ROLOUS GROUP HISTORY
ROLOUS GROUP: LO LEI, PREAH KO AND BAKONG TEMPLE (3DAYS ENTRANCE FEE INCLUSION)
ROLOUS is a Cambodian modern small town and an archeological site about 15 km east of Siem Reap along NH6. Once it was the seat of Hariharalaya first capital of Khmer Empire north of Tonle Sap (as the first capital in the strict sense of the term could have been Indrapura, identifiable with Banteay Prey Nokor). Among the “Roluos Group” of temples there are some of the earliest permanent structures built by Khmer. They mark the beginning of classical period of Khmer civilization, dating from the late 9th century. Some were totally built with bricks, others partially with laterite or sandstone (the first large angkorian temple built with sandstone was possibly Ta Keo) At present it is composed by three major temples:Bakong, Lolei, and Preah Ko, along with tiny Prasat Prei Monti. At both Bakong and Lolei there are contemporary Theravada buddhist monasteries.
LO LEI TEMPLE
LOLEI temple is the northernmost temple of the Rolous Group of three late 9th century Hindu temples at Angkor, Cambodia, the others members of which are Preah Ko and the Bakong. Lolei was the last of the three temples to be built as part of the city of Hariharalaya that once flourished at Roluos, and in 893 the Khmer King king Yasovarman I dedicated it to Shiva and to members of the royal family. The name “Lolei” is thought to be a modern corruption of the ancient name “Hariharalaya, which means “the city of Harihara.” Once an island temple, Lolei was located on an island slightly north of centre in the now dry Indratataka Baray, construction of which had nearly been completed under Yasovarman’s father and predecessor Indravarman I. Scholars believe that placing the temple on an island in the middle of a body of water served to identify it symbolically with Mount Meru, home of the gods, which in Hindu mythology is surrounded by the world oceans.
PREAH KO TEMPLE
PREAH KO (Khmer, The Sacred Bull) was the first temple to be built in the ancient and now defunct city of Hariharalaya (in the area that today is called Rolous), some 15 kilometers south-east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia. The temple was built under the Khmer King Indravarman I in 879 to honor members of the king’s family, whom it places in relation with the Hindu deity Shiva.
BAKONG is the first temple mountain of sandstone constructed by rulers of the Khmer empire at Ankor near modern Siem Reap in Cambodia. In the final decades of the 9th century AD, it served as the official state temple of King Indravaman I in the ancient city of Hariharalaya, located in an area that today is called Rolous. The structure of Bakong took shape of stepped pyramid, popularly identified as temple mountain of early Khmer temple architecture. The striking similarity of the Bakong and Borobudur temple in Java, going into architectural details such as the gateways and stairs to the upper terraces, suggests strongly that Borobudur was served as the prototype of Bakong. There must have been exchanges of travelers, if not mission, between Khmer kingdom and the Sailendras in Java. Transmitting to Cambodia not only ideas, but also technical and architectural details of Borobudur, including arched gateways in corbelling method.