The Preah Vihear Temple, an ancient Hindu temple, is beautiful instance of Khmer Architecture. The temple was built in ancient period situated on plateau that dominates Cambodia. This Temple of Shiva has its own aesthetic beauty and holiness. The temple is constituted sanctuaries series linked through staircase and pavement. The Staircase is stretched to around 800 meter long. The origin and history of this Shiva’s temple popularly known as ‘The Preah Vihear Temple’ is quite complex. Today, the site is well preserved by the as World Heritage site by UNESCO. The site stands out with its beautiful Khmer architecture that depicts quality of Architecture during Khmer empire.
Ownership of Heritage Site:
In year 1962, a lengthy dispute was recorded between Cambodia and Thailand, over the ownership of the world heritage site, ‘the Preah Vihear Temple’. The dispute was then settled by ICJ, International Court of Justice, located in Hague. The temple’s ownership was then given to Cambodia.
Preah Vihear Temple is brilliant masterpiece of Khmer Architecture. The temple is built on north-south axis, a rectangular plan pointing toward east side. The structure of this temple is quite different from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The Entrance of the temple site is marked with five gopuras, these Gopuras are first thing to be visited before reaching to main temple.the steps that surrounds the Gopuras, blocks the view of Main temple. The visitor has to cross those high steps of Gopuras to reach main Temple.
Each Gopura depicts a significance of varied style. The fifth gopura portrays the exquisiteness of Koh Ker style. While the fourth Gopura depicts Baphuon / Khleang period. The third Gopura is the largest of all Gopuras bordered by hall.
The Preah Vihear Temple was initialy built in 9th century. The temple was mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is complete masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The surviving part of temple was dated back from Koh Ker period, in early 10th century. The temple was constructed in the regime of King Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II.
The inscriptions inside the temple depicts Hindu Festival, white parasols, elephants, golden bowl and aged Brahmin Divankarapandita. The popular pose of Lord Shiva Dancing known as ‘Natraja’, was donated by Brahmin as per the inscription.
This site suffered minute unruly during Civil War. The site was protected and not allowed to be visited by tourist. But the tourist spots at Thai side were opened and allowed to be visited by Tourist. The Committee decided to protect the complete site along with other World Heritage site in year 2008, July 8th. Today, the site is Preah Vihear Temple is in full agreement between Thailand and Cambodia as ‘Outstanding Universal Value’.