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Temple of the Island of Shame (Koh Ker)

February 3, 2012

Day three of motorcycle trip with my son, Paul. 

Location:  Preah Vihear City to Koh Ker and back.

Distance Traveled:  200 kilometers (6 hours driving)

Father and Son in the Jungle

After traveling for 10-12 hours per day, we were tired and so much looking forward to a shorter travel to the Koh Ker temple (built from 921-941 AD).  Actually, we didn’t know what its name meant until we arrived at the temple.  Then we realized what it meant!  (More later!)

After winding down many roads and enjoying the cool morning, we arrived at huge toll booth. . . oh no!! However, no one was around so we kept going.  They got their money when we finally got to the main temple. We wandered down a small dirt road until we saw small temples starting to appear.  We climbed around the various smaller temples.  The first temple we found was actually five temples in one; called Prasat Bram (which means ‘Five Temples’).  After visiting about 20 temples it appeared a 5th grader named them.  Another one with two levels was called “two level temple”.   Another one with a huge. . . um. . . (More later!), anyway, it had a descriptive name.

The coolest temple, and the one we were there to see, was the big one.  You’ll never guess its name: “Prasat Thom” (or, “the Big Temple”).  See what I mean. . . a 5th grader was here!  Anyway, it is a Pyramid.  It was built by aliens hundreds of years ago who came from Mars.  . . ok, just joking.  No, it is just a big giant pyramid built from stones dug from the earth around the temple (which became a huge man-made lake).   It was 37 meters tall (around 120 feet tall!)  Standing next to it, it was amazing.  However, we discovered that part of the temple was stolen.   The very top was stolen.  You will never guess what it was!  Ok, here is the “more later” bit.  To make it sound scientific they refer to it a as “linga”.  It is the male genitalia.  Now, you see why I am so ashamed!  They at least could warn you it’s R-rated!   This is where I brought my 12 year old son!!

Koh Ker Pyramid Temple

There are 39 temples, and at one time more than 80 temples were dedicated to various sizes of linga.  Specifically the ‘Linga of Shiva’ (The destroyer God).  You see how sick and dark people are.  Unbelievable.  So, I hadn’t planned on having the bird and bees talk in the jungle, but it kind of happened.

The King (Jayavarman IV) actually named the whole complex “Linga City”.  Yep, now you know you had a 5th grade mind!  What an idiot.  So, fortunately, a scholar re-named the temple to Koh Ker.  Ker (pronounced “kay” is short for “kay-kmah” which means “shame”.  So, now, it is known as the “Island of Shame Temple”.  Here are some PG-13 pictures:

Nature is swallowing the temples

Ancient Khmer-Sanskrit on the temple columns

Dad helping to climb up the first level of the pyramid!

We weren't 'climbing', we were 'descending'

Are you kidding me?

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