Banteay Srey

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June 22nd 2005
Published: June 22nd 2005
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Banteay SreyBanteay SreyBanteay Srey

The temples in this complex were definately smaller, but so intricate.
Today we found my favorite temple: Banteay Srey. It's an hour away by tuk tuk, and I wouldn't want to try that bumpy road perched on the back of a moto after the Bokor experience. Since I suppose most of my readers don't have the Cambodian Lonely Planet handy, and the book can put it much better than I, I'm including a quote here: "Banteay Srei is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. Considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, the temple is cut from stone of a pinkish hue and includes some of the finest stone carving seen anywhere on the planet... Banteay Srei means "Citidel of the Women" and it is said that it must have been built by a woman, as the elaborate carvings are too fine for the touch of a man." Most of the Hindu temples we have visited have lingas (described in guide books as phallic symbols and basically just a big stone phallus). Banteay Srey had flowers on pedastels in the entrances instead of lingas, yonic symbols if I've ever seen one. Besides all the female power emenating from the temple, the ride out to it was beautiful.
Banteay Srey CarvingsBanteay Srey CarvingsBanteay Srey Carvings

The carvings above the doors included lots of elephants and flowers, which is probably why I liked them so much.
The villages we passed through were quaint, all the yards were swept clean and the cows were fat. We got caught in rush hour on out way out, but luckily the crowd was streaming the other way - towards Siem Reap. We passed hundreds of people on bicycles, the women with their heads wrapped in the traditional Khmer krama (scarf) and them men joking and laughing together. Overall it was a very fun morning and we managed to avoid all the crowds once again. Anisa suggested I go see Angkor Wat tonight because the sunset throws perfect light on the temple and I will have a chance to see what a real crowd of Angkor tourists looks like. With her itineraries I was beginning to doubt there were any other tourists here. After Banteay Srey we went to Banteay Samre, then back into the main complex to see Bayon again. I hadn't walked around the outer wall to see the carvings there before. I finally had my artwork question answered when I found a wall of unfinished carvings. Answer: the building and walls are assembled and the carving done in place. I still would guess most of the pillars and
Banteay SamreBanteay SamreBanteay Samre

This was a much larger complex with several layers of walls and corriders before you see in inner temple. It reminded Anisa of the movie Labyrinth.
statues were carved elsewhere. So, tonight I must say goodbye to the temples. It has been an incredible trip and i hope it will all sink in soon.

Additional photos below
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Bayon CircusBayon Circus
Bayon Circus

There were lots of battle scenes and everday life scenes on the outer walls of Bayon, but I liked the circus. Note the man holding three little people and the man on his back spinning a wheel with his feet.

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