Royal Enclosure & Phimeanakas

Temples of Angkor

Phimeanakas stands close to the centre of a walled area that once housed the royal palace. There’s very little left of the palace today except for two sandstone pools near the northern wall. Phimeanakas means ‘Celestial Palace’, and some scholars say that it was once topped by a golden spire. It is currently undergoing restoration and the upper level is off-limits to visitors.

Construction of the palace began under Rajendravarman II, although it was used by Jayavarman V and Udayadityavarman I. It was later added to and embellished by Jayavarman VII and his successors. The royal enclosure is fronted to the east by the Terrace of Elephants. The northwestern wall of the Royal Enclosure is very atmospheric, with immense trees and jungle vines cloaking the outer side, easily visible on a forest walk from Preah Palilay to Phimeanakas.

The temple is another pyramidal representation of Mt Meru, with three levels. Most of the decorative features are broken or have disappeared.

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