The explored & unexplored – Siem Reap – Land of Temples

Cambodia … Siem Reap …. the words remind us of magnificent temple of Angkor Wat. One of the unique sculptures built by Hindu Kings outside India.

Did you know that there are at least 10 temples around Siem Reap village that are equally beautiful, unique but relatively smaller in size?! Craftsmanship in these temples is as splendid as Angkor, perhaps even better at some places! Incidents from Hindu scriptures (Purana) are engraved everywhere. They are equally rich in intricate carvings like images of deities, characters and inscriptions.

Siem Reap (defeat of Siam1) is literally a living exposition of world class temples. These temples have been constructed during the reign of Hindu Kings like Rajendravarman, Jayavarman and others. Let’s explore a few masterpieces out of them.

Banteay Srei (Read about it in a separate article here)

Banteay Kdei

Banteay Kdei (A citadel of chambers). A mid-12th century temple with its name originating from ‘Kuti’ (abode). It’s a relatively new temple built by Jayavarman VII occupied by Buddhist monks till late 1950s. The style resembles Bayon architecture with the famous face tower featured at the entrance. The temple has been under restoration through different institutions.

Face Tower Avalokiteshvara, Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Face Tower Avalokiteshvara, Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Façade Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Façade Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Walkway, Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Walkway, Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Lions, Symbol of Royalty, Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Lions, Symbol of Royalty, Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Chambers, a view from outside.. Banteay Kdei, Siem Reap
Chambers, a view from outside.. Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Chambers, perspective.. Banteay Kdei , Siem Reap
Chambers, perspective.. Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Scale.. view from left exit,  Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Scale.. view left exit…. Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Apsaras, - Dancing celestial beauties,  Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Dancing celestial beauties (Apsaras), Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia
Dwarpala - Guard, Banteay Kdei Siem Reap
Dwarpala (Guard), Banteay Kdei #siemreap #cambodia

Pre Rup

Pre Rup ( turn the body2 ) is a Hindu temple built by Khmer king Rajendravarman during early 962. It’s a combination of mounted bricks, laterite and sandstone. These provide an amazingly roseate glow to the temple during sunrise and sunset. The ruins itself are so stunning, you can just imagine the divine feeling of witnessing the sunshine during the actual days of its glory! The square shape structure includes towers at 4 corners and centre as well. Each tower bears a statue of a deity it is dedicated to – Lakshmi, Vishnu, Shiva and Uma (Parvati). Tourists flock this place during early morning and evening hours to enjoy the bliss of sunshine. Truly an exquisite site to be!

Pre Rup front view Siem Reap
The Magnificent, awaiting light! Pre Rup #siemreap #cambodia
Intricate stone carving, Pre Rup Siem Reap
Intricate carving, Pre Rup #siemreap #cambodia
Pre Rup -Sunshine illuminating the bricks, Siem Reap
Sunshine illuminating the bricks, Pre Rup #siemreap #cambodia
Pre Rup - Spectrum from Pink to Red Siem Reap
Spectrum from Pink to Red Pre Rup #siemreap #cambodia
Pre Rup - Light effect! Siem Reap
The numinous luminous! Pre Rup #siemreap #cambodia

Prasat Kravan

A less known, less visited miniscule 10th century wonder dedicated to Lord Vishnu. A simple but graceful structure with five towers on a common terrace, built in reddish bricks. 5 beautiful bas-reliefs make this a delightful experience with an inscription on the frame.

The bas-reliefs depict Lord Vishnu with multiple incarnations.
Riding his Garuda
Four Armed Lord Vishnu
Eight Armed Lord Vishnu
A Goddess holding weaponry identity of Lord Shiva (Trident) and Vishnu (Discus)
Goddess Lakshmi (Kamala) holding Lotuses.

