Sambor Prei Kuk is
located 25km north of Provincial Town of Kampong Thom.
The ancient city, where monuments of Sambo Prei Kuk are found today and was identified as ISANAPURA, the capital of Chenla
in 7th century. Chenla was a former vassal of the Funan kingdom
that was one of the first states in Southeast Asia.
The main archaeological features in these groups of monuments are said to have been founded by king ISANAVARMAN I. Many decorative details in Khmer architecture and sculpture are classified as Sambor style: the name was derived from these monuments dated in the first half of the 7th century.
There were three main groups of buildings (Prasat Sambor, Prasat Tao and
Prasat Yeay Peau). All of these groups were basically a number of towerlike edifices build of brick with an opening in the roof. Some of the highlights of this visit included the tower with the lion (Tao) statues, the entrance of Prasat Yeay Peau, overgrown by a big tree and several of the mural carvings.
By observation, there are 52 small and big sanctuaries are in fairly good condition, the other 52 sanctuaries were fallen down and buried into the ground, and then became small hills. The sanctuaries were built of brick and limestone with the decoration of bas-relief on the scenery walls. The foundation of sanctuary was made of late rite, false door, diamond column and the sculptures were made of sandstone.
The Main Groups:
Prasat Sambor (Northern group) comprised sanctuaries separated from each other with the one at the middle, and had two-wall rampart. The sanctuaries were built of brick and limestone and carve in the beautifully real khmer style.
Prasat Sambor comprised 14 temples (only 8 remains), and were surrounded by two-wall rampart. These temples were constructed in various plans-square and octagonal shapes. The top of the temple was carved in lotus petals of sandstone, but some parts were cracked down and buried into the ground and the pile of bricks.
Lion (Tao) temple group comprise 18 temples with two ramparts closed to the
pond. The reasons why the people called Lion Temple because on the tops of
all stairs from the four directions, there were sitting lions with forelegs
standing up, hind-legs humbling down, its head rose up and its mouth opened to the sanctuary. The rampart outside made of late rite, had 328-meter length, 310-meter width and 101,650-square-meter surface.
Prasat Yeay Peau
Prasat Yeay Peau Group comprised a total
of 22 sanctuaries (5 have octagonal shapes) with two wall rampart, and was
built of brick, masonry, late rite and sandstone in rectangular from in 7th
century (600-635) during the reign of Isanavarman I to dedicated to Shiva.
They were built on a hill with Gopura from the eastern and western entrances
joining to an outside late rite rampart. The inner rampart reached by
gateways from the four directions and joined to the brick rampart carved in
various clustering figures.