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Preah Ko Temple

1 min read

Date: Late 9th century CE (879)
Style: Preah Ko
King: Indravarman I (reign 877 – 889 CE)
Cult: Hindu, cult of the ancestors


Preah Ko (Khmer: ប្រាសាទព្រះគោ) is a well-preserved six-sanctuary temple that has excellent carved sandstone reliefs, the lintels and octagonal colonettes of which are particularly detailed and expressive, and the temple’s small scale allows you to inspect them at close range.

The sanctuary guardians are beautiful, crafted in exceptionally deep relief, and high-quality moonstones grace the entrances to the sanctuaries and the staircases of the platform.  Three statues of Shiva’s mount, Nandi, face the staircases guarded by well-preserved lions.

Preah Ko also features one of the first libraries built in the Angkor period, located in the south-eastern section of the temple (as would always be the case with Angkor temples built with only one library).

Built in what was then the capital city of Hariharalaya (present-day Roluos), a year before Indravarman I's state-temple of Bakong Temple, Preah Ko was erected as an ancestral shrine.

The first row of sanctuaries, guarded by dvarapalas (semi-divine male guardians), housed three statues representing three forms of the god Shiva.  They were identified with three deceased kings: Prithivindravarman (Indravarman I's father), Rudravarman (his maternal grandfather) and Jayavarman II (husband of his mother's sister and founder of the Angkor dynasty).

The second row of sanctuaries honoured their respective queens, identified with goddesses, and feature devatas (semi-divine female guardians) on their walls.


Map of Preah Ko

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