Neak Pean

March 1, 2009

in Angkor Temples

Temple Name: Neak Pean
Notable Features: Carvings of lotus blossoms, gargoyles, and serpents.
Getting There: Neak Pean is located 2 km west of Ta Som, and approximately 2.5 km east of Preah Khan.

The Temple of Entwining Serpents

Under the kingship of Jayavarman VII, Neak Pean was erected sometime in the 12th century in the middle of a now dry water reservoir. This temple, consisting of a single prasat (tower) is one of the most unique sites in all of Angkor.

Neak Pean, meaning “entwining serpents”, owes its name to a statue of two nagas (mythical serpents) that wraps around the temple’s base. These two serpents represent the naga kings Nanda and Upananda.

Neak Pean is best viewed in the wet season. Pools of water surround the temple during these months, beautifully reflecting Neak Pean’s richly ornamented prasat. In the dry season, Neak Prean is not as photogenic, but it is more easily accessed on foot. Furthermore, in the dry months, animal and human headwater spouts can be seen below the waterline of the pools that are filled in the wet season.

Originally, Neak Pean was devoted to the principles of Buddhism. The pools of water that surrounded the temple were thought to have cleansing properties.

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