Situated 40 km to the east of the main temples complex at Angkor, on the old royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay, Beng Mealea or Bung Mealea is an ancient monument bearing the imprint of time and recalling about a glorious Angkor Wat in the past.
In spite of smaller in size, the architecture of Beng Mealea is identical to Angko Wat temple with sandstone as the main material. Following the ancient documents and inscriptions placed in the temple, Beng Mealea temple is a sacred mausoleum where buried The King Suryavarman II as well as all the precious treasures of kingdom. Because of constant warfare, Beng Mealea temple was forgotten in wild forest until 1954 when the French scientists discovered it. In 2003, the government created a trail leading to the Beng Mealea and this temple has officially been brought to light and opened to the public.
The journey to Beng Mealea will be a really exciting discovery about a fraction of the history, architecture and culture of the mighty Angko dynasty. Belongs to the Angkor relic, almost the inside of Beng Mealea was collapsed over time. The remainder was mostly buried under thick vegetation and not largely restored. Moss on the walls and big shade trees in weird shapes surrounding create an ancient, separated and quiet space, sometimes only birdsong echoing on the branches. Sidewalks leading to the shrine are cluttered with piles of stone rubble and supported by multiple big columns. When you step into the temple, the desolate landscape becomes clearer. Four libraries and the main temple are in ruins with rocks collapsed and clutter everywhere but they make the deserted and ancient beauty for this site. All treasures and precious reliefs were dug and stolen, only the king Suryavarman II's coffin without his corpse lying on the ground. One theory assumes that after the king died, his body was cremated and worshiped in the Angkor Wat Temple.
You will surely be amazed to witness part of glorious Angkor Wat Empire neglected for a long time. The time can destroy architectural works, but cannot overshadow their precious cultural and historical values.