- Rosalia de Castro
Bakong Temple is part of the original Hariharalaya (Jayavarman II's 8th century capital) group of Angkor temples located outside of Siem Reap in the Roluos area, hence the modern name for these temples, the Roluos Group. Bakong is the largest, and was the state temple of Indravarman I, and was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It is also the first significant temple-mountain built of sandstone.
When it comes to exploring the temple, you will be greeted at the entrance to the temple (second enclosure, you will have taken the road to arrive here), by seven headed nagas over the causeway which crosses the moat - a naga bridge almost as their bodies lay on the ground. On the east side of the outer enclosure are two long halls with octagonal columns and deep lintels.
The temple itself is very neat and finely constructed and four pavilions welcome you to the four cardinal gopuras of the pyramid. There are five sections of steps, some of which are guarded by lions, others by statues of elephants which are all impressive but all in variable condition. At the top of the pyramid is the wonderful sanctuary tower, added at the same time as Angkor Wat was constructed, and it has a lot in common with the famous temple's towers with its pediments depicting scenes of Hindu mythology. There are also 8 brick towers which surround the main pyramid, and these are best viewed from the summit. The temple is great to visit at sunrise, the light shines proudly over the whole temple from the East.
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