World Travel GuidesUNESCO World Heritage Site  Baksei Chamkrong Temple, Angkor

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Baksei Chamkrong is an ancient Angkor monument located just north of Phnom Bakheng, a short distance between Angkor Wat and the South Gate of Angkor Thom. The name Baksei Chamkrong means "the bird who shelters under its wings."

I visited this temple while South Gate of Angkor Thom. The name Baksei Chamkrong comes from a legend. In it, the king was trying to flee Angkor when it was under siege. Suddenly a huge bird swooped down and sheltered the king under its wings. However, as I further researched, I learned that there is really no connection between the above story and the construction of this temple.

Construction Details

Built around the middle of 10th Century (947)
begun by King Harshavarman I (reigned 910-944)
completed by King Rajendravarman II (reigned 944-968)

This is one of the first temples to be constructed of durable material such as bricks and laterite, and with decorations in sandstone. It consists of a single tower on a square 27 sq meter base. On this is a four-tiered pyramid that rises to a height of 12 metres. At the top is a brick sanctuary tower that faces the east. On its door frame are inscriptions praising early Khmer kings such as Jayavarman II. The inscriptions are unique for its content, for so many Khmer kings were mentioned. The lintels, which are in poor condition, shows Indra on a three-headed elephant, Airavata (by the way, I believe Airavata is the Khmer equivalent to the elephant Erawan, in Thailand).

Baksei Chamkrong, as seen from the main road leading towards Angkor Thom.

Originally, there was a brick enclosure with a stone gopura on the east side of Baksei Chamkrong, that is, facing the main road, but that is gone now. Most of the stucco that once adorned this temple is also gone now.

Baksei Chamkrong, as seen from one of its four corners.

A reclining Buddha image is inside the central sanctuary of Baksei Chamkrong.

View from the top of Baksei Chamkrong.

One of the false doors of the central sanctuary.

The lintel of Baksei Chamkrong.

How to reach Baksei Chamkrong

Baksei Chamkrong is on your left, as you approach South Gate of Angkor Thom from Phnom Bakheng. You can't miss it. If you're travelling by tuk tuk, ask your tuk tuk driver to point it out to you. If he doesn't know, show him the map, or get a different tuk tuk driver! If you wish to climb up Baksei Chamkrong, beware that the steps are very steep - those on the north side is the easiest to climb.

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