Bayon Temple and Banteay SreiApril 3 in Cambodia
One of my favorite temples is in a complex known as Angkor Tom, and it is called the Bayon Temple. (The entire Angkor Tom complex is actually bigger than Angkor Wat, but it is not built as a single, unified complex, but is instead made up of a series of separate, unreleased structures, all of which are enclosed by a wall.)
The Bayon temple itself is not particularly large in size, but it has dozens of towers which are each topped by four enormous carved faces of Buddha, arranged as if around the sides of a cube. So, any way that you look at the towers, you gaze upon a beatific face of Buddha. Originally, there were 49 towers, and a total of almost 200 faces. Today only 37 towers remain. But, The total effect is both relaxing and mesmerizing.
The last temple that we visited is called Banteay Srei, and is known as the “Lady Temple.” The books say that the name comes from the numerous carvings of Asmara — dancing women. But, as all of the guides are quick to point out, the temple is carved from pink sandstone. I am convinced that the color of the sandstone is the reason that the name “Lady Temple” stuck! The carvings on the temple are simply extraordinary — very detailed and intricate. Walking around and gazing at them was great fun . . . And I could probably have done it for quite some time, but it was blistering hot. So, off we go.Read more