Preah Vihear Temple is located on a mountain peak which belong to Dângrêk Mountain in Cambodia, near the border with Thailand. Cambodians called it “Preah Vihear Temple” means “holy temple” while Thai people called it with a longer name “Prasat Khao Phra Viharn” means “Palace of holy temple on mountain”.
This temple was built in the 9th century in order to worship the God of Shiva and the mountain Gods of Sikharesvara, Bhadresvara. However, the oldest date parts exist until today belongs to Koh Ker era in the early of 10th century when the capital of Khmer dynasty near Angkor. Most of the present structure of the temple was constructed during the reign of Suryayarman I and Suryayarman II in the first half of the 11th and 12th century. Read more tours in Cambodia
The architecture of this temple was designed in accordance with Banteay style which was carved in sandstone extremely sophisticated. The compound architecture of the temple is about 800 meters long and run north – south axis including a causeway shore and three-step staircases leading to the temple at the top of the South area temple (120 meters higher than the North area temple and 525 meters compare with Cambodia lowland). Although this structure is different from other mountain temple one that found in Angkor, it is also used for worshiping the gods at the top of Meru. Read more: Mekong delta travel
The road to the shrine has five huge columns. The visitors have to walk on a few steps before reaching each column. Each columns has different heights, in the vertical position of each column, tourists are not able to see the whole scenery unless they enter the temple through the main gate.
Though Preah Vihear is very ancient temple, it was very well preserved. According to the observers, the reason why this temple was so well preserved because of the inaccessible location of the project. From the Cambodian side, there is only a single path that lead to the temple.
In 1904, the Siam Kingdom (the official name of Thailand before 1949) and the French colonists established a joint committee to carry out the boundary demarcation. In 1907, after investigation the French have made maps which showed the exact location of Preah Vihear Temple and surrounding areas. Based on this map, Preah Vihear is situated inside Cambodia.
In 1954, Thailand’s military occupied this temple after French troops withdrew from Cambodia, Cambodia had protested this seizure and request the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitrating. On 15th June, 1962 ICJ gave a verdict the victory belong to Cambodia and also asked Thailand to return all artifacts including the worshiping statues which were taken out of the temple. Read more: Mekong Eyes cruise
The temple was opened in a short time to the public in 1982 and it was occupied by the Khmer Rouge after that. Preah Vihear Temple was reopened in late 1998 and Cambodia completed the construction in 2003 after a long period of time. In 2007, Cambodia proposed for recognizing Preah Vihear Temple as a cultural heritage but that proposal was rejected by UNESCO because of remaining some disagreements with Thailand. However, a year later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand supported therefore the World Heritage Committee has recognized Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage on the 7th June, 2008.
The Indochina Voyages team.