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The beautiful eastern gate (gopura) of the first enclosure of Banteay Samre temple.  This beautifully proportioned gopura has three porticos with elegantly carved pilasters, and a number of excellent pediments above the doors and on its roof.

The eastern gopura I of Banteay Samre temple.

The Eastern Gopura I, Banteay Samre

 

Images of the Eastern Gopura I

Banteay Samre Temple: Eastern Gopura I

 

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List of Figures

Eastern gopura I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 1.  Eastern gopura I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The beautiful eastern gate (gopura) of the first enclosure of Banteay Samre temple, as seen on your approach from the east.

Shiva Dancing, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 2.  Shiva Dancing, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The east-facing pediment over the central door of the eastern gopura I has a badly preserved Shiva dancing.

Krishna Fighting Lions, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 3.  Krishna Fighting Lions, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

On the base of this pilaster, worn by time but still beautiful, we see Krishna fighting two lions.

You can find this pilaster on the eastern façade of the eastern gopura I, central door, left-hand side, at Banteay Samre temple.

Churning of the Ocean of Milk, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 4.  Churning of the Ocean of Milk, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The east-facing pediment above the southern door of the eastern gopura I has a pediment depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.  The churning is presided over by Brahma, at the top, flanked by the gods of the Sun and the Moon (Surya and Chandra).  In the centre, the churning pole is supported by the turtle Kurma.

Krishna Subduing the Naga Kaliya I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 5.  Krishna Subduing the Naga Kaliya I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Above the southern door of the eastern gopura I, facing east, is a lintel depicting Krishna subduing the naga Kaliya.

Vishnu on Garuda, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 6.  Vishnu on Garuda, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Vishnu on his mount (or vahana) Garuda (Vishnu Garudavahana) is a very common motif in Angkorean reliefs, appearing on countless lintels, pediments and half pediments, including this pediment at Banteay Samre temple.

You can find this pediment on the east façade of the eastern gopura I, over the northern door, at Banteay Samre temple.

Balarama Killing Denuka, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 7.  Balarama Killing Denuka, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

In this scene from the Bhagavata Purana we see Balarama killing the demon Denuka.  Holding him by his hind legs and tail, he began to whirl the demon around before throwing him to the top of a tree.

You can find this carving on the east façade of the eastern gopura I, on the base of a pilaster of the northern door, left-hand side, at Banteay Samre temple.

A Warrior Fighting a Monkey, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 8.  A Warrior Fighting a Monkey, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

This carving, on the base of a pilaster, depicts a warrior fighting a monkey.

You can find this pilaster on the east façade of the eastern gopura I, on the northern door, right-hand side, at Banteay Samre temple.

Garuda Fighting Nagas, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 9.  Garuda Fighting Nagas, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Garuda battling entwined nagas, carved on the base of a pilaster.

You can find this pilaster on the east façade of the eastern gopura I, southern door, right-hand side, at Banteay Samre temple.

Roof Pediments, Eastern Gopura I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 10.  Roof Pediments, Eastern Gopura I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The roof pediments of the eastern gopura of the first enclosure, Banteay Samre temple, as seen from the northeast.

Indra on Airavata, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 11.  Indra on Airavata, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Amongst this gopura's four roof pediments, the eastern one is decorated with Indra on Airavata between fans and parasols, over a row of worshippers.  Unusually, the body of the elephant Airavata is shown in this depiction.

You can find this pediment on the roof of the eastern gopura I, facing east, at Banteay Samre temple.

Yama on his Buffalo, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 12.  Yama on his Buffalo, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The south-facing roof pediment is decorated with Yama on his buffalo (or possibly Kubera?).

You can find this pediment on the roof of the eastern gopura I, facing south, at Banteay Samre temple.

Varuna on his Hamsa, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 13.  Varuna on his Hamsa, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Varuna was seen as presiding over the relationship between humans and the gods.  As the ruler of the invisible, he was a dangerous god, a magician with great punishing power.  He catches evildoers and binds them with his noose.

In Angkorean temples, he is represented riding a hamsa, or sacred goose.

The west-facing roof pediment of the eastern gopura I of Banteay Samre temple is decorated with Varuna on his hamsa.

A God Sitting on a Throne, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 14.  A God Sitting on a Throne, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The northern roof pediment of the eastern gopura I of Banteay Samre temple depicts an unknown god, sitting on his throne and surrounded by worshipers.

The Defeat of Mara, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 15.  The Defeat of Mara, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

This interesting relief depicts a scene on four registers from the Buddha's life: The assault of Mara.  The triumph of the Buddha over Mara ('Death'), the perennial enemy of the dharma, the ruler of passion and enemy of freedom.

In the top register, the sacred image, presumably the enlightened Buddha, seated in a temple with a tower similar to that of Banteay Samre, has been defaced.

In the second row are Surya in a chariot and Chandra in a circle at the sides of a defaced niche.  This may be the Bhaisajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha, flanked by his acolytes Suryavairocana and Chandravairocana.

In the third register are five niches occupied by seated figures whose identity remains unknown and in the lowest register an army of people, including archers aiming at the defaced figures in the upper registers.

This Buddhist scene, in such a prominent position, would seem to confirm the original Buddhist dedication of this temple by Dharanindravarman II.

You can find this pediment on the west façade of the eastern gopura I, over the central door, at Banteay Samre temple.

Vishnu Trivikrama I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 16.  Vishnu Trivikrama I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

This representation of Vishnu Trivikrama shows Vishnu with only two arms, one holding the discus and the other resting on his chest.  The ocean is symbolised by a pond with flowering lotuses inhabited by turtles, fish and a reachisey.  To the right is a figure in anjali, kneeling on a plinth supported by a lotus.  In the lower register, to the left is Bali facing the dwarf Vishnu, behind whom the figure with raised arms is Shukracarya, Bali’s guru.  He performs a water pouring ritual to certify Bali’s promise of three steps to the dwarf.

You can find this pediment on the west façade of the eastern gopura I, above the southern door, at Banteay Samre temple.

Krishna Govardhana I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 17.  Krishna Govardhana I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

A full-scale representation of the Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana decorates this pediment of Banteay Samre temple.

It is interesting to note the position of Krishna in this scene.  His weight is supported on one leg, while the other is crossed in front of it, gently supported by the toes.  This is the padasvastica position of Indian iconography, symbolising benevolent tranquillity.

You can find this pediment on the west façade of the eastern gopura I, above the northern door, at Banteay Samre temple.

A Standing God Holding a Lotus, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 18.  A Standing God Holding a Lotus, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

The base of this pilaster depicts a standing god holding a lotus, framed by an arch like a sort of mini-pediment.

You can find this pilaster on the west façade of the eastern gopura I, on the southern door, left-hand side, at Banteay Samre temple.

Pilaster Detail I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 19.  Pilaster Detail I, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Detail from the right-hand pilaster of the central door, west façade of the eastern gopura I, at Banteay Samre temple.

Pilaster Detail II, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Figure 20.  Pilaster Detail II, Banteay Samre Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Detail from the right-hand pilaster of the central door, west façade of the eastern gopura I, at Banteay Samre temple.

 

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