Friday, June 1, 2007
One of my favourite temples outside the Angkor region is Banteay Chhmar, still rarely-visited due to its location near the Cambodian-Thai border but housing some of those magical giant smiling faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara - or Jayarvarman VII depending on your point of view - that you see at The Bayon, some friezes and carvings in good nick, combined with other areas in dramatic ruin. Two of the multi-armed Lokesvara wall carvings remain in situ - the photo above is of yours truly next to one of them near the western entrance, taken in January 2005 - and the temple is well worth a visit. Get some of the local children to take you round, if they're not at school, and also try and find the other eight satellite temples that are all within 500 metres of the main complex. Read about my last visit to Banteay Chhmar here. An article of mine about the temple is in the current edition of the HeritageWatch magazine, TouchStone.