Neak Pean, Siem-Reap

Quick Facts:

Constructed in the late half of the 12th century by king Jayavarman VII, Prasat Neak Pean is an ancient temple in the Bayon art style, dedicated to Buddhist. The difference between Neak Pean and other temples in the great architectural complex Angkor isits unique position: in the middle of artificial lake 'Jaya Tadaka' which has been drained currently. Prasat Neak Pean likes a gentle lotus blooming between lakes and recalls a luxurious and dreamy beauty of the past. It is also called as Rajasri, meaning 'coiled serpents' because there are two sculptures of snakes (Nāga)encircling, twisting together and entwining the base of temple.

Neak Pean temple was built as a simple miniature model symbolizing an aspect of the Buddhist cosmology, surrounded by a square central tank(70 meters, 230 feet each side) and four smaller ponds lying on the axis. This unique design makes the temple as a giant lotus floating in the lake. The centraltank is believed to be a duplicate of Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas which located at the top of the universe. Meanwhile,four ponds represent the balance of four elements: Water, Earth, Fire and Windaccording to Hindu beliefs,some other suggestions said that they are symbol of four great rivers of the earth. Neak Pean was initially one of many hospitals of Jayavarman VII. Untill now, the locals have believed that these pondshave miraculous healing effects. Stepping into the reservoir can balance the key elements in the body, so disease will be repelled. The central area is dedicated to Bodhisattva with a statue of stone horse, describing the image of Avalokitesvara turning into a horse, as a symbol of saving people from drowning.

The rainy seasonis a great time for visitors to Prasat Neak Pean because the rising water level in ponds will create a romantic and gorgeous landscape: charming lotus is blooming in the middle of heaven. Neak Pean really strongly impress for visitors right since the first time to here. You will not be able to take your eyes off the graceful contours and exquisite carvings. Neak Pean is an interesting attraction that you should not miss in your tour to Siem Reap.

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