of beauty and drowning

There is such a thing as being lost to reality. A reality spun by ancient dream weavers so that what you see is a reflection of what used to be. Angkor’s magic is like such, and we were willing to get lost in its web. 

Banteay Srei2

Banteay Srei, also known as the ‘Citadel of Women’ or ‘Citadel of Beauty’ because of its intricate carvings, was said to have been dedicated to Yajnyavahara, a courtier of King Rajendravarman, who was known for his philantrophy. Originally known as Tribhuvanamahesvara — great lord of the threefold world, the temple is greatly dedicated to Shiva and partly to Vishnu.  

 Banteay Srei monmon

Banteay Srei ron

The carvings are more pronounced here than anywhere else as the great Hindu stories of the old lend themselves to the the red sandstone from which the temple is made of. The pediments, the roughly triangular spaces above rectangular doorways or openings, depict scenes from Ramayana while lintels, horizontal beams spanning the gap between two posts, support the reliefs and at the same time, decorate doorways with carvings of numerous apsara dancers. 

Neak Pean

A few minutes of tuk-tuk ride and we found ourselves rounding the pools of Neak Pean meaning ‘The Entwined Serpents’ or ‘Coiled Serpents’, deriving the name from the Nagas (snakes) that encirle the temple. King Jayavarman VII had this built for medical purposes. The Hindu belief of balance is shown with the presence of four pools representing Earth (elephant), Wind (man), Fire (lion) and Water (horse). They are connected by the main pool at the center where the statue of Bahala (Bodhisattva Guan Yin transformed into a horse) ferries the people to safety.  

Neak Pean

We are long gone from the surreal world that is Angkor, but the images are as real as if I can touch them in a handspan. We can’t wait to be lost in her arms once again…

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  • http://middleofchina.blogspot.com matt peterson

    Dude, great site! I love the pictures and the layout, both really good. If you wanna come to China check out our blog, http://middleofchina.blogspot.com

  • flip'n travels

    thanks matt! we are actually planning to go to china this year. we’ll definitely check out your blog for tips. thanks for visiting!

    monette

  • http://www.nomadicpinoy.com Nomadic Pinoy

    I do like the carvings in Banteay Srei – they’re so delicate and intricately done it’s been ravaged by looters. Even a prominent Frenchman back in the 1920’s was caught attempting to loot some carvings to be shipped to Paris.

  • flip'n travels

    yep! it was a good thing the authorities were able to capture the guy. tells us how important it is to preserve culture for the future generation. this is my second favorite after angkor wat. aside from the elaborate carvings, it also helped that the structure was pink… haha!

    monette

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    Thats really cool…any other thoughts?

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    Hello hunnie, nice blog! I really like this article.. I was curious about this for a long time now. This cleared a lot up for me! Do you have a rss feed that I can add?

  • flip'n travels

    you may click the rss link at the footer of the page.
    thanks

  • http://theouterscene.wordpress.com Yeyeht

    Nice words you have here. I really enjoyed reading through the articles on your blog. Normally I just look at the pictures and look for information. But for this one, I had to stop and smell the roses. Haha! Keep em coming. I added yours to my site. Hopefully I’d get to visit as many places as you have. Looking forward to more posts from you. – Yeyeht

  • flip’n travels

    @Yeyeth, wow thanks! there’s more to come, stay tuned! and thanks for the link-up 😉