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Preah Kahn Temple Under 2nd Phase of Reconstruction

SIEM REAP: Experts of APSARA Authority are in the process of repairing the temple building on the east side of Preah Khan Temple and its baray. The project began at the start of 2023 and is expected to be completed by the year’s end.

Chea Sarith, an archaeologist and project manager at the Preah Khan Temple site, said that the eastern portion of the Preah Khan Temple currently under repair is a square that measures about 15 meters on each side and includes a baray, or artificial body of water, which many believe was used for water storage and irrigation. Prior to the restoration, the team relied on old documents archeological excavations, photographs for reference on how to accurately repair the structure.

He said that the crew is repairing according to traditional techniques, which entails an immense amount of manpower and no power tools or machinery. Built-in the same phase as the nearby temples, the staircase is enclosed by a sandstone wall decorated with carvings of swans and the serpent god Naga. The eastern baray of the Preah Khan Temple is extremely dilapidated after time, neglect and the removal of much of its sandstone to be used elsewhere. Archaeologists have found that the use of ancient stones was abundant after the Angkorian period and their removal from the terrace caused the wall to completely collapse due to water leakage. The team has found evidence that the baray was used after the Angkorian period for water storage as well.

Chea Sarith hopes that the restoration will serve to show the role and connection between Preah Khan Temple, the North Baray and Neak Poan Temple while preserving the site in a way that shows its historical layers from construction to the modern day.

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