One of the bull sculptures in front of the base platform
The temple was officially called
Paramesvara, a name which means Supreme God and usually
designates Shiva. Here, however, the name Paramesvara also
is the posthumous name of King Jayavarman II, the founder
of the Angkorian empire. Preah Ko was dedicated by Indravarman
in 879 AD (CE) to the memory of Jayavarman II, represented
in the central sanctuary of the eastern side of the base
platform. The side towers were dedicated to the ancestors
of Indravarman himself.
The rectangular area enclosing the monument measures about
500 meters by 400 meters. The western section may also have
once contained other buildings made of less durable materials
which served as houses for ordinary inhabitants.
The temple of Preah Ko initiated the tradition of temples
dedicated to ancestors which each subsequent Angkorian king
had to build, preferably before constructing the temple
which would be dedicated to his own destined cult.
From an artistic point of view, we should try to imagine
the six sanctuaries of the platform covered in white, finely
carved stucco. One can still see remaining sections of this
covering which allows us to glimpse the great refinement
which the sculptures of the temple once had.