MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

The Medical Pools of Neak Pean

Neak Pean, meaning "The entwined serpents", was an artificial island that sat in the middle of a large baray (reservoir) immediately east of Preah Khan. Originally, it could only be reached by boat.

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Neak Pean was perhaps the most unique temple in the Angkor complex, built in the second half of the 12th century as part of a complex that included Preah Khan.

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Neak Pean was originally designed for medical purposes, based on the ancient Hindu belief of balance. Four connected pools represent Water, Earth, Fire and Wind. The ancients believed that going into these pools would balance the elements in the bather, thus curing disease.

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In the middle of the four healing ponds was the central water source.

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Small vaulted chapels backed onto each side of the larger pond. Within these chapels the head of animal or human formed a water spout letting water from the large pond flow into the smaller ones.

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To access Neak Pean, we had to walk along a small path through some forest. This makeshift bridge allowed visitors across patches of water.

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The ubiquitous busker band played alongside the path.

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They had also set some fishing baskets in the water.

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Our guide stopped to speak with them and saw a few small fish that they had caught.

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Looking back, we see two of the buskers heading back to their band. The one on the right is clearly an amputee and the one on the left holding the basket, was blind.

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More information about Neak Pean on Wikipedia.


This entry posted in : Cambodia. Tourism.

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