Prah Khan, Angkor Wat
Welcome to Preah Khan, the most beautiful temple of Angkor! This wonderful place is located some 6km away from Angkor Wat, however, easily accessible by bike or moto. It's a little similar to Ta Prohm as it is one of the temples that were left to the jungle to be swallowed. Nowadays, however, conservation work is going on but it doesn't really disturb Preah Khan's peaceful atmosphere. If you go there early in the morning or during lunchtime, the temple will be almost empty and you can have it for yourself. In general, it doesn't see as many visitors as Ta Prohm. What's so special about it? As soon as you leave the main corridor and enter the backyards or the labyrinthical smaller corridors, you'll find yourself in a wonderfully tranquil place. Nobody disturbs the peace while you enjoy the carvings on the walls or the little windows. For something more exciting go to the back part of the temple. There's a monstrous Spung tree growing on a wall, probably the biggest of Angkor. Its roots are easily as broad as a human body and its weight must be enormous, yet, it hasn't yet destroyed the wall on which it grows. In my opinion, this view is one of the most stunning in Angkor, so be sure not to miss it!
Preah Khan was built under Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century.
The 12th century Bayon style Preah Khan is one of the more elaborate complexes to explore and should be given according time to do so. One of Angkor’s best preserved, it is full of carvings and photo opportunities for those willing to do a bit of walking. The east gate as shown was surprisingly not very busy and was a nice mix of nature’s ravaging forces and man’s attempts at making a lasting impression. Once the monastic home to over 1000 monks, Preah Khan or “sacred sword” has an illustrious past; it was also a temporary home to King Jayavarman VII while Angkor Thom was being constructed.
Preah Khan is an overgrown temple complex, with giant tree roots creeping over the ruins.
Preah Khan means sacred sword and it became the Khmer capital after Cham invaders destroyed much of Angkor in 1177. it remained the capital until the completion of the much grander Angkor Thom.
In 1191, King Jayavarman VII dedicated the temple of Preah Khan to his father Dharanindra. Preah Khan or Sacred Sword was Jayavarman's coronation name.
It's not just Ta Prohm which has trees growing through the site - so if you liked that, then Preah Khan is also worth a look as it's in a similar state. It's not a major site, in terms of being well known, and is a bit less overgrown than Ta Prohm, but the trees growing through it make for nice photo opportunities.
According to my guidebook the name means "sacred sword", and dates from the late 1100s. It was pretty quiet when I visited, so it may be a good place to try if you want to escape the crowds.
It's located just north of Angkor Thom and to the west of Neak Pean.
This place appears to be a former Budhist university with its long narrow hallways and several small enclosures. However, history points to some evidence that this temple was constructed on the site of a major battle with Chams (or Muslim subjects of the Kingdom of Champa) and was dedicated to King Jayavarman's father.
After his victory and self-crowning, Jayavarman VII built an entire city heavily influenced by Chinese Buddhism. The entire complex is surrounded by a moat, in which we found fisherman throwing their nets. The entrance causeway has a multi-headed snake. The interior ruins have some wonderful carved sandstone lintels and fragmented statues. I had to clamber over tree roots and loose stones in places, and found a wonderfully rooted tree in part of the complex.
Preah Khan (meaning Sacred Sword) is a large Buddhist monastery and school constructed in the late 12th century for Jayavarman VII. We entered Preah Khan crossing the bridge over the moat that surrounds the facility. At the bridge we met a local man in a police uniform (although we later reasoned that he probably wasn’t actually a police officer) who spoke decent English and offered to take us on a tour of the area. He didn’t ask for any money up front. He spent an hour taking us through this massive structure and we learned so much more about Preah Khan than we ever would have on our own. He was patient and knowledgeable and allowed us to tour at our own pace while providing excellent insight, all for his love of this temple, a chance to practice his English and, I am sure, in hopes of a small tip for his services, which we gladly provided. Allow yourself a little extra time to explore Preah Khan as this site is huge with lots to see.
The meaning of this temple is Sacred Sword and it is believed that it used to be a Buddhist university. It covers a large area and you can spend long hours to discover the details. Also this temple has been damaged by giant tree roots just like Ta Prohm. However, Preah Khan is more lucky as the damage is comparably less.
Preah Khan is another great temple that has been left partially in its forested state. I spent more time here than at any other temple, because I found I could really lose myself in the architecture and the jungle overgrowth. While wandering here, you could go hours without ever hearing or seeing another person if you stay off the beaten path that runs down through the center of the temple!
Preah Khan was built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII, and the site of the legendary victory over the invading Champa people from the area of today's Vietnam. The completed temple was dedicated to Jayavarman's mother and combined city, temple and Buddhist university for some 100,000 people.
Constructed late 12th Century C.E. - Buddhist.
This is a highly explorable monastic complex. Built by King Jayavarman V11.
Lots to see here, you can see buddhist images that have been altered during the resurgence of hinduism
This temple is very very long, you have to pass many halls to cross it to the bottom. It has some interesting buildings, like a little 2 storey one in the bottom left part.
You can also find there some amazing huge trees on top of some buildings.
Preah Khan was more than just a monastery--it was an entire city enclosing a town of 56 hectares, built in the 12th century it held around 15,000 monks, teachers and students. This is the eastern entrance to the main temple.
Located to the northeast of Angkor Thom, this huge temple is roughly the same size as Angkor Wat. Completed in 1191, Preah Khan (meaning "holy sword") was built during the reign of Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his father (he dedicated nearby Ta Phrom to his mother). Inscriptions also make reference to a lake of blood, which could refer to a battle in the area during the expelling of the Cham from Angkor (the Cham king was killed where Preah Khan now stands). Thought to have been a religious university, when completed Preah Khan was home to in excess of 1,000 teachers, and had its own baray which ran out to the east of the site, but which has since run dry.
The outer wall of Preah Khan is of laterite, and bears 72 garudas holding nagas, at 50m intervals. Surrounded by a moat, it measures 800 by 700m and encloses an area of 56 hectares (138 acres). As usual Preah Khan is orientated towards the east, so this was the main entrance, but there are others at each of the cardinal points. Each entrance has a causeway over the moat with naga-carrying devas and asuras similar to those at Angkor Thom.
With all the trees growing on and among its stones, and all the photo opportunities, you would expect Preah Khan to be teeming with people. Maybe because it is so huge, we found it quiet and almost deserted. Which was wonderful, because it allowed us to wander everywhere and take all the photos we wanted. The causeway over the moat is very similar to the one in Angkor Thom, the same asuras carrying a long Naga. Around the outer wall, there are huge sculptures of garudas (72 of them, I later found out). The inside of the temple is made of successive rectangular galleries, which make for beautiful long vistas through the well-aligned doors. A unique thing about Preah Khan: it is the only temple in the Angkor complex where you can see round columns. Don't miss the place where the 2 cottontrees were growing over the wall - one of them is dead, but its roots are left in place. About them, Maurice Glaize (the conservator of Angkor from 1937 to 1945) wrote: "resting on the vault itself of the gallery, they frame its openings and brace the stones in substitute for pillars in a caprice of nature that is as fantastic as it is perilous". Beautiful, beautiful temple - don't miss it.
On our second day we first visited Preah Khan, after doin' all the big temples on day 1 we were surprised to find such a bueaty on day 2, I find it a must see, it is huge and different from other temples...