Prasat Kravan - Panorama Back Side Siem Reap
A minuscule grandeur… Prasat Kravan #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan - Front View - Siem Reap
Front View… Prasat Kravan #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan - Bas-relief - Lord Vishnu. Siem Reap
Bas-relief, Lord Vishnu.. Prasat Kravan.. #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan - Bas Relief - Lord Vishnu on Garuda. Siem Reap
Lord Vishnu on Garuda…. Prasat Kravan #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan -  Bas Relief - Lord Vishnu with with 8 hands. Siem Reap
Majestic Him with 8 hands… Prasat Kravan #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan- Unknown Deity with both discus and trident. Siem Reap
Deity with both discus and trident?.. Prasat Kravan.. #siemreap #cambodia
Prasat Kravan - Inscription dedicating temple to Lord Vishnu. Siem Reap
Inscription dedicating temple to Lord Vishnu… Prasat Kravan #siemreap #cambodia

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm (Ancestor Brahma) a monastery far more majestic and revered than its contemporary identity as a location in the movie Tomb Raider! Its originally known as Raj Vihara (Royal Monastery). Constructed in the Bayon style during the reign of Jayavarman VII in 12th century. It is said that this monastery and university used to be home to around 12500 people including 18 high priests and over 600 dancers. Today trees engulfing these ruins have become a unique identity of the temple. However, it is creating issues in restoring the heritage. Majority of its restoration is conducted by Archaeological Survey of India! Ta Prohm today is one of the most visited temples in the region.

Ta Prohm - Walkway from jungle . Siem Reap
Walkway towards harmony.. Ta Prohm.. #siemreap #cambodia
Ta Prohm - Side View Siem Reap
Where nature blends with the human creation! Ta Prohm #siemreap #cambodia
Ta Prohm - A beautiful figure with intricate work on headgear. Siem Reap
A beautiful figure with intricate work on headgear… Ta Prohm #siemreap #cambodia
Ta Prohm - Trees engulfing the ruins. Siem Reap
Trees engulfing the ruins.. Ta Prohm… #siemreap #cambodia
Ta Prohm - Tomb Raider Site - Siem Reap
Popular photography point …. Ta Prohm…#siemreap #cambodia #tombraider
Ta Prohm - The Rajvihara - Ancient University site - Siem Reap
The Rajvihara… Ta Prohm… #siemreap #cambodia
Archaeological Survey of India and Cambodia Joint restoration project. Ta Prohm Siem Reap
#ASI #india… Ta Prohm… #siemreap #cambodia


1) Defeat of Siam – Legends say that the name was given by Khmer King Ang Chan after he defeated Thai Army sent to invade Cambodia in 1549. There is a difference of opinion about this amongst scholars.

2) Turn the Body – It is said that this refers to rotating ashes while performing post funeral rites at a temple in Cambodian culture.

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एका देशात जन्म, दुस-या देशाचा नागरीक, तिस-याच देशात स्थायिक, २० वर्षांचे करीअर, ४ देशात नोकरी, १० हून अधिक देशात मुसाफीरी, ४ भाषांची ओळख. शिक्षक, व्यवसायिक, भाषांतरकार, हौशी गाईड, वाचक, श्रोता, वाचाळ, खादाड................. मी एक अनेक.................... Born somewhere, registered elsewhere, settled somewhere else, 20 years’ career, worked in 4 countries, travelled across 10 or more countries, communicates in 4 languages, a teacher, businessman, translator, amateur travel guide, bookworm, audiophile, loquacious, foody………… I am one many……….

9 thoughts on “The explored & unexplored – Siem Reap – Land of Temples”

  1. छान लेख . काही जागा त्यांचा इतिहास अजरामर असतो . स्थळ पाहणारे अनेक असतात पण त्यातील नक्की काय पाहायचे, कशा प्रकारे पाहायचं / अभ्यासायचं हे तुझ्या लेखातून समजतं. आणि या सर्वाना उत्तम फोटोग्राफीची जोड आहे .


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