Roluos Temples in Siem Reap
Roluos is a village with a group of monuments anterior to those in Angkor. The Roluos Temple group is what has remained from the ancient Hariharalaya, which was the first significant capital during the Khmer Empire of the Angkorian era. The Sanskrit name Harihara-alaya means “Harihara-abode”. Harihara is a Hindu deity being half Shiva, half Vishnu.
Hariharalaya was established as a capital already by the empire founder Jayavarman II, but soon afterwards left by this king, who changed his residential town quite often. His successor Jayavarman III, of whom little is known, seems to have resided in Roluos in the area of Prei Monti, a rarely visited very early temple with three towers, now in ruins.
The even more isolated single temple tower (Prasat) called Trapeang Phong is the first Khmer monument decorated with female half-deities called Devatas, later on often ifentified with Apsaras. (Apsaras are a kind of Devatas usually depicted dancing or flying, the term “Devata” is more accurate for a sculptural reliefs of an upright standing semi-goddess.) Trapeang Pong may even be from the earlier period of Jayavarman II in the first half of the 9th century.
Preah Ko Temple
The center of the temple of Preah Ko is a group of six towers in two rows, built on a common terrace; it is enclosed by a first square wall of 60m each side. The second wall is 95m each side; it has the same entrances and encloses the library and annexes of mixed construction. The outer enclosure is 800m by 450m and doubtless a fence of stakes.
The three towers in the front row are for paternal ancestors with male guardians flanking the door ways. The three in the back row are for maternal ancestors. Those ancestors were named as Gods and goddesses and Çiva Lingas were installed, representing the paternal ancestors.
The Bakong Temple is a highly significant pre-Angkorian site; built in the 9th century by King Indravarman I. The Bakong Temple surrounded by a moat covers an area of over 800x 600 metres. The Bakong Temple has a five stepped pyramid with a lotus flower tower at its summit. It is of unusual construction for the time as it was built of sandstone over a laterite base. Most 9th Century temples were buklt of brick. The lotus flower tower was an addition built in the 12th Century in Angkor Wat style.
This small temple group was once the centre of an ancient reservoir named Indratataka. Consisting of four towers on a laterite base; these towers have scraps of the origial highly detailed Stucco as at Preah Ko. They were the last temples built before the Khmer capital was moved in 905 AD to Phnom Bakheng in what is now known as Angkor. Lolei Temple stands in a modern temple Pagoda to the north of Route 6. Of the three temple sites of the Roluos group; Lolei Temple is not so good condition; however structural renovation work has been going on for several years.
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