The Ruins of Pre Rup Temple

The Angkor Archaeological Park is home to some of the world’s most iconic temples. While most people are aware of the main Angkor Wat temple complex, there are numerous other temples that showcase the glory days of the ancient Angkor Empire. One such is Pre Rup temple.

The Pre Rup temple was built in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the most revered Hindu deities. The man in charge of commissioning the temple’s construction was the Angkor ruler King Rajendravarman II in the 10th century. This mountain temple was built as the state temple during the rule of him and it is situated south of East Baray, an iconic water reservoir in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Over the course of this webpage, we will discuss the Pre Rup temple in detail and delve deep into the meaning behind the temple and its architectural highlights. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Meaning behind the Pre Rup Temple

Pre Rup Temple
Pre Rup Temple
The name of the temple, which is in the Khmer language, translates to “turn the body” in English. The meaning has led to the belief that the temple was primarily used as a site for performing funeral rites.

Cambodians believe that in the days of the Angkor Empire, the dead bodies were rotated as per the then-prevalent rituals in different directions.

The Architecture of the Pre Rup Temple

The architecture of this ancient temple has long fascinated archaeologists, conservators, and historians. When the temples in and around Angkor came into prominence again due to word spread by explorers in the 20th century, archaeologists came and saw that the temple was mostly covered in soil and wild bush overgrowth.

Archaeologists discovered that time had taken its toll on some of the architectural elements of the temple. For example, the moats that used to surround the temple are all but gone and the same can be said about the long halls that were present between the inner and outer enclosures. Brick, laterite, and sandstone were the three primary materials that were used to bring this temple to life.

Slowly and steadily, conservators restored the temple to learn more about its architecture and what they learned was nothing short of stunning. In many ways, the Pre Rup Temple can be said to be the precursor to the main Angkor Wat temple, as there are several architectural similarities between the two temples.

Read More: Angkor Wat Architecture


Five Towers

The temple features five towers, which symbolize the five towering peaks of Mount Meru, a mountain revered by Hindus for being the abode of Hindu deities like Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. The towers of the Pre Rup Temple offer visitors a feast to their eyes on near the entrance on the eastern side. Even though only five towers can be seen today, archaeologists believe that originally there were six, as the missing tower has a base.

Pre Rup Temple Cambodia
Five Towers of Ta Keo Temple

Incredible Senery in Partciluar at Sunset

The temple transforms into a visual spectacle particularly during the early morning hours and the hours of late evening. As the Angkor Archaeological Park opens for visitors from 9:00 in the morning, most tourists visiting the ruins of Angkor choose to spend the sunset here, which makes for a quite surreal experience.

Sanctuary Room with Mythological Vibe

The sanctuary room of the central tower features some exquisite stonework depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. Two of the most prominent depictions are Lord Vishnu on his mount, the mythological bird called Garuda, and Indra on Airavata, an elephant. Two Buddha images can also be found here, which suggests that the temple may have been in use even after Buddhism became the region’s predominant religion.

Inner Enclosure

The inner enclosure features two libraries and also a three-tiered pyramid, the second level of which features twelve sanctuaries that all contained Shiva’s representation, a linga. Lion statues guard the stairways that lead visitors to the platform with the five main towers of the Pre Rup temple.

Best Time to Visit the Pre Rup Temple

Tourists can visit the temple at any time of the year. However, the three main seasons of Cambodia offer different settings. While the winter months from November to February are generally considered to be the best time to visit the temple, they tend to be crowded.

The summer and monsoon months are considered off-season in Cambodia, and this time is ideal to visit if you are short on cash and want your Cambodia experience to be peaceful, free of congestion and crowds. However, summers can be incredibly hot and humid, so it’s best to keep yourself hydrated at all times. Monsoons feature regular rains, which might make the roads muddy. Keep necessary rain gear with you to bear with the onslaught of daily rains.

How to Reach the Pre Rup Temple?

Like all other temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park, Pre Rup too has to be accessed from the city of Siem Reap. From the Siem Reap International Airport, the temple is situated at a distance of 15 km (9.3 miles). There are several ways you can access the temple from Siem Reap:

•  Tuk-tuks: You can hire tuk-tuks from Siem Reap to take you to the Pre Rup temple and other major Angkor temples in the range of $15-25.
•  Taxis: Hiring a taxi costs more than hiring tuk-tuks, and you can expect to shell out around $25-50 for a tour of the Angkor temples.
•  Bicycle Rentals: You can also hire bicycles from Siem Reap, with daily rental charges in the range of $1-5 depending on the type of bicycle you hire.

It is recommended to negotiate your taxi and tuk-tuk fare before you get up on the vehicle. There have been many instances of tourists getting ripped off simply because they did not negotiate the fare in advance.

The Entry Fee of the Pre Rup Temple

To enter the Pre Rup temple premises, you need to buy an entrance pass for accessing the Angkor Archaeological Park. There are three passes depending on the number of days you want to visit the site:

•  One-day pass: $37
•  Three-day pass: $62
•  Seven-day pass: $72

The Angkor Archaeological Park stays open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Pre Rup and the other temples offer visitors the opportunities to discover an ancient kingdom that left its prominent footsteps in Cambodia’s history.


See Also:

Thommanon Temple - Hindu Temple