Sunday, September 5, 2010
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.
The end of the causeway would've displayed the head of the giant naga, which is being reconstructed here