Angkor Day 2

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Bantey Srei. This temple was smaller than many of the other temples. It's sweeping architecture and intricate carvings lead historians to believe it was carved by women.

Today we hired a tuk-tuk driver to get us to several temples outside of bike range.  Bantey Srei, Kbal Spean, and Bantey Samre.

Bantey Srei is a remarkably small temple--better proportioned for children than adults.  Its compact nature reminded me of a playhouse version of other temples we'd seen, but the flowing architecture and intricate carvings were beautiful.  The modern name, Bantey Srei, means "Citadel of the Women", as the unique nature of its art-style appears far more feminine than others in the area.  The temple's original name, translated from an inscription, was Tribhuvanamahesvara, which means "Great Lord of the Threefold World", referring in this case to Shiva, to which the temple was dedicated.

Kbal Spean isn't technically a temple, but a place.

Brahma sitting on a lotus.
  Stung Kbal Spean (Kbal Spean River) is a tributary of the Siem Reap river that originates from an outlying hill near the holy Kulen Mountain.  Along the river, just above a small waterfall, images of gods, animals and linga are carved into the stone.  The large number of linga, carved in rows along the riverbed, gave the place the nikname, Sahasralinga, 'River of a Thousand Lingas'.  The area wasn't nearly as impressive as we'd hoped, but the hike was lovely.

Bantey Samre is relatively isolated from many of the other main structures and receives fewer visitors. No inscriptions have been discovered, so information on it's history is lacking, but historians estimate it to have been built in the early 12th century.

Bantey Samre in the rain.
 When we arrived the temple had one or two other visitors plus a half-dozen Cambodian children. The clouds were darkening and we could hear thunder, creating an impression of mystery and isolation.

As usual the children came to us with false puppy-eyes, strained attempts to look downtrodden, and the ubiquitous whinny voices, badgering us to buy postcards or books or to give them money.  But by now we knew the drill and as soon as the rain started falling, the children began to laugh, run, dance and play.  It was a pleasure to watch the victims these children play every day wash away with the rain.

If you've met us personally, you know how emotionally sensitive we are.  You know how much we empathize with the plight of people in need, often to a fault, especially children.

What you see when the 'victim' gets washed away by the rain.
  After just 2 days being emotionally manipulated in Siem Reap, we had little sympathy left.  If you go there, don't give the children money, play with them.  Don't fall prey to the illusion of cuteness they try to evoke by telling you what the capital of your country is, or that Arnold Schwartznegger has big muscles.  Ask them to tell you about the temple they stand in front of every day.  Dance with them, talk to them, spend actual time with them, even if it's just for a few minutes.  Get under that victim's disguise and find out a little of who they really are.  Then if you must, buy a folded paper flower, but know that recognizing them as a person, and helping them to see you the same way, will last far longer.

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Bantey Srei. This temple was small…
Bantey Srei. This temple was smal…
Brahma sitting on a lotus.
Brahma sitting on a lotus.
Bantey Samre in the rain.
Bantey Samre in the rain.
What you see when the victim get…
What you see when the 'victim' ge…
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
House on the road to Bantey Srei.
Our tuk-tuk driver and the ubiquit…
Our tuk-tuk driver and the ubiqui…
Megs at the entrance to Bantey Sre…
Megs at the entrance to Bantey Sr…
Interestingly enough, this is the …
Interestingly enough, this is the…
A makara breathes out a 5-headed n…
A makara breathes out a 5-headed …
Though small, the carvings on each…
Though small, the carvings on eac…
Fire in the Kandhava Forest
Fire in the Kandhava Forest
5-headed nagas were common here. 7…
5-headed nagas were common here. …
The three sactuary towers of Bante…
The three sactuary towers of Bant…
A makara corner-stone.
A makara corner-stone.
These kneeling statures had human …
These kneeling statures had human…
A lintel depicting a Kala; a demon…
A lintel depicting a Kala; a demo…
Between stops we had to get gas. T…
Between stops we had to get gas. …
Entrance to Kbal Spean
Entrance to Kbal Spean
A little visitor.
A little visitor.
River of a Thousand Lingas. These …
River of a Thousand Lingas. These…
The river was flowing, but low, le…
The river was flowing, but low, l…
This carving of a reclining Vishnu…
This carving of a reclining Vishn…
Watching this was suprisingly dist…
Watching this was suprisingly dis…
Another reclining Vishnu
Another reclining Vishnu
The countryside.
The countryside.
Megan giving kids some Cambodian L…
Megan giving kids some Cambodian …
Countryside.
Countryside.
Countryside.
Countryside.
Bantey Samre
Bantey Samre
Note the storm clouds.  It was bea…
Note the storm clouds. It was be…
One of the entry platforms in Bant…
One of the entry platforms in Ban…
Khmer lions guarding an entrace, a…
Khmer lions guarding an entrace, …
These huge stones were carried by …
These huge stones were carried by…
Khmer lions flanked 3 sides of thi…
Khmer lions flanked 3 sides of th…
Rich in Bantey Samre as it starts …
Rich in Bantey Samre as it starts…
Bantey Samre in the rain.
Bantey Samre in the rain.
Megs
Megs
Megs in the rain.
Megs in the rain.
One of the many children playing i…
One of the many children playing …
Peeping.
Peeping.
I eventually got this girl to drop…
I eventually got this girl to dro…
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling