Endless Frame Photography

Sunday Series: Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei is a 10th century Hindu temple tucked away in the deep and steamy jungles of Cambodia. Part of the legendary Ankor Wat complex its reputation may not be as well known, yet almost all who visit Ankor Wat will also visit this Khmer-era relic.

       Banteay Srei is a 10th century Hindu temple tucked away in the deep and steamy jungles of Cambodia. Part of the legendary Ankor Wat complex its reputation may not be as well known, yet almost all who visit Ankor Wat will also visit this Khmer-era relic. The history of Ankor reads like something from a fantasy novel; a massive city covering over 1000 square kilometers was swallowed by the jungle hundreds of years ago, lost and vanished from the knowledge of man. Only to be re-discovered and rebuilt miraculously over the last hundred years, a city out of time, an ancient remnant of a bygone civilization. These recovery efforts however were deeply hindered by the Khmer Rouge and the autocratic, Pol Pot, who only passed away as recently as 1998. The nearest city to the ruins is that of Phnom Penh, but the infrastructure in this part of the world is so poor, that no paved roads exists among the primeval complex, and although groups are available it is best toured individually via tuk tuk.

Tuk Tuk

Rodhi the fearless and (semi) knowledgeableTuk Tuk Driver

        This temple in particular is one of the best known and perhaps one of the best preserved. Banteay Srei, unlike other massive temples in the area is almost miniature in size and is easily toured in less than an hour. The reason for its reputation however, is not its diminutive size, but rather the intricacies of its carvings. Built entirely from pink sandstone, it has a much different look and feel that sets it apart from its contemporaries. Our driver told us that it was a “women’s temple” built entirely by women laborers, which was his explanation for both the fine carvings as well as the pink sandstone. However, I have not found any verification of this claim. This small gem, a pink bastion in the jungle, somehow retained the beautiful art displayed upon its walls. What a gift it is that such craftsmanship can remain after so long, and in such harsh conditions. It is truly a testament to the strength and power of the Khmer empire. It is staggering and almost beyond human comprehension to try and understand the true age of these carvings. Preserved in time, it is both simultaneously easy and impossible to put myself in the shoes of those who walked these halls over 1000 years prior. I find my mind thinking about Ankor, about a city that has somehow escaped its fate, and has risen again in other time, a future so distant it might as well have been raised in a completely different place. Just as soon as this train of thought reaches its conclusion, I rejoin my surroundings and at once the howl of the jungle returns. Its oppressive heat re-envelopes my body, and I think of how easily this place can disappear from time again, become swallowed once more.

Camera: Olympus SP-500UZ

*Note click images or view gallery for both more photos and higher resoloution.

Banteay_Srei_TempleBanteay_Srei: CarvingsBanteay_Srei: CarvingsBanteay_Srei: Cracked Column Banteay_Srei: ColumnBanteay_Srei: ElephantBanteay_Srei: CrestBanteay_Srei: CarvingsBanteay_Srei: CarvingsBanteay_Srei: Carvings

 

Advertisements
This entry was published on December 9, 2012 at 8:12 am. It’s filed under Nature, Sunday Series and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Series: Banteay Srei

  1. Did you check out Ta Prohm while you were in Cambodia? That place is spellbinding ~

    • I believe so, judging by the pictures. You know its soo diffi cult to keep all the names straight. But like I said I was there for 3 days and saw soooo many freakin temples.
      I wish I could return, with my DSLR this time and a better eye

      • Yeah, I feel the same way. I went with only a point and shoot digital camera. I’d love to go back with my Canon AE-1 or Holga. Ta Prohm, by the way, is the temple with the huge trees growing out of it. I’m sure you stopped by there on the Angkor Wat tour ~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: