Neak Pean

Neak Pean

Neak Pean (or Neak Poan) at Angkor, Cambodia is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Jayatataka Baray, which was associated with Preah Khan temple, built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

Neak Pean is one of the temples that make one dream of the olden days of luxury and beauty. The temple area on the island in the center of the Jayatataka baray is enclosed by a square laterite wall measuring 350 meters wide, in which were contained a number of ponds. While the outer ponds have gone, the central pond and four surrounding ponds remain.

The central pond of Neak Pean symbolizes lake Anavatapta, a lake located in the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. At each of its four sides is a smaller pond (srah) and a chapel connecting the large central pond with the surrounding ones.

In the center of the central pond is a circular island with a diameter of 14 meters, on which stands the sanctuary. The sandstone sanctuary is set on a circular stone base, encircled by two Naga snakes, guarding the East entrance of the temple. At the other end (West) their tales intertwine, from which the temple derives its name; Neak Pean translates to “the entwined snakes”.

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