Welcome to the land of soul remedies, the land of ancient culture in a modern era, Cambodia. Most wanderlusts must have known that the country is the birthplace to the one and only wonderful Angkor Wat temple. However, Angkor Wat is not the only time you will be seeing in Cambodia. Here is a brief guide to visiting 10 of the most-visited temples in Cambodia.
List of 10 Temples To See In Cambodia:
10. Beng Mealea Temple
A beautiful jungle temple, Beng Mealea, was built during the Angkorian period. The name Beng Mealea, also known as Boeung Mealea, can be translated as “Lotus Pond”. Since the temple was constructed in the same era as Angkor Wat, they share a very similar architectural style, and both built with sandstones. It is said that Beng Mealea was built as a prototype for the world’s 7 wonders, Angkor Wat. In contrast to the famous tourist attractions in Angkor complex, the temple remains a hidden beauty due to the remote distance of over 60 kilometers away from Siem Reap city. Hence, the temple would give a fascinating mystery vibe to the explorers. The temple surrounded by many big green trees, which made the whole place a small forest of itself. You would find yourself getting lost in the wonder of greenery and beautiful historical architecture.
9. The Terrace of Elephants
The Royal Terrace of the elephant is one of the most-visited historical architecture of the Angkor complex. It was built in the 12th century by the great King Jayavarman VII as the hall for holding grand ceremonies and events. The royal terrace was originally attached to the ancient Royal Palace; however, some part has been destroyed in destruction wars. As you may get some clues from the name of the temple, the place was caved with hundreds of elephant figures, lions, horses, warriors, and dancers. With 2.5 meters height and 300 meters in a width of the terrace, standing in the middle of a wide green grass field, the place could easily hold hundreds of audiences. According to the historical record of the Chinese official, Zhou Daguan, the terrace was once decorated finely with elegant wooden pavilions and golden decorations, which made the terrace a glorious royal events holder.
8. Preah Khan Temple
On the grand circuit of Angkor Complex, 2 kilometers away from Angkor Thom temple, stand a proud architecture of the Preah Khan temple. The name “Preah Khan” means “the Royal Sword” or “the Sacred Sword”. The temple was also built in the 12th century during the reign of King Jayavarman VII as a monument of his victory against Cham invaders. The temple is also a dedication to the King’s father as resembled by the caved statue of Lokeshvara, the Lord of the World in Buddhism.
7. Preah Vihear Temple
2008. Preah Vihear temple is a Hindu temple that is constructed on top of over 500 meters height of the Dangrek mountains. The construction of the temple was passed on from one king’s reign to another over a period of 300 years, starting from the 9th to the 12th century. The temple was built as a dedication to Hindu god, Shiva, and it has its own architectural style. The views from the top of the mountain will take travelers by surprise. Preah Vihear is currently known as the world’s heritage as listed by UNESCO in
6. Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng is known to be the most popular site for seeing the sunset in Siem Reap. The name “Phnom Bakheng” means “Bakheng Hill”, for the temple to be built on the top of the hill. The temple is the highest point of the Angkor Complex; therefore, it offers the bird view of the whole wonderful temple area. Bakheng temple is a Hindu temple that was built with the existing stones of the hill itself. It was constructed in the 9th century under the supervision of king Yasovarman as a dedication to Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction. Bakheng hill is now also a popular climbing spot for the locals to do their morning and evening exercise.
5. Banteay Srey Temple
“Banteay Srei” means “Citadel of the Women”. It is one of the most beautiful and detailed architectures built in the 10th century with rosy red sandstone and dedicated to God Shiva. The temple is rather tiny compared to any other temples. Most believe that the reasons why the temple has such a low ceiling and tiny size because it was meant for the ladies, or it could have been built by them. The temple itself was not a commission of the king Rajendravarman, but it was commissioned by his royal physician and counselor, Yajnavaraha. The carving sculptures on the wall are much more detailed than any other Angkorian temples due to the use of pink sandstone, which has a soft texture allowing easy access to the carving process.
4. Koh Keh Temple
Koh Ker temple is another remote temple which is located about 120 kilometers away from Siem Reap city. The temple is such a hidden gem in the green forest. It was once the capital of the Khmer Empire in the period from 928 to 944 AD built under the instructions of King Jayavarman IV. The temple is meant to dedicate to Hindu gods, especially Shiva. Koh Ker is a unique temple with the shape of seven tiers pyramid and with about 40 meters in height and surrounded by the greenery of the forest and wide green grass field.
3. Ta Prom Temple
As Preah Khan temple was dedicated to King Jayavarman VII’s father, Taproom is a Buddhist temple dedicated to his mother. It was also built in the 12th century. It is located in the small circuit of the Angkor complex. The temple had been featured in the famous Hollywood movie starred by Mrs. Angelina Jolie, “The Tomb Raider”. Since it has been swallowed by the forest the temple has a mysterious and mesmerizing aura that brings out the curiosity and adventurous side of people.
2. Bayon Temple
The heart of Angkor Thom city, Bayon, was built by King Jayavarman VII to dedicate to Buddha. The significant symbol of Bayon temple is the 54 towers of Tranquil Stone faces of Bayon. The four different faces of each tower give a different kind of expressions. Other than the famous towers, there are also carving scenes of the daily lives of people during the era and the war between Khmer warriors and Chams. Being in the temple is like getting lost in a myth and fantasy, you would feel mesmerized by studying the details of the sculptures and faces of Bayon.
1. Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, the biggest religious monument in the world which is originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, has been standing tall and proudly since the 12th century. Seeing Angkor Wat’s current state, which still remains in a pretty pristine condition in spite of having been through many awful and destructive wars, would make anyone curious about how magical it would be when freshly built. The temple is located in Siem Reap city of Cambodia along with many other beautiful temples of Angkor complex.
The temple was built of 6-10 million blocks of sandstone alone without using any other types of stones or materials. The sandstone was imported from Kulen Mountain by relying entirely on elephants and manpower, which is very impressive that it took only a few decades to finish the masterpiece. The whole architecture, from the scale to structure and sculptures are perfectly developed in detail with pure effort and talent. The temple was built as a resemblance of the universe, and it is undoubtedly built following a perfectly designed architectural plan.
During March and September every year, the tourists would be able to witness the astronomical event of the equinox when the sun rises perfectly horizontally aligned with the pinnacle of Angkor’s central tower. These are only some highlights of the whole scene of Angkor Wat. While hearing for one thousand times cannot be comparable to one time of experience, what are you waiting for? It is time to pack your bag and get ready for some adventure.