Photo: What an approach.


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The highlight of the Roluos group of temples, those who come to Bakong are rewarded with sweeping views from a stunning temple complex surrounded by a peaceful moat.

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Before its reconstruction little remained of Bakong aside from a pile of rubble atop a small hill—the entire central sanctuary, which today stands tall, was collapsed. Initial clearing work didn’t commence until 1936 and the eventual reconstruction under the direction of Maurice Glaize (the conservator of Angkor from 1937 to 1945) took around seven years to complete.

View from the top. Photo taken in or around Bakong, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

View from the top. Photo: Caroline Major

Consecrated in 881 AD during the reign of King Indravarman I, the construction of the Bakong is believed to have been initiated by Indravarman’s predecessor, Jayavarman III and became the state temple of Hariharalaya (near modern-day Roulos). The layout of the site closely follows the principles of modelling Mount Meru with the moat surrounding the inner sanctum of five levels, with eight small brick temples surrounding a tiered tower whose spire resembles the turreted, curved points of Angkor Wat. From the apex of the site, the model plan is quite obvious. The central sanctuary is believed to have been re-built in the 12th century.

Potted plants and flowering bushes line the path that leads over the moat and into the temple complex. The grounds within the moat include a collection of smaller buildings in variable states of repair and the view from the northeast corner takes in the whole complex pretty well. Allow time to take in the eight towers at ground level before climbing to the top—their detailed lintels are particularly noteworthy.

Pause for peace and calm. Photo taken in or around Bakong, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Pause for peace and calm. Photo: Caroline Major

When you climb each of the five levels, walk all the way around before continuing up to the next level. Note the little elephants on each corner; even the harness details are still visible on some. On the fourth level, be sure to walk around to the south side where a fine fragment of bas relief remains, illustrating apsaras fighting a ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Roluos Group

Location map for Bakong

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