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Travel Guide > Asia > Cambodia > Angkor Archaeological Park > Sights & Attractions

Bakong

  
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A five-terraced pyramid in the mountain-temple style and the most impressive member of the Roluos Group.

Bakong represents the first temple mountain constructed of sandstone insetad of brick. In the final decades of the 9th century AD, it served as the official state temple of King Indravarman I in the ancient city of Hariharalaya. 

The site of Bakong measures 900 meters by 700 meters, and consists of three concentric encolsures separated by two moats, the main axis going from east to west.

 The outer enclosure has neither a wall nor gopuras and its boundary is the outer moat, today only partially visibile. The current access road from NH6 leads at the edge of the second enclosure. The inner moat delimits a 400 by 300 meters area, with remains of a laterite wall and four cruciform gopuras, and it is crossed by a wide earthen causeway, flanked by seven-headed nagas, such as a draft of naga bridge.  Between the two moats there are the remains of 22 satellite temples of brick. The innermost enclosure, bounded by a laterite wall, measures 160 meters by 120 meters and contains the central temple pyramid and eight brick temple towers, two on each side.

Bakong, the most impressive member of the Roluos Group of temples  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

A number of other smaller buildings are also located within the enclosure. Just outside of the eastern gopura there is a modern buddhist temple. The pyramid itself has five levels and its base is 65 by 67 meters. It was reconstructed by Maurice Glaize at the end of the 1930s according to methods of anastylosis. On the top there is a single tower that is much later in provenance, and the architectural style of which is not that of the 9th century foundations of Hariharalaya, but that of the 12th century temple city Angkor Wat.

Though the pyramid at one time must have been covered with bas relief carvings in stucco, today only fragments remain. A dramatic scene-fragment involving what appear to be asuras in battle gives a sense of the likely high quality of the carvings. Large stone statues of elephants are positioned as guardians at the corners of the three lower levels of the pyramid. Statues of lions guard the stairways.

Decorated entrance to Bakong, the Roluos Group  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Type of place: Monument/Building
Location: Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia







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