Pre Rup is an ancient Khmer temple in Angkor, Cambodia, just outside Siem Reap. It was built about 961 AD and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Not much is known about this temple, but the common belief is that this temple was used for funeral ceremonies. “Pre Rup” translates to “turn the body”, which coincides with ancient Khmer funerary practices of rotating a person’s ashes during the funeral ceremony.
When you first arrive at Pre Rup, this is what greets you. From a distance is just looks like a pile of disordered rubble, but as you get closer you can see the detail and precision that went into creating the walls and towers.
On all four sides of Pre Rep are series of aligned doorways. These are believed to have once held elaborately carved stone pyramid-style arches.
The use of this water cistern is debated by scholars. Some think it was used in funeral ceremonies while others think it was a base for a bronze statue. To the left you can see a typical setup for cloth paintings. Vendors that sell painted cloth are at each of the temples and they come up with some really fascinating pieces.
Pre Rup was built using laterite and brick. Laterite is a form of clay that is rich in iron and aluminum and has a rusty red hue because of the iron oxides in the soil. This clay is found primarily in wet tropical areas that have high temperatures, making it an abundant substance in Cambodia.
At the top of the central staircase you can see the remnants of two dragon statues.
Due to vandalism, most of the dragon statues at the Angkor era temples are missing their faces.
This structure is commonly called a ‘library’, but it is not believed that actual manuscripts or any type of written work was housed here. The true purpose is unknown, but it is believed that these types of structures were a form of religious shrine.
When we were walking around one of the galleries down there, I didn’t lean down far enough when going through a doorway. Cambodian people are pretty short now, but they must have been a lot shorted several thousand years ago. I smacked my head pretty good on the arch and had to sit down a minute. Troy thought it was the funniest thing in the world and took to miming me every time we went through a doorway for the rest of the day.
Each temple in Cambodia still functions as an operating temple. These buddhas and flowers are taken care of and prayed to daily by devout parishioners.
As we left Pre Rup, we were treated the a lovely view of one of the man-made lakes that used to feed into the moat that is no longer around Pre Rup.