PHNOM PENH: Director-General of the National Authority of Preah Vihear, Kong Puthikar, confirmed to EAC News that a Cambodian delegation is attending the 45th annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia to promote the inclusion Koh Ker Temple on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kong Puthikar said he is hoping to gain international attention for the temple’s qualifications as a World Heritage Site, whose application was submitted in 2021. "We are pushing for support for the registration of Koh Ker temple from our international friends, and we hope for good results in the coming days," he said.
He explained the importance of including Koh Ker Temple on the list, saying it would promote the site’s conservation and development for the sake of future generations to have their cultural heritage recognized globally. He added that making the temple the fourth World Heritage Site in Cambodia would also attract more foreign visitors to Koh Ker and surrounding temples.
The site has been on the Tentative List since 1992, which is a prerequisite for nomination. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has been submitting nomination documents for the Koh Ker Temple to UNESCO since January 2021.
The temple covers an area of more than 8,700 hectares in Preah Vihear’s Kulen district. The structure is about 35 meters high, divided into seven tiered levels, including the Great Stupa facing the capital of Angkor to the west. Each level is five meters high and has a two meter wide terrace. Atop the temple are many large Garuda statues, showing the eagle-like Hindu deities performing rituals.
Koh Ker temple was built during the reign of Jayavarman IV in the 10th century during the Angkorian period and dedicated to a Hindu deity named Tribhuvanesvara, an iteration of Shiva. Within the entire temple complex are 127 temples and religious buildings, of which 56 temples have maintained their structure. Unfortunately, only about two dozen monuments can be visited by tourists as the area is not completely demined.