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West Baray – Resevoir


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The Western Baray is the larger of the 2 main reservoirs constructed during the Khmer empire and was built during the reigns of king Suryavarman I and his successor, king Udayadityavarman II – around the 11th Century.

Western Baray from the West during dry season

Western Baray from the West during dry season

Like the eastern Baray, it is rectangular in shape however both longer and wider, measuring an impressive 8 by 2.1 kilometres. Also, unlike the Eastern Baray, it still functions as a reservoir, being partially full all year round and completely full during the rainy season.

At its centre sits the West Mebon, a Hindu temple built on an artificial island that during rainy season requires a boat to visit.

The size and scale of the both the western and eastern Baray’s should not be underestimated, the smaller eastern Baray contained 50 million cubic meters of water and the Western Baray even more. Its waters are contained by tall earthen dikes, which are an engineering marvel in them selves – the smaller eastern Baray’s dikes contain roughly 8 million cubic meters of fill alone.

A truly remarkable feat given its age of construction, a testament to this is the fact that in the past the western Baray had occasionally served as a landing site for seaplanes.