If you want to see beautiful architectural sights and picturesque nature scenes that will take your breath away, then Cambodia’s Siem Reap is the place for you. One of the most popular cities renowned to the world is Siem Reap due to spectacularly preserved temples, bringing you a slice of beauty and culture of the previous Khmer Empire.
See the wonders of Siem Reap fully when you know the top five mind-blowing temples you need to visit, continue reading below.
Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple is one of the most beautiful temples located in Siem Reap and dedicated to the deity Prajñāpāramitā. This temple was completed in 1186 AD under the reign of previous King Jayavarman VII, where it was originally called the royal monastery or Rajavihara. Besides being a dedicated Buddhist monastery, it was also a university that once had more than 12,500 occupants—from high priests to monks to dancers.
Additionally, the Ta Prohm temple complements the Preah Khan temple. This is because King Jayavarman VII used his mother as a model for the deity while the Preah Khan temple used his father as a model for Lokesvara.
The temple itself is similar to other Khmer architectures wherein it’s flat and faces east. There is a sanctuary in the center that is enclosed by five walls. Depictions of Buddhist mythology on the walls of Ta Prohm temple remain up to this day although some have crumbled over time. However, the temple still stands tall to this day and it’s a sight you should never miss out on. The temple is open to visitors from 5 AM to 6 PM so whether you live in Cambodia or you’re a tourist, check out the Ta Prohm temple now!
Preah Khan Temple
The Preah Khan temple was built in 1191 AD under the reign of previous King Jayavarman VII to honor his late father. Its name in Khmer when translated means Royal Sword, taken from the Holy City of Victory or Nagara Jayasri. The temple is dedicated to Avalokiteśvara, the deity who represents all the compassion of the Buddhas.
Preah Khan has a moat surrounding the entire temple and a series of sculptures you can see on the way to the temple. Numerous carvings embedded on the walls of the temples are abundant as well, allowing you to glimpse the beauty of the temple back in its glory.
Since 1991, the World Monuments Fund has maintained the temple and you can visit it from 7:30 AM to 5 PM on most days except Sundays.
One of the temples in Cambodia dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva is Banteay Srei that was built and completed in 967. This is the only major temple located in Angkor that wasn’t built under the orders of a king since courtiers Yajnavaraha and Vishnukumara ordered it to be built. Additionally, Yajnavaraha was the grandson of the late King Harsavarman I and he served as counsellor to previous King Rajendravarman II.
The Banteay Srei is known as a citadel of beauty due to the intricate carvings of numerous devatas and others into the walls and statues. Additionally, the temple has two libraries, a sanctuary, and three enclosures to protect the temple.
If you want to visit Banteay Srei temple, it’s located close to the Angkor complex and about 30 kilometers close to the city center of Siem Reap. It’s open from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM so make sure to visit it!
One of the most distinctive temples in Siem Reap is Bayon temple due to the numerous depictions of serene smiling faces on its towers and statues. This temple was completed at the end of the 12th century under the reign of previous King Jayavarman VII. It’s dedicated to the deities Avalokiteśvara and Hevajra. However, it’s believed that the faces on the statues represent the Hindu God Brahma since they face various directions.
Bayon temple is located in Angkor Thom at 1.5 kilometres from the South and Northern gates. You can visit this temple from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM from Mondays to Sundays.
The most renowned temple in Cambodia is the Angkor Wat which was founded in the early 12th century under the reign of previous King Suryavarman II. It’s a Khmer architectural temple that stands tall as one of the best preserved and largest temples in the world. Additionally, for years it has become an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
Since 1992, Angkor Wat temple has become a UNESCO World Heritage site. This means more people around the world are coming to visit the beauty of this Khmer architecture.
Unlike other temples in Cambodia that’s oriented east, Angkor Wat faces west. It has a large moat surrounding the temple complex, allowing you to see the beautiful sun rise and set overlooking the temple. If you want to visit Angkor Wat, it opens from 5 AM to 6 PM so you can see the temple in the morning and at night. Do not miss out and see the magnificence of temples in Siem Reap now by visiting them all!