Templeswith large ponds
Angkor temples were always built with symbolism in mind.Case in point:the temples that were built in the middle of the barays (reservoirs).What’s so symbolic about the barays, anyway? Well, as legendshave it, Mt Meru, the residence of god Shiva, is located in the middleof a huge lake.All of the Ankor kings considered themselves Devaraja (GodKing), and so they built residences and temples to reflect their owngod-like qualities. In this case, the reservoir represents the lake,and the temple in the middle (always in a shape of a mountain or apyramid) as Mt. Meru. When that was done, they became more ‘legitimate’ god-kings,on par with Shiva.Here are some of the temples that were built in the middle ofman made lakes.
Eastern Mebon and Eastern Baray
At one time, the Eastern Mebon was accessible only byboat, but the baray long since completely dried up. You can now walk on dry land to the temple.
Eastern Mebon, sitting on a drybaray.
Photo by E. Molina
Lolei and Lolei Baray (Indratataka)
The baray at Lolei’s has also dried up, leaving thetemple accessible by foot. What was once a baray is now rice fields.
Photo by Vanina W.
Neak Pean and the Northern Baray
A temple in the middle of the Northern Baray. Althoughthe large baray has dried up, the temple and the two coiling nagastatues stand on a circular ‘island’ right in the middle of the pool. The pool still gets filled with water in the rainyseason.
Neak Pean when the pond is empty.
Photo by E. Molina
Western Mebon and Western Baray
A temple in the middle of the Western Baray. Currentlyin bad condition, but Cambodians still go to this temple to giveofferings on special days. This temple is accessible by a short boatride since the baray still holds a huge amount of water. Backto Top
How To Get To These Baray Temples?
All of these temples are accessible by the normaltransportation modes, be it tuktuk, moto, or car. Eastern Mebon and Neak Pean are located near the Angkor Thomarea, so you can just stop for a visit when you’re there. Western Baray is located on the opposite side of EasternMebon, but it’s not far at all, and is easily accessible by tuktuk andmoto. Lolei is the farthest one, and it is easily visited when youvisit the Rolous group temples. Clickhere to read more about temple transportation choices.