• Stockholm Stockholm
    5 year resident, to guide around the local wonders
  • French Polynesia French Polynesia
    6 islands in the South Seas
  • some image Tokyo Tour
    1-day walk around the best spots
  • Japanese Wedding Japanese Wedding
    The dark side of the rising sun
  • Skyline Hong Kong
    Skylines, bar streets, markets & islands
  • some image Fashion shopping in Tokyo
    The best souvenir of Japan is not omiyage
  • Sydney Opera Australia
    Sydney's NYE, Gold Coast & Great Barrier Reef
  • Gecko Hawaii
    Aloha nature wonders
  • Yakushima Yakushima
    Hiking the Princess Mononoke Forest
  • Ishigaki Lighthouse Ishigaki
    Okinawa's shades of blue
  • Yuki Matsuri Hokkaido
    Powder Snow Festival
  • Daikanyama Daikanyama
    Tokyo's SoHo
  • Cosplayer Comiket
    The Biggest Cosplay Event
  • Cherry Tree Blossom Hanami (花見)
    Sakura by the skyscrapers
  • Hiroshima bomb time Hiroshima
    The Bomb & Miyajima
  • top of mount fuji guide to climb Japan
    Top of Mt.Fuji
  • Kyoto & Nara Nara & Kyoto
    Ciervos nadando en lagos de roca
  • Formentera House Formentera
    Mediterranean Sun

31.5.18

Angkor VIP tour - Banteay Kdei「ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយក្តី」

Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei「ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយក្តី」
  • Date: Early 13th century
  • Style: Bayon
  • Highlights: Just opposite to Srah Sang, delivers a contrasting view of ruined temple where the shades of nature alternate with the changing colours of the stone. Completely ruined but at the same time well preserved. One of our favourites.
The Khmer Empire lasted from 802 to 1431, the religion changed. It started under Hindu beliefs up to the end of the 12th century, when it turned into 'lesser vehicle' aka Theravada Buddhism. This last period was a time when temples of grandeur came to be built, like Bayon or Angkor Wat.

The closer an Empire comes to its end, the larger the constructions it dares to build.

Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Many walls are decorated with apsaras: beautiful, supernatural female beings, youthful, elegant and superb dancers. Kind of the angels of Indian mythology, but a bit more sexualised I reckon.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
The Buddha image at the entrance to the moat is the only one well preserved.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
The temple used to be rich in statues but as of today most of them are either stolen or destroyed.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
The Hall of Dancers has four open courtyards, pillars crossed by vaults and fine carvings of apsaras. It is made of laterite a rock type rich in iron and aluminium commonly formed in hot and wet tropical areas (between the tropics). Due to its composition, the gorgeous changing shades pictured appear over time. Laterite is relatively soft and easy to be cut into blocks when freshly retrieved from the ground, however after being exposed to sun and air it becomes extremely hard and durable.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
The inner enclosure has 4 corner towers finished into small Gopura or sanctuary towers which we all associate with Khmer architecture, featuring several storeys progressively reducing in width that represent the concentric levels of Mount Meru aka the house of gods in Indian mythology.

When the idea is taken to the extreme we see the temple mountain where enclosures represent the mountain chains surrounding Mount Meru, while the moat represents the ocean. The structure takes shape as a pyramid of several levels, the home of the gods being the most elevated sanctuary at the center of the temple, like we will see in Baphuon, Pre Rup, Ta Keo and Angkor Wat.

Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
When exploring the narrow galleries, it is important to bear in mind that Khmer temples were never intended to be a meeting place for the faithful, but the palace of a God, who was enshrined there to allow him to bestow his beneficence - particularly to the temple founder and his family. Hence the many galleries and hidden figures, turning an actual temple into a condo for deities where the main God owned the central obviously best unit.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
The vaults built in sandstone and laterite have collapsed at several locations of the gallery, giving the site an extra charm.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
On the way out, local artisans sell their creations in a much nicer environment than the city.
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
Banteay Kdei temple, ancient Angkor
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