Saturday, August 7, 2010

Banteay Chhmar

Banteay Chhmar

Constructed : Late 12th century
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism
Style : Bayon
King : Jayavarman VII ★ 1181 - 1218 ★
Location : 23Km from Sisophon and to the north-west of Angkor, this was one of the capitals of Jayavarman II. It was rebuilt during the reign of king Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his son, who was killed in battle.

Comment : Banteay Chhmar is not popular to tourists but very interesting temple located near by Thai border. Temple itself is mostly destroyed and Lost almost all of it's devatas and other bas-reliefs but some good curvings are still on the wall of galleries and gopuras.

Banteay Chhmar is the enormous plane surface development temple of the Bayon style. East west 800 meter north and south 600 meters. Inside the ruins collapse is terrible, but you can see the motif which is similar to the Bayon in the relief which barely remains.

Temple Detail : The temple complex of Banteay Chhmar was constructed by Jayavarman VII. There is debate over its origins, with some scholars suggesting it was built in tribute to Jayavarman VII’s son Indravarman and the Cambodian generals responsible for defeating the Chams, while others propose it was intended as a funerary temple for the king’s grandmother.

Originally enclosed by a 9km-long wall, the temple housed one of the largest and most impressive Buddhist monasteries of the Angkorian period. Today, it is one of the few temples to feature the enigmatic, Bayon-style visages of Avalokiteshvara, with their mysterious - and world famous - smiles. On the temple’s east side, a huge bas-relief on a partly-toppled wall dramatically depicts naval warfare between the Khmers (on the left) and the Chams (on the right), with the dead - some being devoured by crocodiles - at the bottom. Further south (to the left) are scenes of land warfare with infantry and elephants. There are more martial bas-reliefs along the exterior of the temple’s south walls.

The once-grand entry gallery is now a jumble of fallen sandstone blocks, though elsewhere a few intersecting galleries have withstood the ravages of time, as have some almost-hidden 12th-century inscriptions. All the remaining apsaras (nymphs) have been decapitated by looters. Banteay Chhmar was deservedly renowned for its intricate carvings, including scenes of daily life in the Angkorian period similar to those at Bayon.

Unique to Banteay Chhmar was a sequence of eight multi-armed Avalokiteshvaras on the outside of the southern section of the temple’s western ramparts, but six of these were hacked out and trucked into Thailand in a brazen act of looting in 1998. Still, the two that remain - one with 22 arms, the other with 32 - are spectacular.

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