East Baray

March 1, 2009

in Angkor Temples

Temple Name: East Baray
Notable Features: The mammoth baray dikes. The temple East Mebon.
Getting There: Located due east of Angkor Thom

The Mammoth Baray of Yasovarman I

King Yasovarman I constructed the East Baray, a mammoth man-made lake, in the 10th century. The function of this and other barays has been the focus of ongoing historical debate. Some theories suggest that the Angkor barays were used for irrigation, while other theories suggest that they served a purely aesthetic and symbolic purpose.

The size of the East Baray is enormous (1.7 km by 7.8 km). Its dikes alone are made up of over 8 million cubic meters of earthen material. Today, the baray holds no water, consisting primarily of dry scrubland and a few rice paddies.

From within the baray’s dikes, it is difficult to believe that East Baray was once a brimming water reservoir. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to appreciate the baray’s shape from ground level. From an airplane or from satellite images, on the other hand, a massive earthen rectangle is delineable in the Cambodian countryside. In its day, the East Baray would’ve looked more like a small sea than a man-made lake.

In the middle of the East Baray is East Mebon, a large pyramid-style temple. East Mebon represents Mount Meru, the location of Hindu heaven. Visitors enjoy imagining East Mebon as the island that it once was. Now, East Mebon sits defunct atop the dry bed of the East Baray.

Today, the Preah Dak village calls the bed of the East Baray home. They farm rice on the fertile soil of the bed of the baray.

{ 1 trackback }

Ten Eyes : Five Countries | Fuel Your Photography
06.25.10 at 8:00 am

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: