Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Description : The remainders of a temple dating from the 7th century in Kirivong district in Takeo province at the beginning of the Mekong delta (near the Vietnamese town of Chau Doc) is certainly worth a visit to admire its design and ancient wall carvings. It was built on top of the 314 metres high Bayang mountain by king Pavavarman and it is 12 metres high. In front of the sanctuary there used to be a 2 metres high statue of Shiva. Eight small towers surrounded the sanctuary and at the end of the 11th century, a library was added.

Constructed with laterite, bricks and other stones, it is heavily damaged and pieces of the temple lay shattered over the ground. The roof has collapsed and the laterite rampart has been wrecked. It is a large brick temple with laterite outbuildings. Inside the tower is a second brick shrine and lots of bats overhead.

The Hindu statues were removed in times when Buddhism had taken roots in Cambodia. The temple is now inhabited by a Buddhist hermit and some old nuns who take care of the maintenance of the temple and surrounding gardens.

Legend: According to Cambodian legends, king Preah Bat Bayang Kaur lived on this mountain with his wife Neang Sak Kra'op, which means lady with the beautiful perfumed hair. When the king of Siam heard of the beauty of Neang Sak Kra'op, he borded a ship and sailed to the foot of the mountain. He invited the queen on board and entertained her with music and games. The ship sailed away and was far from the shore before any of the guests noticed.

Legend has that the king's son, prince Dey Khley went to search for his mother. During his search he met a very beautiful woman which he married. Little did he know that he had married his mother, but when he came home with his wife, the king recognised his former wife. The king sentenced his sons to build 12 ponds and decreed that his son could only be reincarnated when the ponds turned dry.

The prince is up to this day still waiting for reincarnation at the other side of life, as there is still water in the ponds.

Other attractions : In addition to the Bayang temple, there are four other temples on the Bayang mountain: the Preah Kor temple (in a ruinous state and almost consumed by vegetation), the North Kanang temple, the East Kanang temple and the Kampoul Kanang temple. All four temples were built for worship of Lord Brahman and contain a Silva lingam.

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