On the fourth day, the circuit proposes a visit of the capital city of Koh Ker, about 130 km northeast of Siem Reap. If you are staying in Siem Reap, it is worth setting out early to have enough time at the site. Out of more than hundred temples, we suggest seven fascinating monuments which include a 35 meters tall pyramid, the state-temple complex, a vast reservoir, shrines with lingas of unparalleled size and carved sandstone basins. The style and architectural character of these monuments are unique in the history of Khmer arts.
Prasat Pram “Five Towers” is our first temple, truly worthy stopover. The towers grasped in tree roots are astonishing. Prasat Neang Khmau is a black laterite tower. It houses a linga and a yoni.
Prasat Chen is famous for its colossal statues narrating the two Hindu Epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The three-shrine walled temple was dedicated to Vishnu. The temple also boasts five inscriptions listing the names of servants assigned to the temple.
Andong Preng refers to a basin with sandstone steps. It is thought perhaps to have been a royal bath; thus the capital’s presumed royal residence district. Since the residential buildings were probably made of wood, they have all perished.
Rahal is a thousand year-old artificial basin (1200 x 600 meters) still containing water. We can get a glimpse of this vast reservoir at the northwestern corner where buffalos and cows sometimes come to bath.
A three-meter tall dancing Shiva statue with five heads and ten arms has been at one time installed in the Prasat Thom “Great Tower”. The temple is a multi-shrine complex with a moat, built some time before 921 A.D. and extended to its current scale during the reign of Jayavarman IV. Its architecture has no parallel in the area. At the back of the complex, we reach the yard of the largest Khmer pyramid of all time. On the upper terrace, a shrine of at least five meters in height must have stood erect with an immense linga (at least one meter in diameter and several meters tall). From the top in good weather you can make out the lines of Dangrek Mountains that form the border of Cambodia on the north.
Prasat Krachap is a temple of an unusual plan. The building complex, surrounded by a double wall, was oriented to the west, yet there was once a gate opening eastward on the outer wall. Dozens of inscriptions on the columns are still visible.
Prasat Damrei is a complex with beautiful elephant statues. It was, according to the Sanskrit inscriptions found in the temple area, devoted to Shiva.
Trapeang Khnar carvings is a groove-like sandstone basin with rock carvings. Rare carvings on naturally situated sandstones (from deities to animals like fresh-water dolphins, lizard, etc.) make the site astonishing. You should imagine that in the past a marvelous view must have opened from here to the Rahal.