Cambodian Temple Week – Preah Khan

Preah Khan is a temple at Angkor, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. It is located northeast of Angkor Thom and just west of the Jayatataka Baray, with which it was associated. It was the centre of a substantial organisation, with almost 100,000 officials and servants. 

The temple is flat in design, with a basic plan of successive rectangular galleries around a Buddhist sanctuary complicated by Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions. Like the nearby Ta Prohm, Preah Khan has been left largely unrestored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins.

Preah Khan was built on the site of Jayavarman VII’s victory over the invading Chams in 1191. Preah Khan is one of the few monuments to have kept its original name. The name Preah Khan means “sacred sword” and is derived from the meaning of the original — Nagara Jayasri (holy city of victory). The site may previously have been occupied by the royal palaces of Yasovarman II and Tribhuvanadityavarman.

The temple’s foundation stela has provided considerable information about the history and administration of the site

More than a single temple, the monument was in its time a real city with a whole population divided according to their functions. The temple was also a site of Buddhist studies with its retinue of spiritual masters and their disciples.

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