Phnom Chisor

Between Takeo (26km) and Phnom Penh another remarkable Angkorean temple site is situated. It’s Phnom Chisor Temple. The temple was errected in the reign of king Suryavarman I (1002 – 1049 CE) and later extended. Originally called ‘Sri Suriyaparvata’ (the mountain of the Hindu sun god Surya) it was dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

The site consists of a central shrine, surrounded by five more shrines and two libraries. They all are inside a walled gallery with two entrance gates. As typical for the ancient Khmer buildings the construction material is laterite, bricks and sandstone for the carvings.

There is a number of lintels with carvings, inscriptions and ornaments to see. The whole site is not in a really well state, but some restorations have been done. In the times of ancient Angkor the site must have been of some significance for the empire.

The original approach to the site was on an east-west axis road. Some hundred meters east of the main site, on the plain, there is Son Reveang, the outermost gatehouse of the site, placed. Here is also a baray, an artificial lake, called Tonle Om. Following the old road, which is barely in use anymore and rather a jungle treck, one comes to a second ruined and inner gatehouse made of laterite stones. It’s name is Sen Thmol, mostly overgrown now and not restorated. Directly west of it starts a wider laterite stairway which leads up to the top of the mountain and narrows later. It’s less than 500 steps up to the main site, which is located on the easter part of the hilltop.

Keep in mind that this is not the main entrance and very few people approach from here. The main approach to the site is from the roadside, south of the site. Between the road, which leads to national road nr. 2 and the hillfoot are some food vendors. It’s also kind of a parking when one is coming with an own vehicel. No doubt there will be someone coming and try to sell a ticket for the parking. Though, they have no legitimation to do that; it’s just a self-made invention to cash from unknowing foreigners.

The stairway upwards from there is said amounts of 412 steps. At the top there is a cashpoint. A kind of a guard is demanding two dollars from foreigners.

At the northwest of the hilltop is a modern Buddhist temple placed.

The view over the surrounding Cambodian landscapes, mostly rice paddies, is praised by many visitors.

The site fell victim to an American air raid in 1973 and suffered destruction.


This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Phnom Chisor’. Read here the whole article on Phnom Chisor.

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