Travelling Cambodia, many people immediately think of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, golden temples… However, perhaps few tourists know that there are many other temples that we must mention to, including mysterious Beng Mealea Temple.
Located in Angkor Complex, Beng Mealea Temple is from Siem Reap about 70 km to the northeast. This is the burial place of King Suryavarman II, is considered another version of Angkor Wat, were discovered in 1954 the French scientists.

Beng Mealea – Forgotten Temple

Beng Mealea – Forgotten Temple

The temple was built in the 12th century in glorious Angkor period, under the dynasty of King Suryavarman II. He had ordered to build Angkor Wat and Beng Mealea at the same time, so Mealea Temple has the architecture similar to Angkor Wat.
Over serve wars during history, his mighty empire had fallen into chaos and then collapsed.
– 1954: The French scientists had information about a temple as large as Angkor Wat in the forest, but could not find out the way to get into the temple.
– 1965: The western explorers came and discovered Beng Mealea Temple. Then they knew this was the burial place of King Suryavarman II and his treasure.
– After 1965: Cambodia remains in war time, so the discovery of Beng Mealea had not been done, the temple continued to be abandoned. Besides, it was also more devastated because of the war.
– 2003: The Cambodian government constructed a path to Beng Mealea Temple to research and restore as well as to tourists to visit this stunning structure.

The tourist boardwalks within Beng Mealea temple compound

The tourist boardwalks within Beng Mealea temple compound

Beng Mealea is a very large temple, possessing a spectacular architectural and geographical space, not inferior to Angkor Wat. As mentioned, if just look around, we can see the similarities in the architecture between Beng Mealea Temple and Angkor Wat, because these two temples were built at the same time. The reason that Angkor Wat has been more famous and has been the most popular choice for tourists is that it is one of the wonders of the world and still remains the wild, mystery beauty in every single architectural space with a lot of ancient statues and stones. On the other hand, Beng Mealea Temple used to be the place where the very brutal wars experienced, so the temple has been seriously devastated.

The relief of Beng Mealea temple

The relief of Beng Mealea temple

Beng Mealea Temple is a magnificent structure, shielded by three layers of solid stone walls with a moat around. The rocks here are much bigger than the rocks that visitors can see in Angkor Wat. The central point of the temple is a more than 40 meter high tower, with 4 wall corners and 4 libraries around. In each wall corner and library were meticulously carved with patterns features the culture and religion of Cambodian people.
Today, the temple was covered by the old tree roots, green moss embraces on the rocks, statues. Visiting Beng Mealea, tourists come to the old battlefield where fierce battles. The temple has been not intact. Instead, only ruins have remained. The devastation of the war and the effects of the nature cause it be forgotten.

Nature now rules at Beng Mealea temple

Nature now rules at Beng Mealea temple

Because this is the place of wars, Cambodia’s tourism is very careful in bringing tourists to visit the temple. Beside the difficulties in the way, stepping on landmines is also a dangerous threat to human life. So, when wanting to visit this temple, visitors need to follow the instructions of the guide to avoid unwanted accidents.
The government is trying to create the best conditions for tourists to visit and explore. Only those who are adventurous and love to explore the history of Angkor come here.
In the near future, the temple will be officially adopted as a tourist attraction of Cambodia.