Tep Pranam, pronounced "Teb Pranomm", is located just 100 metres behind the Terrace of the Leper king at the Angkor Thom main car park. Tep Pranam today is first and formost a Budhhist place of worship, it is of minor historical or artistic significance. Tep Pranam means "worshipping god". There may have been a first Buddhist monastery from the end of the ninth century at this location, built by the first Khmer king residing in Angkor, Yashovarman I.
A 75 metres long and 8 metres wide laterite causeway built by Angkor Thom founder Jayavarman VII is the main architectural attraction. It was flanked by Naga balustrades, as usual. The guardian lions from the 13th century are in a good condition.
The statue of the Buddha on the principal platform is from the 16th century, when Cambodia already had been a Theravada Buddhist culture for centuries. It is a popular object of worship. Buddha is depicted in the famous Bhumisparsha Mudra, touching the earth with his right hand. It indicates the moment of his enlightment, as it refers to the earth goddess as witness that he was not tempted by the wicked Mara to refrain from focussing his mind on salvation. The statue's body was built by re-using sanstone blocks from older monuments. The head is from a later time. A Buddha head was kept hidden in a hole in the pedestal during the times of civil war and art theft. A 4 metres tall standing Buddha is placed under a cement roof behind the main sanctuary.
Be aware: Pupils of a nearby monastery school are often waiting in this area. They will give some explanations to tourists, but will ask for a dollar for exercise books or pens afterwards.
Tep Pranam should be visited in the morning. The ticket will not be checked here, but it is mandatory for access to Angkor Thom.