Kampong Thom (Khmer: កំពង់ធំ)
is a province in Cambodia, It's capital is Kampong Thom, a picturesque town on the banks of the Stung Saen river. Kampong Thom is one of the provinces that borders the Tonle Sap Lake and is in Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve.
Kampong Thom is Cambodia's second largest province by area, it touches Preah Vihear to the north, Siem Reap to the northwest, Pursat to the west, Kampong Cham and Kampong Chhnang to the south and Steung Trang to the north east.
Prasat Sambor Prei Kuk and Prasat Andet are two of the main Angkorian temples in the province. There are a number of other significant Angkorian sites in the area.
The Chenla Kingdom rose to power in Cambodia in the 6th century AD. The Chenla were ethnic Khmers who migrated to southeast Asia in AD 550 from what is now Yunnan, China and northeast India. In 618 King Isanavaram established Sambor Prei Kuk as the capital of the kingdom
(at that time the city was called Isanapura). The Chenla Kingdom was divided in the early 8th century into Upper Chenla (or "land" Chenla) that extended along the Mekong River into what is now Laos and eastern Thailand, and Lower Chenla (or "water" Chenla) which included present day Cambodia and southern portions of Vietnam. The two Kingdoms were reunited at the beginning of the 9th century under Jayavarman II, ushering in the Angkor era of Khmer history.
Sambor Prei Kuk contains approximately 150 temples and towers, remarkable for their architectural and artistic achievements: achievements that predate Angkor Wat by several centuries. The majority of these temples have fallen into a severe state of disrepair. Vandals and relic hunters have pillaged the site, stealing much of the statuary from the structures. US bombing in the early 1970s completely destroyed a number of temples, and those remaining have been invaded by the jungle surrounding them. Trees sprout from temple walls, vines hang from roofs, and creatures have burrowed their ways through the brick and sandstone.
ARCHITECTURE - Sambor Prei Kuk
is made up of four main groups of temples: the Northern Group, the Small Group Z, the Central Group and the Southern Group, all of which are dedicated to Shiva or one of his numerous forms. The Southern Group contains some of the best structures at the site. Eight octagonal towers and ancillary gate-lodges comprise the impressive group of buildings. The exterior walls of the towers are adorned with sculpted brick panels, about two metres high. The panels contain relief carvings of outstanding quality, although badly damaged.The main temple of the Southern Group, Prasat Neak Poan, houses a broken linga pedestal and contains fine examples of relief carvings which, at one point, would have had an outer coating of stucco. Where the stucco has fallen away remains the sketched outlines of the original carvings.The only structure still intact among the Central Group is the Prasat Tao. Two stone lions - where originally there were four, two having been stolen - stand at the main entrance of this spectacular brick tower. The Northern Group includes nine temples and the main tower, Prasat Sambo, which was badly damaged during US bombing. The carved sandstone columns, lintels and doorframes testify to the artistic achievements of the Chenla people.
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Add: Krosh village, Svaydongkom Commune, Siem Reap District-Province, Kingdom of Cambodia.
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