Siem Reap Vistior Guide 59th

a Hindu temple, it has served as a Buddhist temple since Buddhism became Cambodia’s dominant reli- gion in the 14th century. Some say that it is good luck to pay homage to all four Buddha images before departing Angkor. The northern reflecting pool in front of Angkor Wat is the most popular (and crowded) sunrise location. The sun rises behind Angkor Wat providing a silhouette of the temple’s distinctively shaped towers against a col- ored sky. Some of the best colors appear just before the sun breaks over the horizon. The visual impact of Angkor Wat , particularly on one's first visit, is awesome. As you pass through the outer gate and get your first glimpse, its size and architecture make it appear two dimensional, like a giant post- card photo against the sky. After you cross through the gate and approach the temple along the walkway it slowly gains depth and complexity. To maximize this effect you should make your first visit in optimal light- ing conditions, after 2:00PM when the sun is on the face of the temple. Do not make your first visit to Angkor Wat in the morning when the backlighting obscures the view. Baksei Chamkrong t R)asaTbkSIcaMRkug Constructed: Mid 10 th century C.E. Religion: Hindu (Shiva) King/Patron: Harshavarman I Style: Bakheng

A towering 12-meter tall brick and laterite step-pyramid. Harshavarman I began con- struction or perhaps dedicated statues at the site in the early 10th century. It was later improved/restored by Rajendravarman II shortly after the capital was returned to Angkor from Koh Ker. According to inscriptions on the doorway, Rajendravarman II consecrated the temple with the installation of a golden Shiva image in 947AD. It may have also served as a funerary temple. Combine with a visit to the South Gate R)asaTbnÞaykþI Constructed: Late 12 th - Early 13 th century C.E. Religion: Buddhist King/Patron: Jayavarman VII Style: Angkor Wat/Bayon Sprawling, largely unrestored, monastic complex in much the same style as Ta Prohm . It was originally constructed over the site of an earlier temple, and functioned as a Buddhist monastery under Jayavarman VII. As with other works of Jayavarman VII's era, it is a tightly packed architectural muddle, which like Bayon , suffered from several changes in the plans at the time of construction. It was also built using an inferior grade of sandstone and using poor construction techniques, leading to much of the deteriora-

in the morning or Phnom Bakheng in the evening. Lighting is best in the morning. Banteay Kdei tt

tion visible today. A restoration project is underway on many of the towers and corridors, and some areas are blocked off. The foundation stele of the temple has not been found so there is no record of to whom it is dedicated. The 13 th cen- tury vandalism of Buddha images that is seen on many Jayavarman VII temples is quite apparent on Banteay Kdei . Combine with a visit to Srah Srang, which is just opposite the east entrance. Banteay Prei t R)asaTbnÞayéRB Constructed: Late 12 th - Early 13 th century C.E. Religion: Buddhist King/Patron: Jayavarman VII Style: Bayon

Small, untouristed temple near Neak Pean . Similar to Ta Som in architectural/artis- tic style and scale. Surrounded by a moat. Some of the apsara and Buddhist-themed lintel carvings are in pretty good condition. Oddly small doors and windows. Quiet, meditative spot.


Banteay Samre t

Constructed: Mid 12 th century C.E. King/Patron: Suryavarman II Style: Angkor Wat Large, comparatively flat temple displaying distinctively Angkor Wat-style archi- tecture and artistry. The temple underwent extensive restoration this century by archaeologists using the anastylosis method. Banteay Samre was constructed around the same time as Angkor Wat . The style of the towers and balustrades bear strong resemblance to the towers of Angkor Wat and even more so to Khmer temple of Phimai in Thailand. Many of the carvings are in excellent con- Religion: Hindu (Vishnu)

dition. Banteay Samre is a bit off the Grand Circuit, near the southeast corner of the East Baray . The trip there is a nice little 3km road excursion through villages and paddies. Combine a visit to Banteay Srey with a stop at Banteay Samre on the way back.

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