Cambodia is popular for being a country full of many ancient monuments; one of which is Preah Khan Temple. The literal name of it is “the Sacred Sword”, built in the second half of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII who was one of the greatest kings in Khmer history. According to the inscription, King Jayavarman VII built the Preah Khan temple after he defeated the Chams on where the battle took place. Furthermore, he also dedicated Preah Khan to his father, King Dharanindravarman II; while Taprom temple was for his mother.
Interestingly, since Khmer people during that period held such strong respect in Buddhism, Preah Khan temple portrayed an extremely potential and meaningful role to them as it was in Buddhist style. Nowadays, Preah Khan is well-known as one of the most magnificent temples to visit in Angkor sites. Although it has suffered some damages, Preah Khan is still able to stand tall to greet visitors and show off its astonishing beauty which leaves tourists in awe.
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Preah Khan Temple | Historical Temple of the Khmer Empire
It is an understatement to say that Preah Khan gives an unforgettable memory to people who go to explore it. Just like most temples in Angkor Archaeological Park, there is a massive stone gate surrounding the Preah Khan temple. It has four entrances for visitors to get it. The main gate of the Preah Khan temple is in the east. If you enter through this entrance, you will be astonished by a couple of trees with their enormous roots curving on the stonewall of the temple, facing up to the sky, looking like some kind of powerful soldiers. Visitors will be mesmerizing at how the trees complement the beauty of the temple.
This kind of view makes Preah Khan temple look even more mysterious that we cannot help but to stay there longer, hoping to discover the mystery that has remained hidden for hundreds of years. At this spot, tourists can spend up to fifteen minutes taking photos with the trees as it is the popular spot to take pictures. Also, every tourist who went to visit this temple often came to these trees and captured their photos. Precisely, not every day that you get to see the trees embracing on the huge stonewall. Now that you get to see one, why not take a few pictures of them or with them.
Additionally, even though the main entrance is in the east, most tourists choose to enter from by west gate as it is nearer to the main road. This reason is, tourists find it easier for them to enter Preah Khan temple from the west than from the east as their vehicles are nearer and would be easier to access to the temple with the west side. Once inside, the Preah Khan temple never fails to make tourists feel satisfied at how it looks. The absolutely fine carvings, lichen-clad stonework and the artwork of this temple are so beautiful that it is not possible to find the correct word to describe it.
In the past, ancient Khmer people considered this temple as a city and a university for Buddhists. There are many stories that no one actually knows. Therefore, going to visit Preah Khan temple would make us feel even more curious about how it was like in the past. It also makes us wonder what types of stones and equipment people in the past used as well as the strategy and plan they made to be able to build such an astonishing monument like Preah Khan temple.
Despite having some part damaged by humans’ activities and nature, Preah Khan temple is still standing so strong, welcoming all visitors who are eager to know more about this temple. Most importantly, the Preah Khan temple offers visitors a sense of security. It is hard to put into words how it could make people feel so secure. It may be the strong gate that made from ancient stone, or the tall trees, or the statues, or the carving inside the temple; but whatever it is, it is able to charm visitors to come to visit it whenever they come to Siem Reap city. In addition, compared to other temples around Angkor Area, Preah Khan temple is one of the temples that are not quite crowded.
The size of Preah Khan is large; although with a lot of visitors, it still seems quite peaceful to be there. Not only that it is quiet, Preah Khan temple also provides many amazing spots for people who are tired from all the walking around other temples all day. Since there are a lot of trees surrounding the Preah Khan temple, the weather is mostly chilly and windy. This leads visitors to feel even more peaceful by just being there. The thing is, tourists get to feel like they are being exposed to nature, and it makes them feel even closer to it. Hence, visiting the Preah Khan temple should be on your ‘must-do’ list.
Location: 2km northeast of Angkor Thom, to the east of Preah Khan is the Jayatataka Baray, Siem Reap
How to get there:
Visitors can access the temple through any type of vehicle except large trucks or vans. Cambodian government do not allow any kind of large vehicles to enter Angkor Sites as to prevent those vehicles from causing harms to the ancient temples especially the fragile and old-aged one. Therefore, to get to the temple, we recommend you choose tok tok. By doing so, you can enjoy all the breathtaking scenery along the way while experiencing the cold natural air of the Angkor forest. On top of that, the fresh air and relaxing view that visitors would witness while being on the Tok Tok can be the factors to cure visitors’ mind from all the stresses and problems they are facing.
Therefore, tourists will get to find the tranquility which is normally difficult to seek in the city. Another type of vehicle that is perfect for the trip to Preah Khan temple is bike. Tourists can rent a bike with only less than 10$. Furthermore, they can come with a group of friends, riding inside the Angkor forest to Preah Khan temple. By doing so, visitors will feel even more surprised at how amazing it is to explore the forest. However, we only recommend bicycle to those who are qualified and can endure hardship well. If you do not have a strong stamina, Tok Tok is still the best for you.
Should visit there with tour guide
Despite not being too far away from Angkor Wat, which is the main attraction for visitors, it is still a good idea to go there with a tour guide. First and foremost, tour guide can lead you to the nearest entrance. Therefore, it could save your time to visitor others spectacular in Angkor Area. Secondly, tour guides in Siem Reap are all well-trained. You will get a better experience about Preah Khan temple if you get yourself a tour guide. The tour guide will give you a clear explanation about the history of Preah Khan temple as well as the design or style of the artwork in this temple. However, if you already know the history and want to have your time to enjoy the peacefulness at this temple, going alone by yourself is fine too,
All in all, Preah Khan temple is one of the monuments in Cambodia that Khmer people give so much value to. Due to its beauty that is not possible to find any other things to compare to it, Preah Khan temple also become Khmer people’ pride and joy. Although this temple has received a lot of damages because of old age, natural phenomenon and humans’ activities, the authorities have been trying their best to preserve this temple in a hope for it to last for a long time for the next generation. Thus, we totally encourage you to visit Preah Khan when you get a chance to visit Siem Reap province. We can guarantee that Preah Khan temple will provide you an amazing and unforgettable experience that you will find yourself wanting to visit this temple again.