Lolei
Date late 9th century (893)
King Yasovarman
(posthumous name: Paramasivaloka)
Cult Brahmanic (Shiva´te)

The temple of Lolei is situated on the northern continuation of the track to Bakong, at 500 metres north of route 6. Its access track is taken therefore towards the north-west, on the left of the road from Siem Reap, just beyond the 13 kilometre marker stone and 400 metres after the track to Bakong. The turning is marked by a sign, at which one crosses 600 metres of rice fields on a dike that is usually passable by car.

Lolei is comparable in situation to the Mebon of the eastern baray, forming an island in the middle of the Indratataka - a large reservoir of 3,800 metres east-west by 800 north-south - whose excavation started, so the inscriptions tell us, five days after the consecration of Indravarman I, in order to provide the capital city (Hariharalaya) with water and to irrigate the surrounding plains.

The stele explains that the temple was dedicated to Indravarmesvara in memory of Yasovarman's father - it constituted, according to Mr Cœdes, the foundation charter of a series of identical hermitages, all with the name Yasodharasrama, which were constructed by order of the king in the year of his accession.

The appearance of the monument is marred by the unfortunate presence of various pagoda buildings. In the middle of these stand the towers, though the monks have taken the liberty of making a number of alterations and demolitions, mainly to the arrangement of the terraces, that render the original layout barely visible.

The composition is formed of two tiers whose laterite retaining walls are breached by four axial stairways. These have their side walls embellished with lions and flanked with gargoyles that evacuate the rainwater from the upper terrace.

The first tier is 9m.00 in overall width, leaving a surrounding verge of 2m.00 to the exterior - its edge is trimmed with a half-cylindrical surround that recalls the body of the nagas lying on the ground. The second, of 90m.00 east west by 80 north-south and 2m.40 in height, with its 2m.40 wide border, is defined by an enclosure wall. Having been back-filled, this has now become the retaining wall for the platform that carries four brick towers - which must originally have stood on a common plinth that is now buried.

Arranged in two rows, the towers to the east dominate - though they all have four upper tiers. Their coating of stucco in lime based mortar has completely disappeared. The best preserved is the tower in the north-east corner - the upper part of the south-west tower has crumbled. The siting of the two northern towers, that are axial on the east-west stairways, suggests an original arrangement consisting of two lines of three towers like those at Prah Ko - two of them either remaining unbuilt or having already been demolished - like the annexe buildings, if there ever were any.

All the characteristics of Prah Ko can be found again at Lolei, except that here the door openings are cut, as at Bakong, from a monolith. The motifs of the corner piers are the same - with dvarapalas on the east row and devatas on the west, sheltered within "palatial" arcature and sculpted in a block of sandstone that is set into the brickwork. The devatas are quite close in style to those of the Bakheng, with which they are almost contemporaneous - and the one in the north-east corner, east side, of the north-west tower is remarkably well preserved. The decoration of the panels and of the false doors, with their multiple figurines, is already more detailed than those which one finds at Bakong and Prah Ko, while the mascarons have disappeared.

The lintels are as good as those on the other two temples, and still present fine qualities of composition, craftsmanship and animation - though several have deteriorated or disappeared. One can see on the north-east tower; - above the opening, Indra on an elephant with tiny figures crowding the decoration and a branch of nagas disgorged by small makaras, and then, on the north and south fašades, (the latter being quite deteriorated) a divinity above a head of Kala, with the curious motif which one also finds at Baksei Chamkrong and the eastern Mebon of the branch terminating in a Ganesha riding his own trunk that has been transformed into a mount, - on the south-east tower,(40) above the east opening, Vishnou on Garuda with a branch ending in a naga motif, and, to the north, a divinity on a head of Kala, some small riders, and a branch terminated by makaras disgorging lions, - on the north-west tower, the east lintel, with its deeply cut ornamentation, is surmounted by a minutely detailed frieze.

The sanctuary chambers are large and square in plan, each side measuring 4m.50 for the first row and 4m.00 for the second.

The door openings have their jambs inscribed. Their colonnettes - similar to those at Prah Ko - are starting to become complicated by the multiplication of leaves that decorate the bands.