Located north of Angkor Wat, Preah Khan is a huge Buddhist temple built during the Khmer Empire. Its significance lies in its architectural features – being a very good example of a linear temple of big dimensions – and its decorative elements – numerous carvings and garuda sculptures. The initial Buddha images were replaced by Hindu elements at a later time.

Preah Khan is delimited by walls bearing carvings of garudas. The 138 acres edifice comprises of towers, shrines, courtyards, entryways, connecting corridors and ceremonial rooms. One of the most prominent parts of the temple is the Hall of Dancers.

Preah Khan Photos

Angkor Archaeological Park guide

History

Preah Khan was built in the second half of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. As an inscription on the temple says, the edifice was constructed on the battlefield after a final victory against Chams. The king dedicated the temple to his father in AD 1191; its name literally means “sacred sword”. Preah Khan served as a monastery, a school and a king residence. Originally dedicated to Buddha, the temple was vandalized during the reign of a later king and the Buddhist elements were replaced with Hindu ones.

 

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