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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Preah Rup


Preah Rup is a temple at Angkor archeological complex, built as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman and dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction.


The temple’s name is a comparatively modern one meaning "turn the body". This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.


Located just south of the East Baray, or eastern reservoir, Preah Rup is aligned on a north-south axis with the East Mebon temple, which is located on what was an artificial island in the baray. The East Mebon was also a creation of the reign of Rajendravarman.


Preah Rup's extensive laterite and brick give it a pleasing reddish tone that is heightened by early morning and late afternoon sunlight. The temple has a square lay-out and two perimeter walls. The outer enclosure is a platform bounded by a laterite wall. A laterite causeway gives entry from the east; unfortunately, a modern road cuts across it. The four external gopuras are cross-shaped, having a central brick section (consisting of three rooms flanked by two independent passageways) and a sandstone vestibule on both sides. To either side inside the eastern gate is a group of three towers aligned north to south. One of the towers appears to have never been built or to have been dismantled later, however they are later additions, probably by Jayavarman V. Further ahead, through another gate, libraries lie to either side of the walkway on the second platform. Just before the entrance there is a stone "cistern", but scholars believe it was a basement for a Nandi bronze statue rather than being used for cremation ceremonies.
 

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