Why Preah Ko Had Been So Popular Till Now?

Preah Ko temple


  • The Preah Ko is the temple of the Sacred Bull.
  • The temple was built as an ancestral shrine in honor of the ruler’s parents, his parents-in-law, and perhaps most important, the founder of the Khmer dynasty, Jayavarman II (ruled 802-850).
  • The temple was built in 880 under Indravarman I (ruled 877-889), when the Khmer empire was based in the pre-Angkor city of Hariharalaya (modern-day Roluos).


The temple is dedicated to the god Shiva, Hindu


  • The temple is situated in present-day Rolous, about 7.5 miles (12 km) southeast of Angkor.
  • It sits just north of the former state of Bakong temple.
  • The temple is located 984 ft (300 m) to the right of the main road
  • The temple was surround by a residential area of about 815 acres (330 hectares), which it turn was bounded by a moat 1312 x 1640 ft (400 x 500 m), including two ponds.


It is estimated between 30 – 45 minutes


  • This well-preserved six-sanctuary temple has excellent carved sandstone reliefs, which the lintels and octagonal colonnettes are particularly detailed and expressive. Furthermore, the temple’s small scale allows you to inspect them at close range.
  • The sanctuary guardians are also a tour-de-force, crafted in exceptionally deep relief.
  • High-quality moonstones elegance the entrances to sanctuaries and the staircases of stages.
  • There are three good statues which are Shiva’s mount, Nandi, and well-preserved Khmer style guardian lions.


visit layout of Preah Ko

  • From the front road, the visitor promptly goes through the first of three gopurams, only the footprint of which remains.
  • The second enclosure, measuring about 311 x 324 (95 x 99 m), crosses eastward by means of cruciform gopura
  • The third enclosure wall, through which it provides access, is similarly devastated
  • A narrow causeway bridges the space between the third and second enclosure walls
  • The visitor then passes through the remaining two gopurams on the way to a low rectangular platform that supports the sanctuaries
  • Since only traces remain of the second and first enclosure walls, it is easy to miss them. Their absence bears visitors entering the second enclosure in area a much clearer initial view of the sanctuaries than was originally intended
  • Six brick sanctuaries (which are red highlights) stand on a modest platform in a linear arrangement, three in front (east side) and three behind (west side). They dedicated to male and female ancestors. The front row’s center sanctuary held particular significance, as it was dedicated to the founder of the Khmer empire, Jayavarman II. The north tower, to the right, contained the deified effigy of Rudravarman, Indravarman I’s grandfather on his mother’s side, and the south one had an image of Prithivindravarman, Indravarman’s father. The respective wives of these kings – Narendradevi, Dharanindradevi and Prithvindradevi – were venerated in their divine form. Please note the suffix devi means “goddess”
  • There are 3 beautiful moonstones highlighted in green. These half-circle stones are symbolic of the faithful’s movement from the world of the profane (circle) to that of the gods (square).
  • There are 3 sculptures of Shiva’s bull-mount Nandi highlighted in light blue, indicating the presence of Shiva in the sanctuary.
  • Next to the  southeast structure is a square brick ‘ library’ with very thick walls and windows with brick grilles.
  • The first enclosure, 193 x 197 ft (59 x 60 m), has almost totally disappeared. It houses a platform 82 x 101 ft (25 x 31 m), access to which managed by three stairways with gatekeeper lions.
  • The lintels are among the most beautiful in all Khmer artistic production. The arch consists of a festoon whose ends have heads of nagas and makaras moving in different directions. Among the foliage are figurines of horsemen, and in the middle of the festoon is the grotesque mask of Kala, the all-devouring demon, or of the god Vishnu riding on Garula, his half-human, half-bird vehicle. Above the lintel is a frieze representing mostly praying figures that acts as a connecting element with the pediment above it


Preah Ko temple

the decorative of Preah Ko

the decorative of Preah Ko


 Male Guardian at Preah Ko

male guardian at Preah Ko

13 thoughts on “Why Preah Ko Had Been So Popular Till Now?”

  1. Hello there,

    as a person who is very passionate about ancient civilizations and their creations, I am always on the look for new discoveries and information regarding these things! I am very happy that I have stumbled across Yoru article, which I found to be very interesting and informative. As far as Preah Ko temple goes, right of the batt I have to tell that it looks simply astonishing! It is so fascinating to see what our predecessors were able to create and were capable of at that time, truly impressive stuff! I would love to see those excellent carved sandstone reliefs as well as sanctuary guardians and statues in real life. These creations are a true masterpiece and they carry very important meanings behind them and posses energy and power. I truly believe they are spiritualy active. Thanks for this beautiful article, keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the interesting description.

    I have to commit, I’m a bit shy to say but although I live in Thailand now for almost 10 years, I haven’t visited the Angkor Wat yet.

    Some times Thais are afraid to go there because of complications about the borderline and resulting fights with Cambodians.

    I’d love to go and see this old site though. I have been to others in Lop Burri or Sukothai, absolutely fascinating and exotic architecture.

  3. Hello San. I hope you are having a good time with the season? Thank you for sharing this article telling why Preah Ko had been so popular till now. Enjoyed reading through. I have never heard about that temple before now. Such an historical temple. Just wanted to know if the temple still functions. I mean, do people still worship there?

    • The temple still exists and many tourists (around the world) visit it every months. There are many other great temples and I will try to show them next articles. If you have time, I welcome you to visit Sieam reap, Cambodia to see those great temples during your holiday

  4. What a wonderful structure, and it really does look like it’s in good condition considering it’s age – would love to visit this and explore further. 

    I’m interested in the library area you mentioned in the southeast structure – is there much to see in there or is it basically a square room now with very little features?

  5. I am always in awe of the carvings from the early civilizations , just how was it possible for them to do back then. Talk about commitment we get so used to our machines and technology. Each carving is a masterpiece in its own right. The fact that they have stood the test of time.You have painted in words an excellent description I felt as though I had visited. Well done.

  6. Hello San. Happy Thanksgiving and merry Christmas in advance. Thank you for sharing this historical piece. Considering the years, Preah Ko should have been down by now. But this temple still looks outstanding and if not told I will feel it is still functioning and that there is still activities going on there

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