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Angkor Archeological Park

Bakong​ Temple

Explore the heart of the Khmer ancestral empire

     The Bakong is the first real pyramidal shaped temple built in Cambodia to take the form which researchers have come to call “temple mountain”. Before the Bakong, this architectural type had not fully emerged, and even at Ak Yum, on the southern dike of the Western Baray, the form is not yet totally achieved.

History

     Bakong was Consecrated in 881 under the King Indravarman I. it is located in Roluos area, where was located Hariharayala, former capital during the 9th century.  It is the first major mountain temple built in the Angkor Site. Its size is considerable (900 x 700 meters). Particular attractions: the 3 enclosures, the pyramid, the ground level sanctuaries and the lintels.

     Before entering an enclosure measuring 400 by 300 meters which is surrounded by an exterior wall and a moat somewhat wider than it is deep, we find ourselves in a larger enclosure measuring 900 by 700 meters. In this outer enclosure, ruins and remains of at least 22 sanctuaries are found. These sanctuaries can perhaps be considered satellites of the central complex in that some of them, instead of facing east, turn to face the central pyramid.

     The naga (serpent) with seven heads found on the side of the entrance causeway appears here for the first time in the place which will be taken by future naga balustrades. The brick towers, located at the foot of the pyramid, still have their original wooden supporting beams despite the ravages of time.

     In the history of Khmer architecture, Bakong stands outs as the first five-tiered temple often referred to by researchers as “Mountain Temples”. King Indravarman I inaugurated it in 881, two years after the dedication of Preah Ko temple. During that time, it was a tradition where ancient rulers undertook to erect monuments to dedicate to their ancestors first before inaugurating other structures to attribute to themselves.

You are right now standing inside the 900 x 700 m enclosure of Bakong Temple that comprises 22 brick monuments the majority of which are covered by vegetation or hidden behind residential structures. At the front section there is a 400 x 300 m moat bordered by laterite embankment. The entrance causeway of the temple is flanked by two stand-alone Naga sculptures where the tails bear the marks of Garuda claws. It was the first time in Khmer architecture where Naga figures were sculpted as stand-alone masterpieces spanning along both sides of the causeway like this.

The central tower at the uppermost tier was built at a later time, in the 12th century. There is no record of how the original tower may have looked like, unfortunately.

Discover all the current projects happening in Bakong Temple

Info and tips for visitors

Date :

9th century

Style

Preah Ko

Opening hours

7:30 am to 5:30 pm Warning, for safety reasons, access to the top of the pyramid is not allowed to children under 12 years old and to pregnant women.

Reign

Indravarman I

Religion

Hindu

Tour

45 minutes

Click to take a tour of the photo gallery of Bakong Temple