Despite good intentions and the alarm going off at 6 we didnt get out to the tuktuk until after 8 and it was hot already!
The temple complex at Banteay Samre consists of two double walled enclosures, skinny dark passageways and four small gopuras (gates) facing north, east, south and west separated by a now grassy wider corridor. The inner gopuras are more elaborate and topped with lintels decorated with scenes from the Ramayana and Hindu mythology.
This one has a Hindu god above a fiercesome toothy kala. Scholars think the use of the Khmer inspired kala may have arisen from an earlier period when the skulls of human victims were incorporated into the architecture of the buildings as a protective element.
A scene reminiscent of Durga's great battle with the buffalo demon Mahisha atop the great Mt Meru. The story goes that after every other god had tried to stop Mahisha's destructive rampage, which had already extended across three (of the 9)worlds, Durga confronted Mahisha and threw her arsonal of weapons at him only to watch each one bouncing away with little effect. Finally, frustrated and furious, she dismounted her lion steed and lept onto his back. With her bare feet she kicked at his head and he fell into a senseless heap on the ground. Quickly she raised her trident and plunged it into his heart conquering the unconquerable.
Dont you love a good powerful godess story!
The inner side of the second pair of walls a walkway that circumnavigates the whole area, it's corners framed by naga balustrades. Steps lead down and then back up each of the inner buildings.
You can see the fanned head of the naga just behind the tourist.
Inside the protective walls is a central prasat, the temple, and a series of library buildings their raised platforms lifting them from what was once a monsoon filled moat.
The temple complex would have felt very different its inner sanctums filled with a quiet river of fresh water.
After exploring each building andf taking our fill of photos we made our way back through the series of gopura we had come through to find our tuk tuk driver.