The Roluos Group lies south east of Angkor Wat and comprises of the three oldest temples during the 600-year Angkorian Period: Preah Ko, Bakong, Lolei. Roluos (known previously as Hariharayala) was established by King Jayavarman II as a capital of Khmer civilization and remained as the capital during the reign of his three successors. The three temples share similar architectural features – they are made up of square-shaped brick towers, and have gopuras (arched gateway) built as entrances to courtyards.
Preah Ko meaning ‘Sacred Bull’ was built in the late ninth century (879) and marks the first temple of the Roluos Group. It has six brick towers arranged in two rows; the first row of towers dedicated to the male predecessors of King Indravarman I whilst the second row of smaller towers behind are dedicated to the queen of each king.
the front row of the three dominant towers with guarded pairs of lions
(left) female devatas carved on the back row towers as dvarapalas (temple guardians); (right) inscriptions on the inner walls
one of the ’sacred bulls’ facing the temple, that gives the temple its name
Bakong is the first major Khmer temple-mountain built. The temple consists of a central 5-tier pyramid surrounded by eight brick towers.
view of Bakong from the eastern entrance
(left) the sanctuary tower at the top of the pyramid; (right) one of the brick towers viewed from the pyramid
a long hall in front of the base of the pyramid
Lolei was built on an island in the centre of the first reservoir used for irrigation. Two out of the four brick towers (very similar looking to those in Preah Ko) are partially ruined and it is believed that holy water poured over the linga (phallus) at the cross section of sandstone channels, flowed into these channels and was used for irrigation for the plains in the area.
the linga at the intersection of channels in four different directions
inscriptions carved in sandstone still in good form
remaining structure of a yoni (female organ symbol)
After Roluos Group, our first stop of the Outlying Adventure Tour organised by Villa Siem Reap, we head north towards our next stop, Kbal Spean.