Neak Pean Temple Highlights

Neak Pean is in several ways is one of the more unique

  • Angkor temples. It is a very small temple, with a very interesting location. The temple sits on a small island in the middle of a set of ponds which take a cruciform shape - the four smaller lakes joining at the cardinal points. The whole area is set within the North Baray (an artificial lake), or Jayatataka, and it is commonly believed that the lake represents the sacred Himalayan lake of Anavatapta - a lake famous for its miraculous healing properties and from which four epic rivers flowed through the mouths of a lion, an ox, a horse and an elephant. Walking around any of the smaller ponds you can view the island across the larger pond, and you will notice the two naga serpents Nanda and Upunanda, their tails entwined. This is Hindu symbolic mythology at its best, and this is what gives the temple its modern name - 'Entwined Serpents'.

     

  • Carving at Neak Pean, Cambodia

    Carving at Neak Pean, Cambodia

    As for reaching the main temple itself, there is only one entrance from the east, the other doors are now blind, and elephants are placed at their corners and Lokesvara depicted on the doors. For many the highlights of this temple are the sculptures within the lake which are so mystical given their backdrop in the water and their Hindu symbolism. Most striking would have to be the statue of a flying Balaha, the horse figure whose form the god Bodhisattva would take when in battle or helping the kingdom's peoples. A stsue of Vishnu is also present are many lingas. Via four small chapels, the larger pond is linked to the smaller ones, and inside these chapels can be found sculpted fountainheads - and this was a prime example of thirteenth century hydraulic engineering. Water would be poured from the main pond into a small tank above the fountainheads, which would then pass through a stone channel, emerging from the mouth.

     



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    Neak Pean Temple Highlights - Angkor temples guides by ABOUTAsia.