Angkor Archeological Park

Beng Mealea

Explore the heart of the Khmer ancestral empire

     Boeng Melea is a largest temple built in the middle of the 12th century following a layout similar to Angkor Wat. Located 60 kilometers northeast of the town of Siem Reap and enveloped in luxuriant jungle vegetation, it was recently re-opened to visitors. Built of blue sandstone, this powerful temple is for some parts in chaotic state with collapsed towers and galleries but for that it is very romantic.

History

     Built in the 12th century, the layout and style of Beng Mealea is very similar to Angkor Vat. Its current state, however, is dominated by the jungle: Trees have grown out of towers and vines entangle columns. Lintels and other building blocks lay around in a tumble and require visitors to climb up and down as they approach the completely collapsed central tower. This is how the early expeditions must have found the temples of Angkor…

There is a wooden walkway towards the center of the temple. On the little circuit, a couple of beautiful carvings narrate scenes from the Ramayana (Sita in the fire to test her innocence) and the Churning of the Sea of Milk (gods and demons tugging on the snake, which is wrapped around the mountain, which in turn is supported by the turtle, an incarnation of Vishnu).

To explore the rest of the complex requires climbing up and down many piles of sandstone blocks. Enclosing the vast area of Beng Mealea is a moat, now partially dried up and used by water buffaloes, women washing clothes and other aspects of village life.

The long drive, at least two hours from Siemreap, and the fact that Beng Mealea is not included in the Angkor entrance ticket may be the reason that this place sees few people. The area has been demined and basic visitors’ facilities are in the process of being built.

Discover all the current projects happening in Beng Mealea Temple

Info and tips for visitor

Date :

12th century

Style

Angkor Wat

Opening hours

7:00 am to 5:30 pm

Reign

Suryavarman II

Religion

Hindu

Tour

Plan on a 1-day trip (60km from Siem Reap).

Click to take a tour of the photo gallery of Beng Mealea Temple