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Preah Khan

Angkor, Cambodia

Temple of the Sacred Sword

Surrounded by sprawling jungle, the 12th century temple of Preah  han exemplifies the grandeur and mystery of Angkor's lesser-visited monuments. Originally named Nagara Jayasri, this huge complex was built under King Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his father. Its name meaning "sacred sword," Preah Khan may have served as both a Buddhist monastery and Hindu temple. In its heyday, upwards of 100,000 officials and servants may have lived in this sprawling complex. Stone walkways lined by crumbling columns meander through weeping figs and strangler figs that weave amongst the rubble and offset the carved stone faces of  Lokeshvara. According to local lore, the temple contained golden statues and jewels, prompting many fruitless treasure hunts over the centuries by looters seeking its mythical riches.

Today, nature reclaims Preah Khan stone by stone, adding to its allure and otherworldly atmosphere. Lichen covers walls with etchings  inting at lost decoration. Wandering this labyrinth conjures a sense of discovery, stumbling upon forgotten shrines, weathered inscriptions and the ever-present faces of Buddhist bodhisattvas peering through the foliage. The size and remoteness of magical Preah Khan transports visitors to Angkor's past glory. It is also downright fun to explore room after room, imaging yourself as an explorer rediscovering it after years of neglect.


Use the interactive map to also discover nearby treasures.



Situated within the Angkor Archaeological Park, north of Angkor Thom, in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Originally constructed in late 12th century during reign of Jayavarman VII


Served as both a Buddhist monastery and Hindu temple, dedicated to the king's father. Possibly also functioned as a sacred city.


Partially consumed by jungle foliage, with many structures collapsed yet  retaining atmospheric ruins that cover a wide area, attracting fewer  tourists than more famous temples.


Preah Khan

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Temple of the Sacred Sword


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