Travel Report: Prasat Krachap Temple, Koh Ker.
Prasat Krachap Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.
*With five more Koh Ker temples to go, I’ve decided to publish the remaining ruins over the next consecutive five days. These are the smaller and less visited of Koh Ker’s ancient structures, thus they are mini articles, if you will. Happy temple hunting!*
After the dramatic Prasat Thom and the curious Linga Temples, our next Koh Ker structure was Prasat Krachap. Unfortunately, details of this ruin and its history are a bit thin on the ground.
Luckily, some surviving inscriptions at least tell us that it dates back to 928 and that it was consecrated in tribute to Tribhuvanadeve, a linga representation of the Hindu lord Shiva. Tri-bhuvana means three worlds, a reference to the universe as formed by earth, heaven and the underworld.
The Khmer often refer to Prasat Krachap as The Temple of Inscriptions. You’ll find the main concentration on one of the doorways in the central shrine. The French scholar George Coedès studied and translated the bulk of them, revealing that one section features a list of slaves who worked at the temple!
Prasat Krachap Temple, Koh Ker.
Prasat Krachap is a sprawling collection of ruins housed within a surprisingly preserved walled enclosure. In addition to its inscriptions, there were a number of delightful discoveries that helped make it stand out from the other temples at Koh Ker.
First, the plant life here is amazing! This was certainly one of the wildest temples we visited, a complex occupied by over a thousand years of weird and wonderful jungle growth. One of the most common sights is this peculiar, funnel-shaped plant called Brossva (ប្រស់ស្វា).
Some of the stonework at Prasat Krachap is also unusual and quite like anything else we saw throughout The Angkor Temples and Koh Ker. Many of the bricks are tiny, with dinky leaves sprouting out of the cracks.
The Temple of Inscriptions.
Above all, I’ll always remember Prasat Krachap for this terrifying spider and its equally awesome web. He was hanging out near the remains of the central shrine, a graveyard of bugs peppered around him. I think we spent at least ten minutes just staring at him in wonder.
At the back of the complex, we got to add to our collection of amazing trees. This one had cracked in half and fallen into the back wall, where it now lies embedded in the stone.
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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I like the scriptures etched into the stone Leighton very much, it must have taken them ages to do. Hope your day is going well. Marion
Hey Marion, the inscriptions are indeed really special and wort the brief stop off to see. I loved dipping in and out of these tiny ruins, it added to the overall sense of adventure. Thanks for checking out my article on Prasat Krachap Temple.
Fantastic stuff as usual! The inscriptions are so cool!
Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Anna. Always appreciated!
five more eh? you certainly were thorough, the inscriptions are so well preserved. and jeepers, that spider is worse than the last one
Thanks Stan. The spider looked real nasty, I actually felt a little nervous getting so close to it for the shot.
A good post. Thank you 🙏
Thanks for your comment!
You are welcome 🙏
The temples in Cambodia have tales to narrate and they are such architectural gems! The rock-cut art and carvings in these landmarks have their own old-world charm, something that will urge you to capture for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva
Thanks Aiva for taking a look at Prasat Krachap Temple.
Amazing to know this place… informative post… thanks for sharing 😊🙏
Thanks for stopping by, commenting and indeed for following Leighton Travels!
Well worth a brief stop. Too bad more isn’t known about the history. There must have been some dramatic population shifts. Appreciated the translation Brossva (ប្រស់ស្វា) in case I wanted to look it up. Really appreciated the shot of you, it provided a much needed sense of scale. Can’t wait for more.
Thanks Memo, glad you enjoyed the first of these five mini-posts. Each of these small ruins took just fifteen to twenty minutes for us to tour but they were well worth it. As authentic as authentic Cambodia gets.
This place just goes to show that nature will reclaim all manmade structures. Leighton. That spider is awesome and scary at the same time. The markings just shout “don’t come near me’. Thanks for taking us there without spider bites. Allan
Yes, those markings! An absolutely clear warning sign if ever there was one. Thanks for checking out Prasat Krachap Temple, Allan.
