East Mebon, Siem Reap

East Mebon, near Siem Reap, is one of the two major Khmer temples built during the reign of King Rajendravarman II, the other being Pre Rup Temple which is similar in style. To visit you need to buy a pass for the Angkor Archaeological Park which costs $37 USD for a single day, $62 USD for three days, and $72 USD for a week.

About East Mebon

East Mebon was completed in either 952 or 953 AD, the date differs according to which source you refer to. The temple is located in the centre of the East Baray which, at the time, was an enormous reservoir measuring 2 km by 7 km.

East Mebon is built on a square man made island measuring 120 metres on each side. At the time of construction the temple was only accessible by boat and there are landing platforms on the outer perimeter of each side of the temple. At the time the official state religion of the Khmer Empire was Hinduism and the main deity to which the temple was dedicated is Shiva.

East Mebon near Siem Reap
East Mebon near Siem Reap

East Mebon features three enclosures. One of the notable features of this temple is the four large free standing elephant statues which stand at the four corners of this outer enclosure, which is accessible by four gopura entrance towers in alignment with the cardinal points of a compass. Inside the outer walls of the temple are series of galleries the roofs of which were probably made of wood and have long since perished.

The second enclosure measures 75 metres on each side. On the four corners of the perimeter wall there are more free standing statues of elephants, and inside the enclosure in each corner are libraries made of stone.

The inner sanctuary of the temple is the most impressive feature of East Mebon. This central area features a platform with four towers surrounding a taller central tower. This configuration of five towers represents Mount Meru which, according to Hindu cosmology, is the home of the gods at the centre of the Universe. Each of the towers have four doors in the base, three of which are fake. The real door in the central and largest tower leads into a chamber containing a linga, also known as lingam, which is an abstract representation of the Lord Shiva and this is the main shrine of East Mebon Temple.

Location of East Mebon

East Mebon is located 14.4 km by road from Siem Reap Town.

Google Map of East Mebon

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