Posted by: travelrat | December 3, 2019

Beng Mealea

Beng Melea 2

Siem Riep: 10th November 2019.

Most visitors to Siem Riep make a bee-line for the world-famous temple at Angkor Wat. Our operators, Wendy Wu Tours believe, I think, in keeping the best for last; Angkor Wat could wait till tomorrow. Instead, we went to visit another temple; the ruined Beng Mealea.

This is located about 75 km. from Siem Riep, and 40 km, from Angkor Wat. Little is known about its history, but it’s believed it was a Hindu temple, built in the 11th or 12th Century. Some of the carvings suggest a Buddhist influence; I was particularly struck by the carved columns, which I thought suggested Buddhist prayer wheels.

The architectural style is so similar to Angkor Wat that some have suggested it was a ‘prototype’ for that temple, and may well have been come out of use shortly after the larger complex was completed.

It’s now completely abandoned, and largely unrestored, save for the wooden walkways that lead among the ruins. The temple is being taken over by the jungle, its structure being torn apart by trees and creepers. It’s still a sight to see, though; UNESCO thought it was important enough to add it to the World Heritage Site Tentative List in 1992.

Beng Mealea 3

 


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