The Temples of Battambang

photo selection #1

Battambang is one of my favourite locations in Cambodia. It has a laid-back, tranquil atmosphere, the city's inhabitants are incredibly friendly towards travellers and surrounding the city are a number of interesting Angkorean temple sites well worth exploring while you spend a few leisurely days in Cambodia's second city. These two pages give the viewer a closer look at those ancient temple sites, which attract just a fraction of the travellers who descend on Siem Reap and the Angkor complex in increasing numbers each year.

Wat Bassaet

One of two main sanctuaries at Wat Bassaet, and by far the best preserved. Note the blue lintel above the doorway. One of Wat Bassaet's best lintels at the site, laid on the ground.Evidence of the painted structures at Wat Bassaet. In the centre is a blue antefix in the shape of a naga snake.

This 11th century lintel in the Khleang style has been painted blue & yellow by the local monks. The central figure is a kala monster. Another lintel in the Khleang style at Wat Bassaet, although this lintel is surrounded by vegetation and is difficult to inspect close up.This blue painted lintel shows a carved kala monster and floral patterns but is unfinished.

This well carved lintel has a vandalized fronton above it. I'm still not sure why some lintels are painted and others are not.This laterite pool is where the monks and nuns from the nearby pagoda gather their water.Dotted around the site and in the grounds of the nunnery closeby are carved columns, these sandstone window frames and other temple debris.

Wat Snoeung West

The south facing side of Wat Snoeung West, sited next to the highway leading to Pailin.The false west door of Wat Snoeung West.The east gate of Wat Snoeung West showing the Churning of the Sea of Milk lintel.

The Curning of the Sea of Milk with Vishnu steadying the pivot pole - Mount Mandara - and gods and demons pulling on the giant snake Vasuk.Gods pulling on the giant snake Vasuk, with Vishnu holding the pole coming from the giant turtle, Kurma.Asuras (demons) pulling on Vasuk, with hermits lining the upper level.

The south lintel of Wat Snoeung West showing a gambling scene from the Mahabarata, with lions and female dancers on the lower level.The top level of this lintel shows the sons of Pandava losing the beautiful Draypadi as a wager during a dice game. In the centre, a prideful Sakuni holds the loaded dice aloft while a downcast Yudhisthira and his 4 brothers look on.The west lintel shows the birth of Brahma, with Vishnu reclining on a lion-beast called a rajasimha, with Brahma seated on a stalk growing out of Vishnu's navel. Unfortunately my photo isn't the best!

Wat Snoeung East

The three brick towers of Wat Snoeung East, built in the 9th century.The only remaining lintel on the central tower of Wat Snoeung East.The three brick towers of Wat Snoeung East. The temple is situated in the grounds of a modern wat.

The main entrance to the central tower of Wat Snoeung East, with its finely carved lintel.The fine detail of the temple's remaining lintel showing Indra riding Airavata atop a devouring Kala.A decorated octagonal colonette supporting the temple's main lintel.The central tower, the largest of the three, dominates Wat Snoeung East.

Battambang's Provincial Museum

A 10th century lintel showing Indra riding a single-headed elephant, Airavata. This lintel is one of 5 that are located on the steps of the Battambang Provincial Museum.This lintel shows Indra on top of the more usual 3-headed elephant Airavata.A finely carved lintel at the main museum in Battambang.

This scene shows Vishnu sitting on his mount Garuda. Likely to be late 9th, early 10th century. If the quality of the lintels outside the museum are this good, inside they building the quality must be superb!This lintel was surrounded by the wall of the museum and a series of sandstone pedestals and sculpted pots.

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