Temple Name: Preah Palilay
Notable Features: Chimney-shaped tower.
Getting There: Take the pathway behind Tep Pranam northwest for 150 meters. Preah Palilay is located inside Angkor Thom.
The Chimney of the Khmer
Preah Palilay is a Buddhist monument built sometime in the 12th century. According to Khmer lore, the name Preah Palilay is an adaptation of the name “Parilyyaka”, which is the forest where Buddha sought refuge after fleeing Kosambi.
The temple is located under the shade of fig and silk-cotton trees. It is in a state of advanced ruin, but charming nonetheless. Interestingly, Preah Palilay is also ornamented with Hindu imagery. The Khmer people were heavily influenced by the principles of both Buddhism and Hinduism.
The temple’s central tower is in poor shape, but its peculiar form is the object of innumerable photographs. Most visitors compare the shape of the central tower to a chimney.
The eastern gopura (gateway) displays some wonderfully carved bas-reliefs. Buddhist imagery adorns the eastern gopura, giving travelers a sense of the Khmer people’s deep attachment to the spiritual self.
Preah Palilay can be appreciated at any time of the day. The shade of the silk-cotton trees makes for an extremely pleasant temple experience. Since Preah Palilay is not as touristed as some of the surrounding temple structures, it is a wonderful place to capture the natural essence of the Cambodian jungle. Its peculiar central tower and well-preserved Buddhist carvings are also worth the visit.