Preah Neak Pean

23

Nov
2021

Preah Neak Pean

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This monument – a shrine dedicated to Avalokitesvara – is set within the center of a cruciform arrangement of sacred ponds. Around the shrine’s base coil a couple of snakes, giving the temple its name – Entwined Serpents. Located in the now dry North Baray, the temple is built around a central artificial square pond measuring 230 ft (70 m), which is surrounded by four smaller ponds. The central pond represents the mythical Lake Anvatapta, which is located at the summit of the universe and is responsible for giving birth to the four great curative rivers, each represented by a different gargoyle at each corner of the central pool. The east head is that of a man, the south a lion, the west a horse, and the north an elephant. When the temple was functioning, sacred water would be diverted through their mouths into the smaller pools and used to heal devotees.

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