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Why Roluos Group is special ?
It has become known as the ‘Roluos Group’ due to its proximity to the modern town of Roluos. The ancient capital was named for Hari-Hara, a synthesis of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu. Though there was an existing settlement in the area before the rise of Angkor, Hariharalaya was established as a capital city by Jayavarman II and served as the Khmer capital for over 70 years under four successive kings. Setting the pattern for the next four centuries, the first great Khmer temples (Bakong, Preah Ko, Lolei) and baray (reservoir) were constructed at Hariharalaya. The last king at Hariharalaya, Yasovarman I, built the first major temple at Angkor, Phnom Bakheng, and moved the capital to the Bakheng area in 905 C.E. With the exception of a 20 year interruption in the 10th century, the capital would remain at Angkor until 1422 C.E., 12km southeast of Siem Reap.
What to explore at Roluos Group?
This group consists of Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei. Built during the reign of Indravarman I, the late ninth century, Roluos Group are the first temples "hard" built by the Khmers and represent the beginnings of classical architecture and art in Cambodia.
- The Preah Ko (Sacred Bull) derives its name from the three statues of sandstone located in the front of and facing the temple's central towers. These statues represent Nandi, the white bull who serves as the mount of Shiva. Preah Ko consists of six brick towers arranged in two rows of three towers each perched on a sandstone platform. This temple was built in honor of the king's ancestors.
- The Bakong in Roluos group is one of the first mountain temples of Khmer architecture. This temple-mountain represents Mount Meru, a sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology and center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. Bakong has a pyramid shape and is built entirely of sandstone. Bakong also houses a beautiful Buddhist monastery that is still active.
- The Lolei is a Hindu temple built by Yasovarman first. Lolei consists of four brick temple towers grouped together on a terrace. The king built Lolei for his ancestors: one for his grandfather, one for his grandmother, one for his father, and one for his mother.
How to get to Roluos Group?
Distance from Siem Reap to Bakong is around 13.5km (20 minutes by car, 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk) from Siem Reap. Take NR6 from Siem Reap town towards Phnom Penh, for about 12km, turn south for about 1km to Bakong. Both Lolei and Preah Ko are a few minutes drive from Bakong.
- All different and worth visiting
- Ancient centre, nice experience
- One of the oldest worth seeing
- Interesting group of three temples
- Good for history and architecture
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tips for you
This was one of our favorite temple complexes. Firstly, the drive through the countryside,was really pleasant. The villages near the temples seemed alive and vibrant, and the temples themselves were unusually beautiful. And they've been around since the 8th and 9th century, which certainly qualifies for really old. Since they are not near the other usual temples, you can have them more to yourself. Also, there are some newer Buddhist temples that are being used for schools and worship. Spoke at length with a young teacher, although they have some newly donated computers, they don't have reliable electricity. Back to pencils and papers! If you have the time, well worth the extra effort to visit