- Tim Cahill
Preah Khan is an immense Buddhist complex occupying 56 hectares and at a first glance it may seem confusing for the visitor, but with the help of a Preah Kahn plan or a local guide you will soon find yoursel immersed in its corridors and galleries. A popular itinerary is to start your visit from the eastern entrance. One of the first things that will surprise you is the coexistence of nature and the Khmer structures. A set of steps will take you to the Processional Way delineated with lanterns that precedes a majestic stone causeway across the moat. Along the causeway, a balustrade portraying gods and demons carrying a naga will escort you to the outer Gopura. There are similar entrances on the South and North, and the E-W and N-S axis cross Preah Khan and meet in the Central Tower.
As you are about to cross the Gopura you will see beautifully carved Garudas at both your sides, protecting the main entrance to the enclosure. Halfway along the path filled with vegetation you will come across a Dharmasala or House of Fire that was use as resting place for the pigrims. You are now in front of one of the Preah Khan Highlights: the massive East Gopura III with three towers in the centre and two pavilions on the sides. Follow the path and you will arrive tho the Hall of Dancers, which takes its name from from the delicate carved lintels portraying dancing apsaras. Only five of the eight lintels have survived the passing of time.
To the right of the Hall of Dancers a big Two Storey Pavilion with round columns very unique as there are no other examples of a similar building in Angkor. As you follow the path you will cross many shrines, some of them added in subsequent extensions of the complex. The Central Sanctuary is located in the middle of Preah Khan and it shelters a 16th century stupa, although originally a statue of Lokeswara occupied this space. This shrine is still an important Buddhist worshiping place. You can exit the temple either through the North where temples dedicated to Shiva rest, or through the west, where we find the Vishnu complex.
There are other routes that will take you to some of the most hidden gems of Preah Khan. Our expert team at ABOUTAsia has designed a unique route that will show you a different side of this beautiful site. If you are interested please
Peerless service standards and local positioning have made us the tour operator of choice by international luxury travel groups and discerning independent travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Southeast Asia.