Saturday Jun 22, 2024

Prasat Suor Prat- Cambodia

Address

Prasat Suor Prat- Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Diety

Buddha

Introduction

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of twelve temple towers spanning north to south lining the eastern side of a royal square in Angkor Thom, dedicated to Buddha, near the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temple towers are made from rugged laterite and sandstone. Their function remains unknown. The current tower’s name in Khmer means “The towers of the tightrope dancers,” a romantic idea derived from the local belief that they were used to support a high wire stretched between them for acrobatics during royal festivals. This belief, however, is irrelevant. Zhou Daguan describes in his records that the towers are used to settle disputes among Angkorian people. The temple was possibly built during the reign of Indravarman II.

Puranic Significance

Another legend has it, that similar to a Buddhist Jataka tale; a progress imprisoned twelve young wives of the king in the twelve towers. This is the origin of the alternative name “Prasat Neang Pi Dandap”, meaning “Towers of the twelve young women”. Ten of the twelve Prasats are aligned on a north-south axis. The group of twelve towers is symmetrically divided by the so-called “Victory Alley”, now part of the Small Circuit road that begins at the Royal Square and leads eastwards, crossing the Victory Gate. Two more towers not on the same line as the others flank the victory road a little bit further to the east. Behind them there are the North and South Khleangs, much older structures. All twelve towers are almost identical. They are built of laterite, with bays, frames and lintels made of sandstone. They are undecorated. Only few stone pediments show carvings, they depict Nagas and hermits. The architectural style of the towers is quite unique, as they have windows with balusters on three sides, instead of the common false doors, and two levels in the interior. Each upper level has a cylindrical vault with two frontons. As with many monuments in Angkor Thom, the construction of Prasat Suor Prat may have been begun under Jayavarman VII, the city founder, and finalized later on in the first half of the 13th century under his successor Indravarman II. But strikingly, the twelve towers do not display Bayon-style characteristics. It has been claimed both that they are pre-Bayon and that they are post-Bayon. Thus neither the function nor the date of Prasat Suor Prat is known.

Century/Period/Age

1000 Years old

Managed By

UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Nearest Bus Station

Prasat Suor Prat

Nearest Railway Station

Sisophon Station

Nearest Airport

Siem Reap

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