Located on the bank of the Siem Reap River, the glittering modern temple Wat Preah Prohm Rath grounds gives a few hints to its 500 year history.
Though the lotus themed architecture seem to emulate temples from over the border, the front gate integrates Bayon style heads and a scene in relief of the Buddha seated under a tree, while armies fire arrows on one side and others are eaten by crocodiles on his other, that looks like it could have been taken directly from Angkorian mural. Legend holds it that the site was established around 1500 when a famous monk landed ashore on a piece of his sinking boat. The boat wood was carved into the oddly foreshortened reclining Buddha installed in a swimming pool like pit behind the imposing, yet despondent looking, seated Buddha in the main hall. Perhaps mimicking the construction materials origins the reclining Buddha has taken on a sunken slant at the feet end. A pair of small weather worn cannons on either side of the hall are of unknown origin but their style, an embossed crown-like seal and mysterious numbers suggest a European origin
The temple is located approximately 1500 meters to the south of the Royal Residence, along the Pokambor Road, fronted by a concrete bridge built in 1998 by monks and devotees to replace an antique wooden bridge destroyed in a flood in 1994. Wat Preah Prohm Rath is well-known among the people of Siem Reap as a historic and important temple, a place of prayer, learning, history, and beauty.