Cambodia Daytrips: Prasat Sras Keo, TakeoOctober 11, 2006
Dusting off an old archaeological survey of Takeo I found some time ago, I headed down to the provincial capital recently in search of several obscure pre-Angkorean temples. Even with specific place names, it’s not always easy to find these sites. Most people you might ask for directions often haven’t heard of them.
They’ve become simple parts of the local geography, too familiar to be remarkable. The first I wanted to find was a brick sanctuary located on the grounds of Wat Baray. The wat was supposed to be just three or four kilometres northeast of Takeo town.
After several people told us that they’d never heard of the wat, or that there were no temples in the area, we finally found a curious group of motodops who gathered round and scratched their heads. After much discussion, they sent us down the dusty path that skirts the lake in town, past Ta Mok’s old house. Crossing a bridge, we entered a small market and turned right, continuing straight until we found the temple archway.
An embankment cut through rice fields to the shade of trees, another village, and the wat. The grounds were large, and at first we couldn’t see any ruins. It was only when we rode to the far corner of the site, where the was a second wat, that we spotted the temple. The square brick structure was surprisingly large, fifteen feet tall.
A tree was growing from its open roof, and the gnarled roots stretched across the bare brick walls. The stairs to the wat led up to a doorway in the wall of the temple. Orange cloth was draped across the entrance, and inside were stone jars and incense sticks. My slim Khmer companion said the temple’s name was Prasat Preah Neang Sok Krahom.