Lesser brick towers
Published: 4th February, 2017
One of Takeo’s lesser archaeological sites, but the twin brick towers of Neang Khmao are worth a stop if you’re already visiting the nearby Phnom Chisor.
The brick temples are set in a Buddhist monastery of more recent date, Wat Prasart Neang Khmao, and lie close to the start of the track connecting Highway 2 to Phnom Chisor, around 10 kilometres south of Phnom Tamao. The extensive wat is interesting and lively in its own right and is an important education centre for young monks, housing at any time up to 400 novices and teachers.
The two east-facing towers are situated on a raised platform next to the central viharn with an adjacent contemporary stupa marking the site of a now disappeared third tower. There’s very little remaining ornamentation and the northern tower’s carving has been almost entirely lost to erosion, but what has survived is of high standard and the southern tower’s lintel is both spectacular and in absolutely pristine condition—the more than 1,000 year old relief looks like it could have been carved yesterday.
There’s little else to go on but the lintel style is typical of the late ninth century and Rajendravarman’s reign. The colloquial name by the way means the Temple of the Black Maiden and though we have no idea why you may find one of the elder monks with sufficient language skills to enlighten you.
Address: In the grounds of Wat Prasart Neang Khmao, off Highway 2, approximately 10 kilometres south of Phnom Tamao.
Coordinates (for GPS): 104º47'9.26" E, 11º11'43.16" N
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Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.