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Why Eastern Mebon is special ?
The Mebon is located at the centre of the East Baray and so originally only accessible by boat. All the characteristics of a temple mountain in brick and laterite but with a three meter high platform carrying five towers arranged in a quincunx rather than a central tiered pyramid. A large foundation stele describes the dedication to the king's parents. The east west axis of the temple aligns with the principal entry to the royal palace in Angkor Thom.
What to explore at Eastern Mebon?
At the center of each of the four sides just outside the outer enclosure are laterite landing platforms for boats. Contained by the outer enclosure wall is the first platform. On each of its corners is an elephant standing guard.
The inner enclosure that is about 75 meters wide contains the second platform, that also has a guarding elephant on each of its corners. In the corners of the inner enclosure are five laterite structures called libraries. At the entrance gates to the inner enclosure stand eight sanctuaries, in pairs of two. Each contained a linga in a different form. Its colonettes are sculpted in great detail.
The third level of the East Mebon is the square upper platform with the large central sanctuary surrounded by four smaller sanctuary towers on the corners. The platform is surrounded by a three meter high sandstone wall.
How to get to Eastern Mebon?
Distance from Siem Reap to Pre Rup temple is around 13km (20 minutes by car, 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk). Take Sivatha Road from Siem Reap town and continue until you reach the Angkor Wat Moat. Turn right, and continue past Srah Srang, turning right along the north edge of the reservoir, until you reach Pre Rup as the road turns north again. East Mebon is due north about 1km further along this road.
- Temple in the Sky
- Beautiful, interesting and impressive
- Pyramids and huge elephant statues
- One of the best preserved temples
- Breathtaking temple with amazing stone elephants
Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tips for you
The elephant statues were impressive but, unless you are on your way from Banteay Srei or Pre Rup, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit this temple.
This temple is one of the smaller ones and is renowned for its Elephant statues. They are quite impressive although the rest of the temple is just OK.
Elephants were used for heavy lifting of rocks during the construction of the temple. It is fitting that large stone sculptures of an elephant is on each corner of this temple. Only one of the elephants still has a tail. The rest have lost theirs. See photos attached.
East Mebon was constructed in the late 10th century by King Rajendravarman who dedicated the Temple to Shiva in honor of his parents; there are three levels that are topped by five towers. There are also records of activity at the Temple as early as 947AD. East Mebon is quite big and very easy to get around; there are amazing door carvings and some spectacular two meter high free standing stone elephants that were carved from a single block of stone. When you are standing at the top looking out over the countryside, just imagine that once this beautiful place was surrounded by an artificial lake so access was only by boat. East Mebon is also not a busy place, there were only 3 people there the day we visited.