Photo Gallery & Impressions 27 - Cambodia - Day 2 AM

North to Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, Ta Prohm (of Tomb Raiders fame)


The pace of our tour was perfect for us.  It allowed time at the temple sites for reflection, contemplation and just absorbing the sense and awe of the ancient which permeated the place.  We were never hurried and despite the heat, were never uncomfortable.  Our hotel provided breakfast. We were taken to lunch and dinner at a different restaurant each time.  There were also a couple of hours to rest after the noon meal. The afternoon tours took advantage of the late day slant of the light.  As usual, we took way too many digital pictures (over 600 during the 3 days) and later struggle to select just a few to present in these albums. Our main guide book for these days was one Peg bought just inside the south gate of Angkor Thom on our first day; it is Angkor; An Introduction to the Temples, 4th Ed., by Dawn F. Rooney, 2003, Odyssey Publications.

  (The backgrounds for our Cambodia photo albums are from the Angkor Wat bas-reliefs.)

Out for a morning stroll, we walk across the bridge near the hotel & watch the people on their way to the day's activities.  The predominant form of transportation seems to be the bicycle.  

This day's 35 km drive north to the first archeological site took us past tropical and agricultural scenery.  Cambodian farmers make good use of the water buffalo for working the fields.  

Arriving at our destination, Sopheak & Peg admire the Banteay Srei temple which dates from 967.  This Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva & is renowned for its intricate carvings in pinkish sandstone.

Peg basks in the special charm & warmth of this 10th century site which is also called the "Citadel of the Women."

This detail above a doorway gives an example of complex patterns & carvings of designs & religious images.

Beautiful detail close-ups can be found at's Banteay Srei page (slow loading, but worth it!)

And here is another example ancient sandstone carving that has endured all of these centuries. Some believe that this temple contains "the finest decorative work at Anghor." 

As our guide book states, "Cosmic symbolism and mythology cover almost the whole of Banteay Srei."

Active archeological work continues here in this roped off area.

We drive some distance southeast through the countryside to the temple of Banteay Samre or "Citadel of the Samre" (Samre being an ethnic mountain people.)

Here, tucked away at the base of an inside corner column, we found this little hermit.  One could do worse than be an eternal hermit sitting in a corner at this inspiring place.  

This temple, which is somewhat isolated to the east of the main cluster of Angkor sites, dates from the mid-12th century & shows the effect of some restoration, but also of neglect & theft. (Our schedule called for a drive back to Siem Reap for a lunch break - we had the time & opted for one more temple visit before lunch.)

By visiting this next temple during the morning excursion, we would have the complete afternoon to devote to the huge, & most famous, Angkor Wat. However, this temple complex, Ta Prohm, is a very special place & famous in its own right.

Many people might recognize this place because of its more crass claims to fame - a location site for filming part of the hit move, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." This movie was based on a computer game popular with young males.

In an excellent online article in the Dhamma Times, the author had this to say about Ta Prohm, "My guide, seeking to augment, tells me that 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' was filmed here, but even this information could not lesson the tremendous dignity of the place."

Our guide Sopheak also told us that this is his favorite temple. He also reported that he has seen the "Tomb Raider" movie several times & enjoys noting the movie scenes and filming angles in places with which he is so familiar. The movie apparently was good for the local economy.

Very little restoration work has been done here except for some clearing & shoring up of dangerous places. Here you can start to get a feel for what it must have been like for those early Western explorers to come across these places.

Most pronounced here is the tremendous vigor & force of nature as huge banyan & kapok trees spread their roots literally through & around the temple structures.

Another great quote from our guide book: "Everywhere around you, you see Nature in its dual role of destroyer and consoler, strangling on the one hand, and healing on the other; no sooner splitting the carved stones asunder than she dresses their wounds with cool, velvety mosses ..."

Sopheak & Peg pause here where it looks like this huge tree has actually devoured part of the temple wall.  There are a plethora of "photo ops" here.

Take a cyber tour by visiting:

Virtual Ta Phrom

 And one more quote, "So the temple is held in a stranglehold of trees. Stone and wood clasp each other in grim hostility; yet all is silent and still, without any visible movement to indicate their struggle ..."

We, like our guide & new friend Sopheak, will hold very special memories of this sacred place.  We must, however, confess that we rented the "Tomb Raider" movie upon returning home ... and, yes, we were surprised to find it quite interesting because of our Cambodia visit.

Day 1       Day 2 AM      Day 2 PM       Day 3 AM       Day 3 PM       Trans. Sampler

Return to Photo Index

Hit Counter