- Martin Buber
Banteay Kdei, were Ta Prohm or Preah Khan to have had smaller temples built in their honour, would be the archetype of what they were looking to achieve. It was built between the late 12th or 13th centuries under Jayavarman VII, and like many of his projects, was so ambitious that actually to the casual observer it can seem quite a confusing temple to navigate. Dedicated to Buddhism, it is very similar to the Bayon style in its construction, and this is evident immediately when you arrive at the outer gopuras with Jayavarman's signature carved face-towers standing high and grand, representing, as appears to be the most agreed upon theory, both himself and the god Lokesvara. Another feature immediately noticeable as being similar to that of Ta Prohm or Preah Khan is the hall of dancers that precedes the entry into the main temple on the East side, a charming ancient dance hall decorated with apsara dancer bas-reliefs, and with a seated Buddha that watches over the entrance to the east side of the hall. Naga balustrades flank the causeway which leads you here, and then through the hall on the other side leads you to the main temple. Within the courtyards you can get a clear view of the towers, and there are some very interesting and well preserved devatas which decorate these towers.
Distance from Siem Reap to Banteay Kdei is 10.5km (approx 15 minutes by car, 20 minutes by tuk-tuk, or an hour by bicycle). Take Charles de Gaulle Road to
"Banteay Kdei is a maze to be explored and one cannot help but admire Jayavarman VII's ambitious plan for this temple. Some of the bas-reliefs here are in the best condition of all the Angkor Temples, and the ruinous state of the towers only adds to its charm. Get here early to see Banteay Kdei in its best light."
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