I am really curious to know what it was like to live in these temples back in the day! 928 sure is a long time ago!
I’m guessing life was pretty grim back then, Lyssy. Unless, of course, you happened to be king! Thanks for visiting!
Maybe queen but definitely not king 😜
Another amazing temple! However, the spider is the Academy Award winner here; wow!!! What amazing colors, and it looks HUGE! Thankfully, it has a full pantry (larder) and wasn’t interested in you. 😉
Yes, I was delighted to be spared! What a beast eh? Thanks for keeping up with the Koh Ker Temples, Tricia.
Enjoyed reading your post, Leighton, with the interesting text and photos – never saw a funnel plant before! Looks like nature has taken over the ruins to such an extent it must have been a challenge to get around the temple ruins!
Hey Annie, yes it was pretty wild in terms of the vegetation. I’d also never seen the Brossva before, so it was quite the discovery. Thanks for your visit!
Ruins. Here you can really talk about ruins.
Yup, virtually a pile of bricks for the most part, but fascinating nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by!
That spider! Scary but what an interesting corkscrew web!! Maggie
I had never seen a web like that before. Thanks for taking a look at Prasat Krachap Temple, Maggie.
Such a versatile site Prasat Krachap Temple in Cambodia. Thanks for sharing this.
Thanks for checking out Prasat Krachap Temple, Anita.
The Brossva plant looks really cool, and I like how the jungle interacts with the temples!
Cheers Allie, I’m glad you’re enjoying the Koh Ker temples. Thanks for following the series.
Lovely! Despite having little information to glean at Prasat Krachap, you still got to experience the beauty of it all (bar that humongous spider, oh my gosh!). Looking forward to your remaining temple runs over the next few days– you’re really hitting them home!
Thanks Rebecca, I think at this point I’m just keen to wrap up this particular leg of the Cambodia files ha ha. Hence the every day splurge. Appreciate you keeping up!
Yes we’re definitely starting to come a few notches down the spectacular scale here – still fascinating but the wow factor must have been lessening by now. Like the web though, it looks like embroidery.
Cheers Phil, the remaining structures are much more modest, but hopefully just about worth publishing individually. If only for the fact that they barely have an online imprint. Hope you are enjoying being back home, you have returned to something of a new world.
The inscriptions are extremely beautiful! Most of us couldn’t write that beautifully with a pen, much less with a tool. The spider is super cool, though I am not particularly fond of them!
Sorry for the late answer Kellye, your comment got tucked away as a reply to a comment made by the Hungry Travellers, hence I missed it. You’re right about the inscriptions, so elegantly carved into the stone and so clear after all these years. I wonder if a little restoration work was done on them.
Beautiful temple with the feel of stepping into a long forgotten story…but terrifying spider that may give me nightmares.
Thanks for keeping up with the Koh Ker temples Meg. I wouldn’t even want to meet that spider in my dreams.
Another beautiful temple site, the tree roots are incredible!
Thanks for stopping by Hannah.
I’m amazed at how many temple ruins there are in Cambodia! But that spider 😳 … and you spent 10 minutes there (10 minutes too long for me)! Once again, just love how nature “moved back in” (amazing to see how the fallen tree is embedded in the stone).
The spider was in equal parts stunning and horrifying, we couldn’t take our eyes off it, ha.
It’s too bad that there isn’t much known about this temple. The ruins are pretty spectacular. And wow, that’s some spider. I’ve never seen a web quite like that before.
Yes the web was just spellbinding, I wanted to touch it but didn’t dare.
Ooh, lots of atmosphere here! I love the inscriptions and the plants and trees taking over the ruins, while that spider is just amazing, as is his web!
Great to have you back Sarah. I had never seen a spider like that one before, at least not in the flesh.