Preah Ko of the Roluos Group of ruins is one of the earliest temples in Angkor. The name, which means "sacred ox" is a modern one bearing no root in history. It was here that the 500-year Khmer civilisation began. Preah Ko was built by Indravarman I at his capital city of Hariharalaya (the former name of Roluos). At the time it was built, Preah Ko was surrounded by a moat. There may also have been a royal palace nearby although no sign of it remains.
Preah Ko derives its modern name from the statues of bulls at the front of the central towers. During my first visit, the temple was undergoing restoration. By the time of my second visit four years later, most of the restoration had been completed.
Preah Ko, Angkor Roluos Group
Preah Ko consists of six towers on a single base. It used to be surrounded by two concentric enclosures, with a laterite causeway that links it to its east gopura. As you walked in the direction of the six towers, you notice that there are many more structures littering the ground. Most of these structures are in advanced stage of ruin, making the place feel more expansive than it really would have been.
If you take an aeriel view of Preah Ko, you will see that it is surrounded by an almost square most. Curiously, the monument is on the eastern part of the island, rather than centered squarely within the encircling moat.
Construction DetailsBuilt in the late 9th Century (879)
by King Indravarman I (reigned 877-889)
How to reach Preah KoPreah Ko is part of the Roluos Group of temples, which include Lolei and Bakong. They are all located on the east side of Siem Reap. As they are not as spectacular as the sights within Angkor proper, and are slightly out of the way, they receive correspondingly fewer tourists. If you are independently, get a tuk tuk driver who knows the way. From Siem Reap, take Route 6 for roughly 12.5km. Look for signpost on your left (southside). Turn in and go for another 1.2km. That takes you to Preah Ko, with Bakong further down the road! Just contact Mr Han (contact below) to see if he is available to take you.
Guardian lions in front of the prasats of Preah Ko.
One of the prasats of Preah Ko. The style is similar to those at Lolei.
Carvings on the lintel of one of the prasats at Preah Ko.
The steps leading to the prasat - even that of the false door - is ornamented with carvings of human faces.
A relatively well-preserved library at Preah Ko.