PREAH KO TEMPLE

Introduction:

The temple of Preah Ko was constructed in 879 at the 9th century AD. Preah Ko was also built by king Indravarman I (877-389). King Indravarman I dedicated Preah Ko temple to his ancestors, in the concept of Hindu beliefs. Thus, Preah Ko was a Hindu temple. The name of Preah Ko has meaning in Cambodian as "Sacred Bull". The Sacred Bull!, because there are three bull statues in good condition still lying down in the compound of the main sanctuary. So, the name of temple comes after these bull statues.

Preah Ko was considering as the fisrt biggest temple ever built in the Angkor period of the Khmer empire, although there are some temples had been constructed before by Jayavarman II and Jayavarman III, but those temples are much smaller, while the Bayon temple considering as the last biggest temple of the Khmer empire in the Angkor period.

Preah Ko temple face to the east and there is a moat surrouding the compound. The materials using to build Preah Ko temple are including Brick, Literite, Sandstone, wood and Earthware tile roof.

At the first entrance (Gopura I):

The first entrance of Preah Ko has a cruciform plan, with its roof using of wood material and covered with eartImare tile roof. But so far the roof had gone, because it was the perishable materials. Remainaing only the walls, because the walls built of literite which one of the durable material (lava stone, or reef of ocean buried under the ground). The pillars, window frames and window columns of this entrance built of sandstone: Sandstone is the very noble material for making intricate caving, that is why big temples like Angkor Vat and Bayon so on using sandstone to build its structures because sanstone can make more fancy decorations and also durable material.

Significant;

The five sandstone colurnns are symbol of five worlds, which located at the slope of Mt. Meru, also symbol of five peaks of Mt. Meru itself, and the rings of the columns are symbol of reincarnations. The moat surrounding is symbol of Ocean and also for using in the pratical purposes.

The causeway:

This causeway which leading from the first entrance to the second entrance is about 30m long. This causeway is paving by literite and all way long, on the both sides of this causeway, also had been flanking by stone candles or lanterns. There are some cif those (candles) still remained in the spots. To have sandstone candles or lanterns decorated along the causeway, because for following the symbolized concept of Fire God (Agnie). In Hinduism Agnie was serving as a mediator between men to gods. Due to the concept that a causeway is represented to rainbow bridge leading to heavens.

At the second entrance:

The second entrance of Preah Ko has the same style of plan and layout to the first entrance structure as well. But it s just oliy smaller size. In this section, there is a unique moonstone which_ designed like the lotus petal shape. This • artifact designed for stepping onto the Gopura shrine. The second entrance structure is in bad condition, there are broken pieces of columns, windows; doorframes and gods statues are on the ground. By the way, the second entrance is symbol of world of men for connection from the Underworld that the first entrance is standing for its symbolization. In the section of the Gopura II. there is literire er.closing wall, which one still aood condition. This wall is surrounding the third entrance section which its size about 60m by 70m. The wall is always symbol of mountain range at the edge of the universe. Because one temple is represented to one cosmology.

At the third entrance (GopuraIII

The third entrance or Gopura III of Preah Ko temple designed a bit different from the Gopura I and Gopura IL The plan style of Gopura III designed with a doom roof built of brick, but so far on the roof top and the sandstone doorframes of this entrance had collapsed and destroyed. The third entrance is represented to Paradise anyway. In this section (Gopura III), there is another enclosing wall measured 50m X 50m built of brick.,But so far this wall is disappeared, except its foundation remained.

In the compound of Gopura III, there are some structures located. Those structures include library buildings, which built of laterite that each of them located on each side of the Gupura III. Library b-uildinds are poor condition, its roof had gone because built of woods. At the southeast corner, there is an elegant budding, this building is considering serving as crematorium or the Agnie shrine.

Ancient Khmers, particular Hindus believed that only offering their dead body to Fire God (Agnie), the souls would not be stunning. But this crematorium of Preah Ko temple for using funeral to only high priest and royalty, not for anyone. To worship to Agnie was very important before enter to the sanctuary shrines. This structure connected of using with the fires, that is why its location is the Southeast side of the temple compound, because the Southeast is the direction of Agnie. An addition, this structure has very thick brick wall for protect from overhead, and there are some chimney for smoke moving away. In the compound of Gopura III which surrounding the central; sanctuary, there are some rest house foundation: still remained, but most of the rest houses for the pilgrims used had disappeared.

At the central towers.

In the courtyard of the central area, there are three bull statues. From these bull statues that giving name for the temple (Peah Ko). To have the bull statues facing in to the temple shrines in the courtyard, because for following the significant concept of Shiva transport. The bull must face in, because he can see his boss out of shrine, which opposite for the lion statues, that he much face out because he was a guardian. Talking al-out lion, Preah Ko temple has six seating down lion statues guarding at the front of the brick shrines. These lion statues have been fixed bark by French in 1930, after Siamese vandalized during their conquers Angko in the 14th to the 15th century.

Preah Ko temple comprises six magnificent brick towers. Those towers are standing on a single sandstone platform measured of 20m X 30m. We notice that, there are very excellent stucco carving still stay on its (original spot of those shrines. To use plaster cr stucco coated on the brick tower because to help delicate decoration, since the brick is not easy to make carving. The ancient Khmers made stucco from Palm Sugar, Tamarind Paste, Clay, Sand and Limestone Powder so on.

In each chamber of the six brick towers, originally believed to have statues of king Indravarman Is ancestors in a guise of god or goddess. In additional, underneath of pedestal of those statues, also believed to keep the ashes and some relic items of those ancestors who Indravarman I dedicated to. But so far, those statues had stolen or destroyed and the treasures burried underneath of the statue pedestals had been looted by the treasure hunters. Remaining only the pedestals, even the pedestals are in bad condtion too, because the bandits had chopped off for taking the gold relics away.

Even Preah Ko was so old, but Preah Ko still has a unicue carving on its lintels and its balusters, as the same as the inscriptions on the door piers are quite good condition as well. Inscriptions on the door piers of Preah Ko are pro viding information for us about the purpose of each shrine's images. As Preah Ko was the temple shrine for his ancestors, then we can tell that the north tower of the front line for worship to his Father Prince Prithivindravarman, the center one For his maternal grandfather King Rudravarman and the south's one for his uncle King Jayavarman II. Particularly, the three towers at the back row built for honor of the consorts for those male ancestors at the front lines. We notice that the south tower at the back row is not symmetry to other ones, because she was in-law, wife of Paramesvara, that is why Indravarman I built her shrine a bit far from his next kin.

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