Neak Pean

Neak Pean (Khmer: ប្រាសាទនាគព័ន្ធ) ("The entwined serpents") at Angkor, Cambodia is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Preah Khan Baray built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. It is the "Mebon" of the Preah Khan baray (the "Jayatataka" of the inscription).[2]

Etymology

The name is derived from the sculptures of snakes (Naga) running around the base of the temple structure.


History

Some historians believe that Neak Pean represents Anavatapta, a mythical lake in the Himalayas whose waters are
thought to cure all illness.[3] Neak Pean was originally designed for medical purposes, as it is one of the many hospitals that Jayavarman VII built. It is 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. In the middle of the four healing ponds is the central water source. There is a statue of Bahala (Bodhisattva Guan Yin transformed into a horse), as a symbol of drowning prevention.

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