Towers of Lolei
Inscriptions on a door jamb
Built in two tiers, the island
on which the temple is found is itself located in the middle
(but to the north along a north south axis) of the first
great Baray of the region, the Indratataka. This large reservoir,
measuring 3,800 meters by 800 meters, bears the name of
its constructor, Indravarman (the father of Yasovarman)
who began to build the reservoir on the fifth day following
his coronation, as recorded in a Sanskrit inscription.
The inscriptions in Khmer which can still be admired on
all the door jambs present an exceptional interest for two
reasons. Their calligraphy is in itself a work of art, a
fact noted with emphasis by the first scientific explorers
of the 1860s. The inscriptions also provide us with a wealth
of details concerning the moment chosen for the consecration
of the temple, as well as elaborating on the delicate division
of tasks carried out by the several hundred servants attached
to each tower.
The name Lolei is really a phonetic corruption, commonly
used in Siem Reap Province, of Harihara + alay, the name
of the first 9th century Angkorian capital centered around
present day Roluos. Even after constructing the island and
its sanctuaries, Yasovarman still had the idea to move his
capital to the region of Phnom Bakheng, about fourteen kilometers
to the northwest of Lolei, site of the future city of Yasodhara.
It is not implausible that Yasovarman was building at
Lolei while moving his capital at the same time. The choice
to establish Lolei at the center of the Indratataka at this
time was of specific symbolic meaning and significance since
it put the dedicated object (Lolei dedicated to Indravarman)
at the heart of the work of the one to whom it was dedicated
(the Indratataka built by Indravarman).