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Roluos is a small modern Cambodian town and an archaeological site about 13 km (8 miles) east of Siem Reap along NH6.  The "Roluos Group" of temples there are some of the earliest permanent structures built in Angkor.

Jayavarman II, the first Emperor of Angkor, built several capital cities including one at Roluos, at that time called Hariharalaya.  This was the site of his last city and remained the capital until 889 CE when Yashovarman I relocated the capital to Yashodharapura, the site of present-day Angkor.

The main three remaining Hindu sanctuaries at Roluos are Preah Ko Temple, Bakong Temple and Lolei Temple.  They are the best preserved of the early Angkor temples.

All three temples are built of brick with sandstone doorways and niches.  The use of human figures as sculptural decoration in religious architecture developed around this time – and excellent examples of these guardian spirits can be seen in the niches of Preah Ko Temple and Lolei Temple.

Other sculptured figures which appear in the Roluos Group are the guardian lion, the reclining bull (NandiShiva’s vahana, or mount) and the naga.

The gopura – an arched gateway leading to the temple courtyards – was also a contemporary innovation in Roluos.  Libraries appeared for the first time, as did the concentric enclosures surrounding the central group of towers.

Preah Ko Temple and Lolei Temple were dedicated to the parents and grandparents of the kings who built them, so they don't have a pyramid centre like Bakong Temple, as temple-mountains were built exclusively for kings.


Map of Roluos

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