Banteay Kdei

March 1, 2009

in Angkor Temples

Temple Name: Banteay Kdei
Notable Features: Wonderul Buddhist bas-reliefs.
Getting There: From Siem Reap, take the road to Angkor Wat. Turn right at Angkor Wat’s moat. You will see Banteay Kdei on your left, across from the man-made water reservoir Srah Srang.

A Fallen Monastery

King Jayavarman VII constructed Banteay Kdei sometime in the late 12th century. The temple sits on the western shore of Srah Srang, an ancient man-made water reservoir. Today, Banteay Kdei is largely unrestored, and appears much as it did when it was first discovered by early explorers.

Banteay Kdei was originally erected as a Buddhist monastery. Bas-reliefs depicting the deities and principles of Buddhism can be seen throughout the temple. The carvings look wonderful against the haphazard appearance of the swarming jungle vegetation and the fallen stones of Banteay Kdei.

The sandstone used to support Banteay Kdei is of inferior grade, resulting in weak, unreliable structures. Additionally, some of the building techniques employed to construct the temple were sloppily executed. These elements, along with the claws of time, have resulted in Banteay Kdei’s current state of advanced ruin. But don’t be mislead. Banteay Kdei’s ruined appearance doesn’t take away from the temple’s charm and beauty. Many travelers prefer the more ‘ruined’ temples, as opposed to the neatly preserved ones. Hiking through the fallen stones of Banteay Kdei will affect you with the same charm that must’ve affected the early explorers.

Banteay Kdei is similar in design to the more popular Ta Prohm, which is also a vastly unrestored temple that has been swallowed by the jungle. Because Banteay Kdei is not as richly ornamented as Ta Prohm, it does not receive as much tourist traffic. Furthermore, Ta Prohm is more consumed by nature, which has made it one of the most photographed destinations in Cambodia. But if you’re looking for a less touristed alternative to Ta Prohm, then Banteay Kdei is worth a visit

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