Phnom Da is located in Prek Ta Phor village, Kork Thalork commune, Angkor Borei district, about 24 kilometers east of Takeo provincial town by water canal or about 102 kilometers south of Phnom Penh by the road. This part of the country is flooded six months of the year, during the rainy season, and dry the rest of the year. Phnom Da is a cultural, historical site that has been renovated to provide visitors a place to relax or research Cambodian history. The scenery is beautiful all year. In the rainy season, there is a vast water basin that produces lush, green rice paddies during the dry season.
Phnom Da temple was built on the top of a small hill in 6th century by King Rutravarman, who reigned during the Norkor Phnom period, according to the French historian Mibreno. The temple is 12 meters square and 18 meters high. It was constructed of laterite, brick and sandstone. A Brahman temple, it faces north towards Norkor Kork Thalork, which was the capital of Nokor Phnom at the time the temple was built. There is no rampart.
The temple’s peak is damaged, and a sculpture depicting the story of Churning of the Ocean of Milk(Cambodian calls Ko Samutra Teuk Dos) has been broken into two parts. A lintel illustrates the figure of sleeping Vishnu. There are false doors on three sides and a real door that opens on the north side.
In the flank of the hill are five man-made caves that reflect the style of Phnom Da, which is similar to India style. In each cave, there is a Shiva lingam and Uma yoni, objects that Brahmans worship. During the Pol Pot regime, between 1975 and 1979, the caves were used as cremation places by the Khmer Rouge.
About 300 meters southwest of the temple is another smaller temple known as Asrom Moha Eysei. Built at the end of the 6th century in Zhenla Period, during the reign of King Pavavarman I, the temple has five windows and two doors. It is 5.5 meters square and 7 meters high, it is built in the
Indian style and features a double wall of basalt that faces north.In 1992, a number of clergymen and nuns built a pagoda south of the hill. It is called Phnom Da pagoda.Nearly three decades of war have left the road from Phnom Chiso to Angkor Borei district in poor condition; during the rainy season, flooding makes it impassable. Nevertheless, the site attracts foreign tourists and many Cambodians interested in researching Cambodian history during the Koh
Kork Thlork Period.After 1979, the Takeo provincial authority constructed a canal, Canal 15, which links Takeo provincial town to Angkor Borei district. This has made access easier since the road between Angkor Borei and Phnom Da is still difficult to travel, especially during the rainy season, when it floods.
This site is believed to be the cradle of Khmer civilization. The Funanese built these temples at a time when they controlled modern-day southern Vietnam and Cambodia. Built from bricks, sandstone and lateritic since 4-6th century, Phnom Da is situated on a 50 meters hill, with stairs at its north eastern corner. Take a boat there from Takeo town-the trip takes about 50 minutes in wet season, or hour and a half in the dry. It costs about $US30. Or by road, turn off National road 2 at Phnom Chihor and follow the road to the town with two names, Prey Lovea town of Prey Kabbas district, then go south about 35 km along a dirt road to the town of Angkor Borei. Phnom Da and Phnom Borei are another five kilometers from town.