World Travel GuidesUNESCO World Heritage Site Preah Palilay Temple, Angkor

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Preah Palilay is an ancient ruin in
Angkor Thom. It is situated far back from the main axis road that runs north-south between the North Gate and Bayon.

To reach it, you follow a path just behind Tep Pranam. After a walk of 150 metres, you arrive at a small terrace. The terrace is about thirty metres in length and eight meters in width. It is still well preserved. There are two dvarapalas or guardians, now decapitated, and one crouching lion, of an original two, at its entrance.

From the terrace you can see a small seated Buddha image, almost similar to Tep Pranam. For a long time this Buddha statue was missing his head, but now has it back. He sits in the lotus calling the earth to witness position.

Preah Palilay surrounded by silk-cotton trees.

Beyond the Buddha is the inner enclosure wall of Preah Palilay. A gopura, or entrance gate, opens on the east side. This was restored in 1937 - before then it was all a jumble of stones. Of significant interest at the gopura is its frontons, where you can see Buddhist scenes. It is said that Preah Palilay got its name from "Parilyyaka", the name of the woods where Buddha retreated after leaving Kosambi.

Immediately behind the gopura is Preah Palilay. It is surrounded by soaring silk-cotton trees which look magnificent against the ruins. When I was there, the ground was carpeted with the leaves of the silk-cotton trees, adding much to the atmosphere. As we walked through the ground, our feet make a crunch-crunch sound as we stepped onto the dried leaves.

From Preah Palilay, we proceeded to Phimeanakas, which is south of Preah Palilay and within the Royal Palace compound.

Construction Details

The sanctuary was built in the first half of the 12th century while
the gopura in the late 12th, early 13th century

How to reach Preah Palilay

Preah Palilay is located within Angkor Thom. It is 280m west of Tep Pranam, and 400m north of Phimeanakas. It is best explored on foot, along with the other ruins in Angkor Thom. Get your tuk tuk driver to drop you at the Bayon, and walk around to explore the sights in Angkor Thom.

Preah Palilay, another view.

Return to Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site
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