Preah Ko was erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century and dedicated to Shiva. In AD 880 the temple was also dedicated to his deified ancestors: the front towers relate to male ancestors or gods, the rear towers to female ancestors or goddesses. Lions guard the steps up to the temple. Preah Ko (Sacred Ox) features three nandis (sacred oxen), all of whom look like a few steaks have been sliced off over the years.
The six prasat (stone halls), aligned in two rows and decorated with carved sandstone and plaster reliefs, face east; the central tower of the front row is a great deal larger than the other towers. Some of the best surviving examples of plasterwork in Angkor can be seen here, restored by the German Apsara Conservation Project. There are elaborate inscriptions in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit on the doorposts of each tower.