Prasat Kravan – Vishnu Temple in Angkor, Cambodia

Prasat Kravan is worth a visit if you have taken the 3 day ticket to visit Angkor Temples Siem Reap. But including this in your itinerary of 1 day tour may take up some of the limited time. However I leave it to your judgement after reading this post and seeing the pics.

Prasat Kravan – Brief History

In 927AD Mahidharavarman constructed this set of temples. He was a high official in the court of King Harshavarman I. One can see several inscriptions mentioning this in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th tower of this set of temples. Mahidharavarman dedicated the central tower to Hindu God Lord Vishnu. This form of Lord Vishnu was known by the name Trailokyanatha.

While King Harshavarman was ruling in Angkor, his uncle established a rival capital in Koh Kher. His uncle established another temple Prasat Thom, dedicated to Lord Shiva in Koh Kher. Lord Shiva in Prasat Thom was called Tribhuvaneshwara. Both temples were built simultaneously. Names of people who worked in these temples are inscribed in the walls. The fine brick works here are the only known examples of their kind in Angkor area.

Prasat Kravan translates to Temple Cardamom (creeper of sweet smelling flower). The temple derived this name after the tree that stood there once.

Prasat Kravan Angkor

Central Tower Prasat Kravan

Central Tower Prasat Kravan with receding layers of ceiling.

Architecture of Prasat Kravan

This set of temples is very unimpressive from its exteriors but the neat manner they stood charmed me as we crossed it in full speed. We requested the tuk tuk driver to halt and take a U turn back to the temple. “Nobody goes there ma’am” was his reply. Prasat Kravan hardly has any crowd and that gives a full opportunity to take the tour at leisure.

The 5 temples stand on a lateritic platform, only the central tower has its ceiling intact. A French team helped restore this temple completely in 1960s. Some new bricks marked with initials CA (conservation Angkor) were used. No mortar was used in construction; instead a vegetable compound was used by the locals then. It is impressive to note that whatever remains are still standing strong for 10 centuries.

Lintel in Prasat Kravan Siem Reap

Lintel in south tower of Prasat Kravan Siem Reap

Octagonal pillar in Prasat Kravan Siem Reap

Fine designs carved on octagonal pillars of Prasat Kravan

The door frames have inscriptions. Sadly so much of these have worn off. The steps leading to the temple are very narrow and tourists hold on the frames during their movement. Unless care is taken the inscriptions will disappear fast. The lintels have got some touch up and have some impressive figures. Most noteworthy are the designs on the octagonal columns.

Bas Reliefs in the Interiors of Prasat Kravan

All the five temples are arranged in a single row, facing east. Of these only the northernmost tower and central tower has elaborate work in the interiors. The other 3 sanctuaries have bare interiors.

North Tower

This temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi consort of Lord Vishnu. She has devotees seated at her feet praying to her. The right wall too has an image of her. However in the left wall most part of her image is missing only her feet remains.

Bas relief in Prasat Kravan Siem Reap

Goddess Lakshmi in North Tower of Prasat Kravan in Angkor

Central Tower

Lord Vishnu is depicted here in 3 different positions. In the left wall Lord Vishnu is seated on Garuda his vaahan(vehicle), holding 4 attributes – Earth, conch, sudarshan chakra (discus) and baton. Most impressive is the central wall. He is shown standing flanked on all sides by figures of devotees. The right wall has Lord Vishnu in Vaman avatar. (Lord Vishnu takes 3 steps to span the universe and to ensure the Gods of possession of whole world.)

Bas relief in Prasat Kravan Siem Reap 2

Picture of interiors of Central tower of Prasat Kravan

The gap between 2 towers of Prasat Kravan in Angkor

Travel Tips to Prasat Kravan

  • Visit this temple in the morning. The rising sun rays illuminate the interiors magically and good photography is possible.
  • Tour time  is half an hour.
  • This is a must visit in 3 day tours and 7 day tours of Angkor Temples.

More pictures of Prasat Kravan in Angkor

Central Tower Prasat Kravan

Central Tower Prasat Kravan

Lion at entrance to Central Tower of Prasat Kravan in Angkor

Bas relief in Prasat Kravan Siem Reap

 

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30 Responses

  1. Wow, very beautiful old temple. The details are so intricate. Thank you for sharing your photos and tips!

  2. Ali May says:

    Wow, how amazing that these temples were created so intricately. I love the wall with the bricks shaped into the Goddess Lakshmi. Your advice for visiting first thing in the morning makes sense, not just for the light but also for having less crowds.

