Neak Pean


Constructed when: late 12th century
Constructed by: King Jayavarman VII
Religion: Buddhist
Architectural style: Bayon
Location: north of the East Baray and east of Preah Khan



Neak Pean ("The entwined serpents") at Angkor, Cambodia is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Preah Khan Baray built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. It is the "Mebon" of the Preah Khan baray (the "Jayatataka" of the inscription).

The name is derived from the sculptures of snakes (Naga) running around the base of the temple structure.

Some historians believe that Neak Pean represents Anavatapta, a mythical lake in the Himalayas whose waters are thought to cure all illness. Neak Pean was originally designed for medical purposes, as it is one of the many hospitals that Jayavarman VII built. It is based on the ancient Hindu belief of balance. Four connected pools represent Water, Earth, Fire and Wind. The ancients believed that going into these pools would balance the elements in the bather, thus curing disease. In the middle of the four healing ponds is the central water source. There is a statue of Bahala (Bodhisattva Guan Yin transformed into a horse), as a symbol of drowning prevention.





Historical information and some descriptions of temple sites are sourced from the Angkor series of Wikipedia articles. This text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The main Wikipedia page on Angkor can be found at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor