Photo: Blending into nature.

Preah Palilay

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Preah Palilay is believed to take its name from Parilyyaka, a forest that features in the stories of Buddha.

This theory is supported by the range of Buddhist carvings at the site, including one of Buddha calming an enraged elephant and another depicting the offering of forest animals like monkeys, elephants and birds.

Whatever you do don’t lean on it. Photo taken in or around Preah Palilay, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Whatever you do don’t lean on it. Photo: Caroline Major

Thought to date back to the reign of Jayavarman VII, Preah Palilay remains a bit of a mystery. With its wealth of Buddhist iconography, it’s considered highly unusual that the site survived the period that followed the death of Jayavarman VII. Instigated by his Hindu successor, Jayavarman VIII, a programme of sanctioned vandalism saw the destruction of many Buddhist icons throughout Angkor, yet Preah Palilay remained largely untouched.

With its unusual (and wobbly looking!) chimney-like tower and surrounded by towering trees Preah Palilay is worth stopping by, even if for just a quick wander around the site. It is nearly always devoid of other visitors, making for a pleasant spot to wander through either before or after Terrace of the Leper King and Tep Pranam, which sits just a short walk away to the south. There is a Buddhist monastery only a few metres away from the site.

Preah Palilay
About 200m to the northwest of Tep Pranam

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Location map for Preah Palilay

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