  3. Wonderful temple. Great to read. Awesome pics.

  4. magiceye says:

    Very impressive and interesting.

  5. Ami Bhat says:

    That Bas Relief is something else. It sure is a beautiful place.

  6. Wow! It’s a beautiful temple 🙂

  7. Miss Jose says:

    Always had Cambodia on my wish list..one of my friends visited the place last year and after seeing the picture, there has been a constant urge to make a trip there..but i had too many things on the personal front, and now relocated to Barcelona so cambodia should wait for a bit i guess… ur pictures are fabulous as always Indrani..

  8. Tara Nair says:

    Its been long time since I have been to such places. Good I see them through your lens, which consequently makes me yearn to go out and explore more. Thank you Indrani 😀

  9. Niranjan R says:

    Glad to know about this temple.

  10. such beautiful pictures… I love how you have clicked the details… Amazing post.

  11. Anete says:

    This isa great porst and good info! I am planning my trip to Cambodia now so it’s perfect. And I so agree about the morning light – it’s the best for photos.

  12. Jio News says:

    very well designed temple, We had great architects but british ruined all.

  13. Jenni says:

    Thanks for this information as I am currently planning a trip to Ankor Wat so it is really useful. Your pictures are lovely and now I cant wait until I get there.

  14. Wow, it’s not often you get to read about anything other than Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It’s good you can visit Prasat Kravan on the same entry ticket. Prasat Kravan is beautiful, you photographed it brilliantly.

  15. Marge says:

    I do remember this temple when I went on a temple tour in Siem Reap. I didn’t know much about its history though until I read this article of yours. It is not as famous as the other temples in the Angkor Wat complex but definitely worth a visit.

  16. I so want to do Angkor campus in Cambodia and Prambanan in Indonesia together. Sole reason being I want to compare the architecture of both places! I have heard that Angkor was an attempt to build something better than Prambanan which was a bigger religious center, and special attention was paid while creating every temple in Angkor to make sure they are not copy of any temple in and near Prambanan.

  17. I didn’t realize there was a Vishnu temple in Cambodia. The carvings are really beautiful. A must see for when I go back one day!

  18. neha says:

    Beautiful…I would love to take my parents to the Prasat Kravan Temple sometimes soon. Will remember your tips of visiting in the morning. Love the architecture already!!

  19. such details with exceptional writing …
    I must say your trip had gained another start with this post..
    waiting for the next piece.

  20. aareeba says:

    I love to visit places which has Great history and Architecture and this place sounds one . I have been to few temples before but never saw something like this . Thanks for sharing

  21. Beautiful temple! Simple to look from outside but has wonderful statues!

  22. Great photos! I wish I visit this place during my trip in SR. Hope to revisit Cambodia soon. I love its architecture 🙂

  23. The temple of Prasat Kravan is fascinating. The fact that it has stood the test of time for ten centuries is a silent testimony to the skills of its architects. I absolutely loved the depiction of Vishnu on the walls of the temple.

  24. Iza Abao says:

    Your photos of Prasat Kravan are good. Like you said, the exteriors do not look impressive but you have captured the best angles of the temple. It is small and probably it will take less than 30 minutes to have a tour in this area.

  25. vatsala mallya says:

    Beautiful temples with superbly done carvings. Having a resemblance to our belur hasan heritage structures (temples ). Being 10 centuries old and still standing tall. Superb.!

  26. I loved the symmetry of Prasat Kravan. When we were there, there wasnt any other people so I got to explore the temple grounds in peace and in my own time. I miss Siem Reap

  27. Jerny says:

    Beautiful temple! I love the wall with the bricks shaped into the Goddess Lakshmi. <3 It's a different one than Angkor Wat and that makes this post unique in its own way 🙂

  28. Wow, lovely temple and pictures are quite inviting.

  29. Swati says:

    This is such a unique find. I had not heard of Prasat Kravan while reading up on Angkor Wat. The bas relief in the North and Central tower are mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing

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