I woke up not so early today, and ambled out to meet Phirun only after
taking a civilized cup of coffee. Today was to be another Temple day, a
day spent amongst Apsara and Assei (dancing girls and wise men,
respectively) We headed out, stopping for gas, then leaving Siem
first heading east, then north. The chuff and clang of the city
quickly gave way to rice paddies and stilt houses. We stopped first at
Pre Rup, lovely in the morning light.
Then it was northeast through the village of Phom Pradak and out to the
somewhat more remote site of Banteay Srei. This temple is home to
of the best carvings to be seen at Angkor, if not the world. No surface
is left undecorated. Banteay Srei translates to "Citadel of the Woman"
and popular lore has it that a woman must have built it as the carvings
are too fine to have been executed by a man. Whatever the case may be,
it is a lovely, lovely place and shouldn't be missed, no matter how
templed-out one might feel. Dedicated to Shiva, contruction began
in 967. The temple complex sits under tall trees
and there are a few ponds filled with water lily blooms.
Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009