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Preah Pithu Temple

Preah Pithu Temple

Updated: 2017-05-28 05:44:40

Preah Pithu (Khmer: ប្រាសាទព្រះពិធូរ), or Prasat Prah Pithu, is a group of five temples at Angkor, Cambodia.

Preah Pithu is a group of five small temples, all of which are in an advanced state of ruin. The temples of Preah Pithu have been assigned the following descriptors: T, U, V, X, and Y. Even though these temples compose a single complex, archeologists believe that the temples were designed by different people and constructed in different times. A single moat that surrounds temples T and U suggests that these two temples may’ve been constructed simultaneously.

Temples T, U, V, and Y are dedicated to the deities of Hinduism. Temple X, however, is devoted to the principles of Buddhism. Even though the temples are in poor shape, there are some well-preserved carvings located throughout.

The temples of Preah Pithu are hidden in the Cambodian Jungle. Tourists seldom explore Preah Pithu, which makes the area a particularly nice escape from the crowded grounds of nearby temples. Also, there is a pleasant jungle area behind the group that makes for a nice shaded picnic.

BACKGROUND

The complex of Preah Pithu has only recently been cleared and thus open to visitors. It is a delightful area to wander in and experience the pleasure of finding hidden stones, unseen carvings and obscure alcoves. And the proportions and decoration of the terraces are amongst the finest in Khmer art. Most of the structures are in poor condition, but their bases remain and, from the evidence, the buildings of Preah Pithu were of excellent quality in design, workmanship and decoration.

LAYOUT

The Preah Pithu group consists of two cruciform terraces and five sanctuaries situated in seemingly random order amongst enclosure walls, moats and basins. All of the shrines are square with false doors, stand on a raised platform and are oriented to the east. Starting from the main road, the first temple is approached by a cruciform terrace with columns and a naga balustrade. Beyond is an enclosure wall with gopuras on the east and west sides. The sanctuary with four staircases stands on a plinth. Female divinities in niches are seen in the corners. Notice the floral motif on their skirts. A second shrine lies on the same axis and is similar in plan and decoration to the previous one.
A third temple is situated behind the other two and to the north. The sanctuary stands on a square terrace 4 meters (13 feet) high and 40 meters (131 feet) long on each side. Four axial stairways guarded by lions give access to the sanctuary. Although the shrine has windows with balustrades it is undecorated. Fragments of frontons and lintels provide evidence that it was later used as a Buddhist sanctuary.

Continuing towards the east there is a pond where two sculpted elephants stand on each side of a staircase. This is a particularly serene and pleasant spot. Retrace your steps and you will find remains of a fourth shrine on your left (south). The decoration on the pilasters of this shrine clearly belong to the Angkor Wat period. The fifth shrine of the Preah Pithu group is further north and comprises two buildings decorated with scenes from the Ramayana.

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