Built by Jayavarman VII before the end of the 12th century,
this monument - Neak Poan or the entwined naga - is an artificial
island, measuring 350 meters on each side, built in the
middle of a reservoir which is also man made. The modern
name, Neak Poan, comes from the motif of serpents encircling
the base of the central sanctuary.
Central sanctuary on the island in the central pond.
Apsara decorating one of the four side sanctuaries
An inscription notes that it
is "a sacred island, drawing its charm from its ponds
and clearing away the sins of those who approach it".
The ponds in question number four. They were fed by a complex
system of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic fountains. The
mysterious curative function of its waters was all the more
so, given that the myth of the deliverance of a group of
shipwrecked sailors by the horse Balaha, a form of Lokesvara,
is represented here.
The reservoir, which measured 3500 meters by 900 meters,
was originally called Jayatataka or "the reservoir
of Jaya [varman VII]". Its modern name is Veal Reach
Dak or "plain of the royal reservoir", revealing
the collective historical memory of the inhabitants of Angkor
who are aware that its four cornered form originate from
a Baray, a royal hydraulic project which today lies dry.