Koh Ker

Koh Ker or Lingapura or Chok Gargyar are the ruins of an ancient city complex that includes 180 sacred monuments covering an area of 81 sq kilometers (31 sq mi) in Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia, built by the Khmer Empire in north Siem Reap and ancient Angkor. Only about two dozen monuments can be visited by tourists as they are mostly hidden in dense and remote forests.

Koh Ker is located between the Dangrek Mountains, Kulen Mountains and Mount Phnom Penh. The remote Koh Ker site has been the target of looting, Koh Ker statues can be found in museums and private collections. The pieces are entirely stolen goods.

Xvlor Koh Ker is ruins of Khmer Empire capital built by King Jayavarman IV

Xvlor.com Koh Ker is ruins of Khmer Empire capital built by King Jayavarman IV

The most important temple complex is Prasat Thom or Prang in linear design and not concentric like most Khmer temples. The seven-level pyramid as high as 36 meters (118 feet) may serve as a state temple in the reign of Jayavarman IV. Koh Ker marks the peak of sculpture development where various beautiful sculptures are carved.

Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer Empire in 928-944 AD under the reign of the kings Jayavarman IV and Harshavarman II. An ambitious development program includes a large water tank and about 40 temples built under the reign of Jayavarman IV. The Koh Ker area is relatively dry where a number of water tanks and canals were built in the 9th and 10th centuries to ensure water supply.

Jayavarman IV was previously a Koh Ker resident who explained why would rather stay on Koh Ker and not in Hariharalaya or in Angkor like previous kings. Some historians say Jayavarman IV is a usurper of power, but the majority of them say ascend the throne for marrying a half-brother of King Yasovarman I (889-900).

In a short time Jayavarman IV ruled at Koh Ker launched an ambitious program. About 40 temples, pyramids and water reservoirs were built. Harshavarman II (941-944) as another son of Jayavarman IV seized the throne, but after three years died and his successor returned to the Roluos Palace in Hariharalaya.

The city center is in the northeast corner of the baray (water tank) and at least 10,000 residents live there during the reign of Jayavarman IV. Koh Ker uses laterite, sandstone and bricks of excellent quality excavated in large quantities in the Koh Ker area. After more than a millennium the brick shrines in Koh Ker are in much better shape than laterit ones.

Rahal is a large baray has a length of 1200 meters, width 560 meters and has three dams covered laterite ladder. Trapeang Andong Preng is a pond-shaped basin with a length of 40 meters and laterite on all sides. During the rainy season the water has a depth of 7 meters. Trapeang Andong Preng may be the royal pool, because near the place is the king's wooden palace.

www.xvlor.com Koh Ker is ruins of Khmer Empire capital built by King Jayavarman IV

Xvlor Koh Ker is ruins of Khmer Empire capital built by King Jayavarman IV

Location: Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Siem Reap International Airport in Siem Reap City, then use a taxi or a bus that can be arranged at the hotel to Koh Ker for 127 kilometers in 2 hours. Koh Ker is 72 kilometers (1.5 hours) to the west of Tbeng Meanchey City.

Advice: No publik transportation around so travelers have to use four wheel drive cars or motorbikes. From the city of Preah Vihear City using a motobike about 80 minutes each way. Two small restaurants provide staple food at the entrance of the temple complex near Prasat Thom.