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World Travel GuidesBeng Mealea Angkor Ruins, Cambodia

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Beng Mealea is a 12th century Angkor ruin located 40 km east of the Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia. The name Beng Mealea means "lotus pond". It is 77 km by road from Siem Reap. The ruins of Beng Mealea were built in the Angkor Wat style during the reign of King Suryavarman II, who built Angkor Wat. Although it is smaller in size than Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea is nonetheless one of the more significant temples during Suryavarman II's reign.

Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
K N (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Beng Mealea is built primarily of sandstone. Like Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea is surrounded by a moat. It consists of three enclosing galleries with an inner sanctuary in the middle. Among the bas-relief at Beng Mealea include the Churning of the Ocean of Milk and Vishnu riding Garuda. Also like Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea has naga balustrades on both sides of its causeway. Unlike Angkor Wat, however, Beng Mealea is oriented towards the east.

Beng Mealea, at the time of writing, has not been restored. It is left in a rather chaotic state, with galleries that have collapsed. Unlike Ta Prohm, whose "state of nature" has been managed, at Beng Mealea, the jungle is left to reign supreme. Getting around it could be an exhausting experience, but for the hardcore Angkor enthusiast, an unforgetable one.

Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Author: Drew Hess (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Return to Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site
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