East Mebon
Posted 22 January 2024

(Photos by: Apsara National Authority)

East Mebon: A Monumental Temple of the Ancient Reservoir

East Mebon, an architectural marvel of the 10th century, stands majestically in the heart of what was once the vast East Baray reservoir in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Built during the reign of King Rajendravarman in 952 AD, this temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and served as a tribute to the king's parents.

Constructed on an artificial island, East Mebon was originally accessible only by boat. Today, the reservoir has dried up, but the temple's grandeur remains undiminished. Built in the Pre-Rup style, it exhibits the sophisticated artistry and engineering skills of the Khmer Empire. The temple is a three-tiered pyramid with five towers — one at the center and four at the corners of the uppermost tier, symbolizing Mount Meru, the sacred mountain in Hindu mythology.

One of the most distinctive features of East Mebon is the presence of large stone elephants at the corners of the first and second tiers. These life-sized elephants, each carved from a single block of stone, are remarkably well-preserved and add a unique charm to the temple's architecture.

The sanctuary's intricate carvings and bas-reliefs are a testament to the artistic prowess of the Khmer civilization. They depict Hindu mythology, including scenes of Shiva, as well as inscriptions that offer insights into the history of the temple and its creators.

East Mebon's historical significance is amplified by its connection to the ancient Khmer hydraulic system, showcasing its advanced understanding of water management. The temple's serene and somewhat introspective atmosphere offers a unique experience for visitors, inviting contemplation of Cambodia's rich history and architectural heritage.

East Mebon is a must-visit for those intrigued by the ancient world's wonders. Its combination of historical significance, architectural beauty, and tranquil ambiance makes it an essential part of any journey through the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Major Sight Spots in East Mebon

Stone Elephants: Iconic sculptures at the corners of the temple tiers.

Central Sanctuary: The main tower with religious significance.

Carvings and Bas-reliefs: Intricate artwork depicting Hindu mythology.

Uppermost Tier: Offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Corner Towers: Architecturally significant structures on the upper tier.


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