Let's learn about Preah Vihear - one of the most famous temples in Cambodia

Let's learn about Preah Vihear - one of the most famous temples in Cambodia

Preah Vihear Temple is a famous destination in Thailand and Cambodia tour. Do you know where Preah Vihear is exactly or what make Preah Vihear become popular and attractive? If you do not know, let's refer to this article!!

The origin of the name Preah Vihear

Cambodians call the temple Preah Vihear, while the Thai call it Prasat Khao Phra Viharn. Preah (Khmer) and Phra (Thai) means "saint". Vihear (Khmer) and Viharn (Thai) all mean the temple, shrine. Preah Vihear (Khmer) and Phra Viharn (Thai) means "temple". The Thai added two words "Prasat Khao". "Prasat" is a palace and "Khao" is a mountain. These words combine into the " the palace of Saint temple on a mountain " (Prasat Khao Phra Viharn).

Let's learn about Preah Vihear - one of the most famous temples in Cambodia

Where is Preah Vihear Temple?

Built in the 9th century, Preah Vihear is a temple located on Pey Tadi - a mountain peak of Dangrek Mountain in Cambodia, near the border with Thailand. Half of the temple is located in the Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Kantharalak district of Sisaket province, Thailand. The rest of the temple belongs to Preah Vihear province. For nearly 300 years, throughout 4 generations of Yasovarman I (889-910), Suryavarman I (1002-1050), Jayavarman VI (1080-1109), Suryvarman II (1113-1150), Preah Vihear has many similarities of temples in the Angkor population. The temple was built in the north-south axis, the slope in the opposite direction about 120 meters, 800 meters long and 250 meters wide.

Preah Vihear is a much-talked-about temple related to the relationship between Cambodia and Thailand, especially after Preah Vihear temple was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The architecture of Preah Vihear Temple

The first temple was started in the early 9th century to worship Shiva in the next centuries. The relics found in this province indicate that this area was an important settlement of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. The remains date back to the time of Koh Ker in the 10th century when the capital of the Khmer Empire was closer than it was in Angkor. There are a number of elements of the Banteay Srei style at the end of the 10th century. However, most temples were established under the Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II in the first half of the 11th and 12th centuries.

The architecture of Preah Vihear temple features a unique Banteay Srei style with extremely sophisticated sandstone sculpture. The complex architecture of the temple runs along the north-south axis, including a high embankment and the steps leading to the shrine on the top of the temple area in the south (120m high compared to the north and 525m compared to the Cambodian plain).

Although this structure is different from other Cambodian mountain temples found in Angkor, the temple also has the same purpose of worshiping the gods at the peak of Meru. The area around the temple with many buildings and high towers. However, now, most of the secondary architecture around the temple was severely ruined.

Let's learn about Preah Vihear - one of the most famous temples in Cambodia

The way to the temple has 5 large pillars numbered from the outside of the temple, and visitors will find the 5th largest pillar first. You will have to go on a few steps before reaching each pillar. Each pillar has different heights. In the standing position of each pillar, visitors cannot see the whole view of the temple except for entering the main gate.

The 5th pillar is made in the Koh Ker style that retains the red paints from the previous time although the red tile is no longer available. The 4th pillar existed from the Khleang/ Baphuon dynasty and is a "masterpiece of Preah Vihear." The 3rd pillar is the largest and located between two large rooms. To reach the temple, you must go through two consecutive yards.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site

Preah Vihear temple was opened for a short time to the public in 1982. In the following year, the temple was occupied by the Khmer Rouge. After that, Preah Vihear temple was reopened in late 1998 and Cambodia finished the construction in 2003 after a long period of time. In 2007, Cambodia requested the recognition of the Cultural Heritage of Preah Vihear Temple but was rejected by UNESCO. The reason is that there were differences between Thailand, and Thailand also opposed this proposal. However, one year later, supported by the Thai Foreign Ministry, on June 7, 2008, the World Heritage Committee meeting in Canada recognized the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. This is the 3rd World Heritage Site of Cambodia, two previously recognized heritage sites are the Angkor Wat in 1992 and the Royal Dance in 2003.

Let's learn about Preah Vihear - one of the most famous temples in Cambodia

After reading this article, we ensure that you have basic knowledge about the popular Preah Vihear temple. To explore and have the real experience, why not visit Preah Vihear temple? Contact us for more details about Preah Vihear and Cambodia tours. Share this article if it is useful for you. Have a nice trip!