Sunday, September 5, 2010

Restoration in action

Banteay Chhmar is being renovated stone by stone on its southern causeway
The restoration of the southern causeway is just a year into its five year program and yet its already taking shape and adding another element to the massive jigsaw puzzle that we find at Banteay Chhmar, in northwestern Cambodia. With Global Heritage Fund concentrating much of their efforts on the eastern entranceway to the temple, part of their long-term renovation and partial reconstruction of the site includes training locals in stone conservation techniques and methodology and a good example of this can already be seen at the southern causeway. For years everyone knew there should've been a causeway, much as you find at the southern gate to Angkor Thom, but there was little trace of it apart from a series of fallen blocks of sandstone. A year on and you can already see the fruits of their labours with reconstructed bodies of some of the 54 deities and demons that would've lined the causeway, holding the body of the giant naga - though all of the torsos remain headless, the result of expert theft and destruction in bygone years. Theoretically, the same should be possible at the main eastern entrance, as well as the western and northern entry points. It was raining quite heavily during my visit in July, hence why my photos, taken under an umbrella, don't really do the conservation efforts much justice, but at least they give you an idea of the great work being undertaken at this incredible temple, which is well worth a diversion to visit it, if you can.
Ten torsos currently line the southern causeway, pieced together, stone by stone
All of these pieces of deities and demons have bee recovered from the ground and the moat
The end of the causeway would've displayed the head of the giant naga, which is being reconstructed here
The hands of the demons that held the giant naga in place
Some of the local cow population come to inspect the handiwork of the restoration team

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Anonymous LARRY said...

Dear Andy,
I have one dear friend who is a travel guide and motodop in Kompong Thom. I'm worried because he doesn't reply my emails since long, which is very uncharacteristic of him. Do you know by chance the name of the other bike driver who died in the accident in which Mr. Heng Sophal lost his life? Thank you, very much, for any information or clue on the subject. - Lawrence O'Reilly

September 6, 2010 at 5:31 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Lawrence,
sorry I've been away from the web for a few days. Give me the name of ur friend and I'll check it out, as I have friends there too.
I don't know the name of the other driver but it happened in Sandan district, a long way from K/Thom town, and he was a local to that area.

September 10, 2010 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous LARRY said...

Dear Andy,
sorry for not returning sooner, but everything is OK with my dear friend from KT, he'd just took to the road with a couple of Norwegian tourists making the Grand-Grand Tour Sambor-Preah Khan of Kompong Svay-Preah Vihear-Anlong Veng-Phnom Kulen-Angkor-Banteay Chmar and has just emailed me.
Thank you very much for your concern. --- Lawrence

September 14, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

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