Siem Reap Vistior Guide 59th



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Banteay Srey ttt

Constructed: Late 10 th century C.E. King/Patron: Rajendravarman Style: Banteay Srey Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carv- ings. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists comparative- ly late in their research, not until in 1914. Banteay Srey was built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, con- structed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman, Religion: Hindu (Shiva)

and later under Jayavarman V. The temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art - the walls densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance. The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM. The temple area closes at 5:00 PM. Banteay Srey lies 38 km from Siem Reap, requiring extra travel time. Drivers usually charge a fee in addi- tion to their normal daily charge for the trip. Banteay Srey is well worth the extra effort. Combine a visit to Banteay Srey with Banteay Samre . Baphuon tt R)asaT)aBY n Constructed: Mid 11 th century C.E. Religion: Hindu King/Patron: Udayadityavarman II Style: Baphuon Angkor Thom: Large temple-mountain in Angkor Thom . Recently reopened after an extensive and troubled restoration. The project began in the early 1970s with archaeologists dismantling much it, but abandoned in 1975 due the war. The records were lost during the war years, leaving an enormous jigsaw puzzle of rock. The restoration restarted in the 1990s and the temple finally reopened in 2011. Note the unique animal carvings at the walkway entrance. Similar carvings are visible on West Mebon. Also note the impressively large reclining Buddha on the west side, which was added to the temple in the 16th century. Barays t )arayN¾

A ‘baray’ is a water reservoir - an area of land where dikes have been raised to catch and hold water. Beginning in the 9th century, the con- struction of massive barays and other such grand projects became one of the marks of Angkorian kingship. There are four major barays in the area. When the barays were constructed, an island temple was set at the center of each. The first major baray to be constructed was Indratataka by Yasovarman I, measuring 3.8km x 880m and completed in 889AD when the capital was still at Hariharalaya near Roluos. Lolei (Roluos

Group) sat on an island in the middle. Construction of the second major baray, the East Baray ( Yashodharatataka ,) began almost immediately after. At 7.8km x 880m it was almost five times larger than the Indratataka . Almost 50 years later, the temple East Mebon was constructed on an island in the center. The third and largest baray (8km x 2.2km) is the West Baray built in the early 11th century. Unlike the oth- ers, the West Baray is still partially filled, creating a sizable lake. The temple ruins of West Mebon sit on an artificial island at the center of the baray (requiring a short boat ride to visit.) The last baray ( Jayatataka ) was constructed by Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. It is considered to be the baray of Preah Khan though it is Neak Pean that actually sits at the center. The function of barays is a matter of academic debate. Some argued the barays did not serve an agricultural purpose but were maintained solely for polit- ical/religious reasons. Conventional wisdom has it that the barays were part of a giant waterworks used to irrigate the rice paddies and provide water for year round cultivation, though they certainly served a politi- cal and religious function as well.

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Bat Chum t

Constructed: Mid 10 th century C.E. King/Patron: Rajendravarman Style: Pre Rup Trio of small brick towers on a platform with two surviving lintels in pretty good condition. Bat Chum is a historically unique early Buddhist temple constructed at a time when Hinduism dominated. The inscriptions on the doorways note the Buddhist dedication, praise the architect (who was also the architect for East Mebon and Pre Rup ,) and admonishes local elephant handlers to keep their Religion: Buddhist

beasts off the dikes, like an ancient 'keep off the grass' sign.

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