Beng Mealea, meaning “lotus pond,” is a temple in the Angkor Wat style located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay.
The temple was built as a Hindu temple, but there are some carvings depicting Buddhist motifs. It was built mostly of sandstone and is largely undestroyed, with trees and thick brush thriving amidst its towers and courtyards and many of its stones lying in great heaps. For years it was difficult to reach, but a road recently built to the temple complex of Koh Ker passes Beng Mealea Temple and more visitors are coming to the site, as it is 77 km from Siem Reap by road.
The history of the temple is unknown and it can be dated only by its architectural style, identical to Angkor Wat, so scholars assume it was built during the reign of king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Smaller in size than Angkor Wat, the king’s main monument, Beng Mealea nonetheless ranks among the Khmer empire’s larger temples.
Beng Mealea is oriented towards the east, but has entrances from the other three cardinal directions. The basic layout is three enclosing galleries around a central sanctuary, collapsed at present. The enclosures are tied with “cruciform cloisters”, like Angkor Wat. Structures known as libraries lie to the right and left of the avenue that leads in from the east. There are extensive carving of scenes from Hindu mythology, including the Churning of the Sea of Milk and Vishnu being borne by the bird god Garuda 5mg cialis for sale. Causeways have long balustrades formed by bodies of the seven-headed Naga serpent.
Beng Mealea Temple is only 7 km away from the Angkorian sandstone quarries of Phnom Kulen. Presumably, sandstone blocks used for Angkor were transported along artificial water canals and passed from here.