is a great spot to take a rest and take in the tranquility.
This is one of its kind island temple. A sanctuary away from the crowd.
Neak Pean is an island temple. It is build in the middle of a pond.
Its name refers to the statue of two nagas that encircle its base. Their heads entwined on the east side of the monument while their tails on the west side.
According to the pictures of my friends who had visited Neak PEan in dry seasons, the pond is dried up, enabling one to walk right to the temple.
The pond also features a statue of horse Balaha - a flying horse with a group of men clinging to it. This replica of this statue can be seen at the entrance to Siem Reap International Airport.
I didn't spend too much time here as the bus load of Japanes Tourists arrived just after we did. The surrounding area of Neak Pean has an herb that everyone was picking wildly. There is some very nice artwork at the center of this small unusual monument.
A rather unique temple surrounded by water. It has a large square pool surrounded by 4 smaller square pools. In the centre of the central pool is a circular island encircled by 2 nagas. In the pool area, there were once 4 statues, but only 1 remains, reconstructed from the debris. The figure has the body of a horse with 4 human legs. There are 4 water spouts from the central pool to the 4 smaller ones. The spouts are in the form of an elephant's head, a horse's head, a lion's head and human's head.
I was there in May, not the wet season, as you can see from my pictures. The pools are dry. I'd seen pictures of the pool with water in it. I think they were taken in the rainy season at the end of the year.
Neak Pean is another one of those temples constructed by Jayavarman VII. It was once located in the middle of a large artificial lake, the Jayatataka, but the basin of the lake today is dry. In a large square pond stands a round island, surrounded by nagas and crowned by a tower.
Another interesting feature of Neak Pean are the four small chambers placed around the island. Each houses a water spout - one looks like an elephant, one like a lion, another like a horse, and the fourth is a human. From them flowed water that was used by pilgrims to wash their sins away.
I have to say that I was sold on visiting this site by the picture in my guidebook with the site filled with water, which makes the whole place very photogenic. It was a bit of a disappointment when I turned up and the whole place was bone dry! I suspect it only gets full of water towards the end of the rainy season. Anyway it was interesting enough to wander around (on the day I'd hired a guide) and get the various features pointed out to me - in the dry you can at least get close up to the central island, which has two stone serpents coiled around it.
This temple is totally different from the rest in that it was built as an island in the Preah Khan Baray. When I was there it was the dry season and it was totally dry. I would imagine that when the pools are filled with water it is even more magical.
Neak Pean isn't that big.... we were there in the dry season so there was no water and then Neak Pean isn't spectacular at all, so only if you have lots of time visit this temple.
Her's a view up to the temple along its approach path. It's so different in that it isn't actually a building.