Prasat Kravan is a small 10th century temple consisting of five reddish brick towers on a common terrace, located at Angkor, Cambodia south of the artificial lake or baray called Srah Srang. Its original Sanskrit name is unknown. The modern name in Khmer, "Prasat Kravan", means cardamom temple. The temple was dedicated to Vishnu in 921 CE, according to inscription on door jambs.
East-facing brick towers containing unique bas-reliefs of Vishnu and Lakshmi rendered in brick - the only example of brick bas-reliefs in the Angkor area. Prasat Kravan was originally constructed by noblemen rather than a king and has a twin sister in Takeo Province south of Phnom Penh, Prasat Neang Khmau, which contained painting rather than bas-reliefs, some of which still survives. Prasat Kravan was reconstructed by archaeologists in the early 20th century. Look for modern replacement bricks labeled "CA.".
The site was cleaned from vegetation in the Thirties by Henri Marchal and Georges Trouvè. Afterwards the towers were restored on Bernard Philippe Groslier's initiative from 1962 to 1966, adding some new bricks which are marked with a "CA" (meaning "Conservation Angkor").
The temple is oriented to the East and surrounded by a small moat. Its exterior is striking for its classical lines and symmetry, the central and the south tower have superstructures which take advantage of false prospective by simple means of diminishing tiers. The sanctuaries interiors are remarkable for the large bas relief depictions of Vishnu and Lakshmi that have been carved into the walls of reddish brick, connected by a vegetable compound. This type of sculptured artwork rather common in Cham temples, but almost unique in known Khmer monuments.
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Travel Date: 12/04/2015
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