Photo: Largely ignored but worth a peak.

Preah Pithu

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Preah Pithu is a collection of five temples, huddled to the north of the northern Khleang, (more or less opposite Tep Pranam), which is largely ignored by most Angkor visitors.





However, if time allows, it is well worth a wander through, and you’ll have the advantage of having the place pretty much to yourself. The partly forested and monkeyed location with small moats and ponds dotted around makes for a great setting for some unusual little temples—even if their origin and purpose remains a mystery.

Cross the naga bridge. Photo taken in or around Preah Pithu, Angkor, Cambodia by Mark Ord.

Cross the naga bridge. Photo: Mark Ord

They clearly date from different periods yet were all built close together in a relatively small area close to the centre of Angkor Thom, so were obviously of great significance to the rulers who built them. Some of the later Pithu temples are among the last stone constructions to be found at Angkor and some were added to as late as the 16th century. Many are now in a fairly ruinous state though they contain interesting carvings—lots of which are just lying around on the ground.

The earliest seems to be Temple Y—situated on a small hill—which is in the style of Angkor Wat so provisionally dated to the reign of Suryavarman II, though no inscriptions have been found at any of this group. Several interesting lintels representing scenes from Hindu mythology survive.

Temple U appears to date to the same period, with typical Angkor Wat period subjects for its carving subjects, though it is significant that the Churning of the Sea of Milk depicted there runs from East to West rather than North to South—a total Hindu faux pas which is difficult to imagine Suryavarman letting his workers get away with! The high and steep sandstone base for Temple U is also Angkor Wat style though it may well be a case of a later, unknown king copying his more glorious ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Preah Pithu
About 100m north of the Northern Khleang

Location map for Preah Pithu

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