Preah Ko

Preah Ko serves as a fascinating introduction to the early Angkor period. It offers visitors a glimpse into the foundational aspects of Khmer architecture and religious practices. Its historical depth and artistic beauty make it a compelling stop for those seeking the roots of Cambodian culture.

Preah Ko: The Sacred Bull Temple of Ancient Cambodia

Preah Ko, translating to “The Sacred Bull,” Nandi, is an integral part of Cambodia’s rich historical tapestry. It situates in the Roluos group near Siem Reap. Preah Ko is one of the earliest temples in the ancient city of Hariharalaya. It marks the beginnings of Khmer classical art and architecture in the late 9th century.

"The Sacred Bull," Nandi

Historical Significance of Preah Ko

In 879 AD, Preah Ko was constructed to honor the king’s ancestors. It symbolizes a profound connection between divine worship and royal lineage. The temple is notable for its six brick towers in two rows. Each of them is dedicated to a specific ancestor of the king and connected to Hindu mythology.

Preah Ko

Architectural Marvels of Preah Ko

Preah Ko’s architecture is a marvel. It is showcasing early examples of the intricate carvings and detailed lintels that would define Khmer temple construction. The sandstone carvings depict Hindu deities and mythological scenes, offering insights into the spiritual and artistic culture of the time.

Exploring the Temple Complex

Three pairs of towers with exquisite carvings and inscriptions greet the visitors. The front row is dedicated to the king’s male ancestors, while the back row honors their wives. The temple’s central feature, the stone statues of Nandi, Shiva’s sacred bull, gives Preah Ko its name. It also indicates the temple’s Hindu origins.

Preah Ko

Inscription at Preah Kor. It seems that the ancient Khmer language used Sanskrit words.

Inscription at Preah Kor

Best Time to Visit

The ideal times to visit Preah Ko are early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. The cooler months from November to February offer the most comfortable climate for exploration.

How to Get There

Preah Ko is accessible from Siem Reap, located just a short distance from the main group of Roluos temples. Visitors can hire a tuk-tuk, bicycle, or join a guided tour to explore this historical site, often combined with visits to Bakong and Lolei for a comprehensive look at the Roluos group.


There are several Angkor tours that visit this temple. Find a tour that visit Roluos Group. Roluos group include temples such as Bakong and Lorei.