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Phimeanakas Temple

Phimeanakas temple is south of Baphoun temple, within the confines of the Royal Palace. The temple was built in the late 10th and early 11th centuries by three different kings , King Rajendravrman, King Jayavarman V and King Suryavarman I. It was the temple where the king worshipped. The temple was originally have been crowned with a golden pinnacle, as Chinese emissary zhou Daguan described it as the Tower of Gold. It is small compared to others, but, even so, it has appeal and is situated in idyllic surroundings.

The single sanctuary stands on the base with three laterite tiers and is approached by four steep stairways, one on each side. These stairways are framed by walls with six projection-two per step-decorated with lions. Elephant one stood on sandstone pedestals in the corners of the base, but, today, they are mostly broken.

This temple is associated with a legend that tells of a gold tower inside the royal palace of Angkor the Great, where a serpent-spirit with nine heads lived. The spirit appeared to the Khmer king disguised as a woman and the king had to sleep with her every night in the tower before he joined his wives and concubines in another part of palace. If the king messed even one night it was believed he would die. In this way the royal lineage of the Khmers was perpetuated. To the north of Phimeanakas, there are two ponds that were part of the Royal Palace compound. The smaller and deeper pond, known as Srah Srei or the women’s bath, while the other larger pond known as Srah Pros or the men’s bath.