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1 min read

Date: Mid 12th century
Style: Angkor Wat
King: Suryavarman II​ (reign 1113 – 1150 CE) (?)
Dharanindravarman II (reign 1150 – 1156 CE)
Completed under Yashovarman II (reign 1156 – 1165 CE)
Additions by Jayavarman VII
Cult: Hindu (Vaishnava) and Mahayana Buddhist

 

Banteay Samre (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយស្រី) is, in my opinion, Angkor’s hidden gem.

The name Banteay Samre means Citadel of the Samres, associating it with the Samre people who once lived in the area around Phnom Kulen.

Built in the mid-12th century, perhaps started under Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Wat Temple, but probably built under Dharanindravarman II.  For my thoughts on who built this temple, see The Spirit of Banteay Samre Temple.

While Banteay Samre is generally not viewed as one of Angkor’s premier monuments, is the most important temple dating from this period after Angkor Wat.  I believe its powerful architecture and deep-relief decoration are unrivalled for a small temple.  It has a compact inner enclosure featuring a soaring tower with a curvilinear lotus-bud profile, and excellent deep-carved reliefs conveying narratives drawn from the Hindu epics, viewable at close range.

Reliefs decorating some of the pediments portray Buddhist scenes, added under Dharanindravarman II (reign 1150-1160), a fervent Buddhist.  Unfortunately these were mostly erased during the Hindu reaction.

If you'd like more information on the beautiful Banteay Samre temple, I've explored it in more depth in My Journal in an article called The Spirit of Banteay Samre Temple.

 

Map of Banteay Samre



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