- 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
LOCATION OF PREAH KO TEMPLE
- 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.
LENGTH OF VISIT
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.
- 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
Male Guardian at Preah Ko