Phnom Bok (Siem Reap)

Phnom Bok is a striking hill in the East of Angkor. Here King Yasovarman I (reigned 889-900) built a sandstone temple.

The towers, orientated east, were dedicated to Shiva (centre), Vishnu (north), and Brahma (south). Four fire shrines are opposite of the towers' entrances.

We can visualize the king on an elephant and with pompous entourage ascending the hill and moving into the temple to prostrate himself in front of the idol of Shiva, the 'Lord of the Mountains'. Indeed, this summit gives a grand view over the world, i.e. Angkor.

"At 150 m west, are the remains of a laterite platform which carried an enormous monolithic sandstone linga, of 4 m in height and 1.20 m in diameter, now toppled and broken. The effort that must have been required to transport this unique piece - the weight of which has to exceed 10 tons - defies belief."
"The towers are badly ruined and without their upper tiers."
(Glaize, p.211 f.)

To re-enact the king's visit you have to climb over fallen down blocks of stone and you have to make detours. The towers are godforsaken, there seems to be no longer any reason to approach to them reverentially.

Appearance of the Goddesses

The temple forsaken by the male gods goddesses now have taken centre stage: At the outer walls of the towers, twenty-four sensual Devata are standing in niches which are framed by colonnettes, two makara in foliage form a vault.
Though partly unfinished and badly destroyed, the impressive and radiating traces of former glory now make the main attraction of the prasat. Even in the current state they can wrap you with their beauty.

See the remaining Devata in an album.


From Preah Dak village in the East Baray you follow the road to east, and pass Banteay Samré. After some 5 km, in Ta Aek village, you find a wat at the foot of the hill. Frome here a concrete stairway will lead you up, 20 minutes. You better climb up in the cool morning. No entrance fee, Angkor pass not required.


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