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Eastern Mebon Temple, a part of the Angkor Archaeological Park in the Siem Reap district of Cambodia, is an ancient temple known for its Khmer architecture. This temple is named Brasat Mebon Khang Kert in the Khmer language since it was built on a man-made water body. Built-in a square structure across an area of one hectare, the temple was originally a Hindu monastery that was developed during the rule of King Rajendravarman II somewhere in the year 952 in the memory of his ancestors. As per present-day reports, this temple houses an idol of the Hindu god, Shiva, represented in the form of a Lingam. The historic temple was constructed amidst a small islet encircled by the East Baray. One of the best tourist attractions in Cambodia, this place promises an indifferent experience of spirituality and art.

Eastern Mebon Temple History

an aerial view of the Eastern Mebon to visit on the next journey.

Image Credit: Christophe95 for Wikimedia Commons

The temple was initially built by Rajendravarman in the 10th century on an island in the centre of the East Baray reservoir. This 50-year-old reservoir is now dried up as it was also one of the man-made water bodies created by the historic kings of the Khmer dynasty. The temple was devoted to Shiva, the Hindu deity and was constructed just after Angkor received its capital back from the Koh Ker by the king Rajendravarman VII back in 944. There’s a beautiful lake surrounding the temple which is known to have been formed half a century before the temple. Meanwhile, Koh Ker was regarded to be the capital city under King Jayavarman IV. Post the shift of the capital status of Koh Ker to Angkor, King Rajendravarman II started the construction of the Mebon Temple near the island of massive waterbody.
There are several artefacts that depict that it was constructed to signify the ongoing dictatorship at Angkor. The temple was designed by architect Kabindramthana who’s the only known architect from Angkor. The Pre-Rup Temple was later constructed by the same architect. Since the year 947, construction work has begun at the Eastern Mebon Temple. As stated by the main inscription, this temple was established on 28th January 953 to honour the ruler’s parents.

Must Read: Prasat Ta Keo

Eastern Mebon Architecture

a mesmerizing Architecture of this ancient temple in Siem Reap.

Image Credit: Michael Gunther for Wikimedia Commons

The Eastern Mebon architecture is quite interesting because of its design and usage of limestones, laterite and bricks. Apart from the five towers that can be seen elevated in twists and turns, there are many lengthy structures built in rectangular shape near the midpoint of the temple. Alongside, there are other towers made out of bricks and laterite stones. Once you climb to the first step, you’ll find structures resembling elephants in the four principal directions. As per a few research records, the mortar was used to cover the brick section of the temple for it to look smoother. One can see several holes dug in the walls. It is believed that these halls were made to not let the mortar stick to each other. In regards to the quality of stones that were used in the construction of the temple, many archaeologists are spellbound at how the people were so experienced in choosing the best kind of stones. These stones can be seen in the pillars, door frames and other artificial doors all through the temple.

Despite being centuries old and having severe exposure to rain and heat along with the societal changes that occurred at Angkor, the stones of this monument still remain undamaged. You’ll find very unnoticeable corrosion caused because of time and other factors. The stones still look like they’ve been cut out afresh and studded into the structure. Another highlight of the architecture at Eastern Mebon are the intricately built sculptures. Various structures are sculpted across the surface of the temple’s walls. These sculptures are a testament to the artistry of the craftsmen who were involved in the construction of this temple depicting the popular scenes at Banteay Srei Temple.

Tips For Eastern Mebon Temple

Beautiful complex at the eastern Mebon Temple

Image Source: Pexels

Here are a few foolproof tips you can follow to make your visit to Eastern Mebon more enjoyable:

Explore both the Grand Circuit and Small Circuit temples: Once you’re at the Angkor Archaeological Park, don’t forget to explore all the temples that are a part of the Grand Circuit and Small Circuit. The grand circuit includes temples like Western Mebon, Baksei Chamkrong and others whereas in the small circuit, there are temples like Ta Prohm, Ta Keo and Srah Srang.

Sunrise and sunset: The Eastern Mebon Temple is a spectacular sight to behold all throughout the day. But, if you can visit the place either at sunset or sunrise, you will be spellbound by the beauty.
Secure a good position for the views: The Eastern part of this temple presents the most stunning views of the sunrise. You can stand on top of the terrace within the temple and watch the sunset, soaking yourself in the unfiltered sunlight.

Plan your visit during less crowded times: To explore every section of the temple perfectly, it is important that you visit the place in the early morning when the crowd is less. It can be a challenge to roam around the temple when it’s too crowded as it restricts your movement and vision.

Suggested Read: Ta Prohm Temple

How To Reach

Ways to reach Eastern Mebon Temple

Image Credit: カップメーン for Wikimedia Commons

Siem Reap is the main entry point to the Angkor Archaeological Park. It is 15 km away from the main city, and there are multiple transport options by which you can reach the temple. Here’s an explanation of the available transport options you can choose from:

  • Taxi: You’ll find many private taxis that can take you from any part of the city to the temple. However, they charge quite high and are not a feasible option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option.
  • Tuk-tuk: Taking a tour around the Angkor Temples is the most affordable option. There are several tuk-tuk drivers you’ll find near the main roads of the city who can offer you a good deal.
  • Bicycles: You can find all kinds of bikes, including speed bikes, mountain bikes and city bikes, on rent to take a tour of the Angkor Temples. The rent is pretty affordable and can fit in your budget.

Best Time To Visit

a path to the temple covered with lush greenery.

Image Credit: Leon petrosyan for Wikimedia Commons

Eastern Mebon Temple is a part of the Angkor archaeological complex, and it remains open all year round. The best time to visit this place is undoubtedly during the winter, which is Cambodia’s peak tourist season. The summer and monsoon seasons are regarded as the off-season months to visit Cambodia and that’s the major reason why the place remains calmer than the peak season. Both summer and monsoon seasons have their own pros and cons for the tourists.

Summers here are extremely hot and there’s frequent rainfall during the monsoon season. However, if you want a budget-friendly experience with peace of mind, both summer and monsoon seasons are suitable times for you to visit the Eastern Mebon Temple.

Further Read: Kbal Spean

The Eastern Mebon is a one-of-a-kind temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This unique temple is one of the must-visit places in Cambodia because of its rich history and architecture. Every temple wall has its unique story to narrate that the visitors can often feel while exploring the temple. Built in the middle of an island (now dry), this temple offers a breathtaking view of the nearby surroundings. You must add the Eastern Mebon Temple to your trip to Cambodia itinerary to make the most out of your trip!

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Cover Image Source: Diego Delso for wikipedia

Frequently Asked Questions About Eastern Mebon

What are the timings to visit the Eastern Mebon?

The Eastern Mebon timings are 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Plan your trip to visit this temple during the appropriate time and make your journey memorable.

What is the dress code at the Eastern Mebon?

There’s no such fixed dress code at the Eastern Mebon. It is essential for both men and women to cover their knees and shoulders.

Do you need a pass to visit the Eastern Mebon Siem Reap?

Yes, a temple pass is required to visit the Eastern Mebon Temple in Cambodia. Once you get the pass, you can easily walk from the parking area.

What are the other popular places near Eastern Mebon Siem Reap?

The other popular places near Eastern Mebon Temple Cambodia are Neak Pean, Ta Som and Pre Rup Temple.

Which time of the day is the most ideal to visit the Eastern Mebon Temple?

The best time to visit the Eastern Mebon Temple is early morning or latter part of the afternoon. You can visit any month of the year to seek blessings.

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