Postcard Friendship Friday 080: Neak Poan Temple


Here’s a late entry for this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday. I was scanning my Cambodia postcards and found one temple that I have never seen yet despite visiting Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Complex several times already. Presenting to you Neak Poan temple:


Built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, this temple is dedicated to Buddha and Brahmanism.
Neak Poan mean [sic}]‘tire up by the dragon or entwined by the dragon’. In Khmer culture the dragon is represented to the water. So our ancestor build this temple and put two dragons to wrap for protect this temple is the perfect representation on earth and water of our cosmic world,” says Sambo Manara, Historical Professor of Royal University of Phnom Penh. This temple have been used as the holy place for treatment the health care to every people and especially for the soldier before go to the battle field.

The most impressive feature of Neak Poan is there’re four pools which have differences four statue around the big pool in the center that have the main tower of the temple. The curious figure has the body of a horse supported by a tangle of human legs. It relates to a legend that Avalokiteshvara once saved a group of shipwrecked followers from an island of ghouls by transforming himself into a flying horse. Water once flowed from the central pool into the four peripheral pools via condimental spouts, which can still be seen in the pavilions at each exist of the pool, Mr. Manara’s explained. – Source

According to another site:

The central pond (or pool, as the mentioned above),  which you see above, symbolizes the Anavatapata Lake located on top of the Himalayan mountain.  The lake contained spring water and is protected by the Naga and Nagi.  According to the legend, the Anavatapata Lake was the place where all the gods of Mt. Mehru and the heavens take a bath after they had finished their yearly duties. I can only imagine the gods and goddesses enjoying the water. I bet they don’t have a need for raypak pool heater parts in that lake for they can magically turn it into a warm spring water in one swish of their hands. For more details about Neak Poan’s ponds or pools, please click here.

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