Travel Report: Prasat Chrap Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.
June 2020. It was mid afternoon by the time we rolled up at Prasat Chrap Temple. This was our eighth ancient structure of what had been a fantastic day exploring the isolated ruins of Koh Ker. Jumping out of the car, we made our way towards the entrance, where the sound of loud, passionate singing was impossible to ignore.
Entering the complex, I saw that the sound was coming from a young girl. She was swinging gently in a hammock, her earphones plugged in, perfectly unaware of us. Hence she continued to belt out a traditional Khmer tune with increasing gusto, until she suddenly became aware of my presence. It was a bit cheeky of me to film her I suppose, but she took the intrusion with good humour. And then simply went back to her singing as if I weren’t there.
Prasat Chrap Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.
Like so many of Koh Ker’s age-old delights, Prasat Chrap is a small and understated complex. Its main feature is three dark laterite towers, stacked side by side in a pleasingly sinister formation. All have lost their front walls and have blackened interiors, adding to the grisly vibe.
Unfortunately, historians are totally in the dark regarding the temple’s backstory and which gods were worshipped here. Indeed there are no surviving inscriptions or lingas of any kind. They say it was almost certainly built in the early 10th century around the same time as other Koh Ker temples.
Besides its distinctive towers, Prasat Chrap also has a number of broken lion statues. You can find them behind the towers, scattered near the back wall of the complex. Brilliantly, you can even find a few stone bases containing the feet of those lions that toppled long ago.
Koh Ker, Cambodia.
All in all, I’d say Prasat Chrap is well worth a quick stop as you drive around Koh Ker. It won’t take more than ten minutes to scale the compound and it’s on the way to the fascinating Prasat Neang Khmao, aka The Black Lady.
If you want to visit Koh Ker, bear in mind that you can’t gain access with The Angkor Pass. Instead, there’s a separate entry fee before you enter the forest. Tickets go for $15 per person.
Check out more of my reports from The Temples of Koh Ker.
You can also read my articles from the amazing Temples of Angkor.
Or maybe delve further afield with my travel reports from all across Cambodia.
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