Prasat Preah Ko (Prasat Bakong)

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Prasat Preah Ko
Native Nameប្រាសាទព្រះគោ
K InscriptionK.309, K.713, K.717, K.310, K.311, K.312, K.313, K.314, K.315, K.316, K.317, K.318, K.319, K.320, K.321, K.322, K.323, K.731, K.1023 (?)
Inscr. LocationAngkor Conservancy x 3, In Situ x 15, Unknown
Part ofHariharalaya, Angkor
VillageOv Lok
DistrictPrasat Bakong
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.34385, 103.97282
Founded9th Century
BuilderIndravarman I
Art StylePreah Ko
Year/s Restored1932, 1990s
UNESCO Inscription1992

482 Prasat Preah Ko 1.jpg
(2 votes)

Site Size & Condition: Medium Prasat Prasat Preah Ko (ប្រាសាទព្រះគោ - Pronounced: Pra-saht Preah Ko)

Prasat Preah Ko, or 'Temple of the Sacred Bull', predates its larger neighbour Bakong and, as with Lolei to the north, was dedicated by Indravarman I in the late 9th century, to both the god Shiva and his own family. (The sacred bull refers to Nandi, statues of whom can still be seen on site.)

The 6 (2 rows of 3) brick towers we see today, aligned eastwards on a low platform, are just a fraction of a large site extending to the north, south and west and bordered by a moat. The 600 sq metre area is currently heavily forested and few traces of an outer wall or possible gopuras remain. The shrines are offset slightly south and to the extreme east of this large enclosure leaving a large empty space in the centre which some have suggested could have been occupied by the royal palace. An eastern gopura, parts of a laterite wall and a second, brick entrance pavilion can be seen, almost butting onto the main access road and a former causeway and track continue east.

The brick towers themselves are in relatively good repair and feature high-quality sandstone lintels and inserted carved figures while sections of the original stucco work, which would originally have covered the entire exteriors, can still be seen. Lintels are high relief, intricate heraldic designs; figures are male guardians and devatas while stucco work includes Kalas, small figures and vegetal wreathes.

A large number of inscriptions were also found at Preah Ko. Reportedly, K.309, K.713 and K.717 are presently kept at the Angkor Conservancy with the remainder being doorjamb inscriptions and still in situ. (Many of the latter are double inscriptions - north and south doorframes etc.) All, with the exception of K.717, are contemporary with the sanctuary's 9th-century construction with the odd one out being dated to the 10th century.

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