Notable Features: More than 2000 richly ornamented Apsara carvings. Gorgeous sunrise over the northern reflection pond. Getting There: Angkor Wat, Cambodia is located about 5.5 km north of Siem Reap. It is impossible to miss, for it is the largest monument in Angkor. Any tuk tuk driver or tour guide will know how to get […]
Temple Name: Preah Pithu
Notable Features: Obscure pyramid-style ruins in advanced disrepair.
Getting There: Preah Pithu is located on the right side of the road, just east of the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants in Angkor Thom.
Five Obscure Temples in the Jungle
Preah Pithu is a group of five small temples, all of which are in an advanced state of ruin. The temples of Preah Pithu have been assigned the following descriptors: T, U, V, X, and Y. Even though these temples compose a single complex, archeologists believe that the temples were designed by different people and constructed in different times. A single moat that surrounds temples T and U suggests that these two temples may’ve been constructed simultaneously.
Temples T, U, V, and Y are dedicated to the deities of Hinduism. Temple X, however, is devoted to the principles of Buddhism. Even though the temples are in poor shape, there are some well-preserved carvings located throughout.
The temples of Preah Pithu are hidden in the Cambodian Jungle. Tourists seldom explore Preah Pithu, which makes the area a particularly nice escape from the crowded grounds of nearby temples. Also, there is a pleasant jungle area behind the group that makes for a nice shaded picnic.
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.