Preah Ko Temple
Preah Ko Temple was the first temple to be built in the
ancient and now defunct city of Hariharalaya (in the area that today is
called Roluos), some 15 kilometers south-east of the main group of
temples at Angkor, Cambodia. The temple was built under the Khmer King
Indravarman I in 879 to honor members of the king's family, whom it
places in relation with the Hindu deity Shiva.
After the Khmer
king Jayavarman II founded the Khmer empire in 802 A.D., he finally
established his capital at Hariharalaya. Indravarman I was the nephew of
Jayavarman II. When he ascended to the throne, he ordered the
construction first of Preah Ko Temple, which was dedicated in 879, and later of
the temple-mountain known as the Bakong. It is likely that this
building program was made possible by the king's peaceful reign and his
ability to draw income from the expanding empire. A restoration of the
towers took place in early 1990s, financed by German government.
Preah Ko Temple consists of six brick towers arranged in two rows of three towers
each perched on a sandstone platform. The towers face east, and the
front central tower is the tallest. The sanctuaries are dedicated to
three divinized forefathers of Indravarman and their respective wives.
The front central tower is dedicated to Jayavarman II, the founder of
the Khmer empire. The tower to the left is dedicated to
Prithivindreshvara, King Indravarman's father; the tower to the right to
Rudreshvara, his grandfather. The three rear towers are dedicated to
the wives of these three men.The central towers all bear images of the
Hindu god Shiva.
Preah Ko Temple, which means 'the sacred bull' (Shiva's
vehicle Nandi), was built by Indravarman I in 879. It is part of the
Roluos group of monuments about 13 kilometers east of Siem Riep. The
temple is distinguished from others in the area by the unusual
arrangement of its six central towers, which stand in two rows facing
The three towers on the east side are staggered so that the
central tower is slightly further to the west. This tower is dedicated
to Shiva, the Hindu god closely associated with the rule of Jayavarman
II, the founder of the Khmer Empire. The tower to the north was
dedicated to the founder of Preah Ko, and the tower to the south was
dedicated to the King's father. Each of these shrines once contained a
statue, but they were removed at some time in the past.