DISCOVER CAMBODIA – YOUR GUIDE TO PRE RUP

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Pre Rup

Pre Rup (Khmer: ប្រាសាទប្រែរូប) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built as the state temple ofKhmer king Rajendravarman and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, lateriteand sandstone construction.

The temple’s name is a comparatively modern one meaning “turn the body”. This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.

Pre Rup was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and it is probably located on a former shivaiteashram, built by Yasovarman I in the previous century. Perhaps it was standing at the centre of a new capital city built by Rajendravarman, with the southern dike of East Baray as northern city limit, but nothing of the dwellings survived and this “eastern city hypothesis” by Philippe Stern was never confirmed by archeological discoveries.

Stepped pyramid representing Mount Meru

pre-rup-temple-angkor-cambodiaIts architectural style is very similar to that of the earlier East Mebon, the major difference being the stepped pyramid of the Pre Rup that is missing in the East Mebon temple. The laterite and brick structure represents the five mountain peaks of the sacred mountain Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu mythology.

An inscription in the temple mentions that the five prangs were dedicated to Shiva (central tower and one of the surrounding towers), Vishnu, Parvati (the consort of Shiva) and Lakshmi (the consort of Vishnu).

The temple used to be surrounded by moats. There are two enclosures, each with a gopura entrance gate at the center of each side. Between the outer and inner enclosure were long halls of which not much remains today. They were a predecessor of the galleries seen in later temples.

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