Temple watch: Atmospheric citadel

Temple watch: Atmospheric citadel

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

The Temple of Banteay Kdei (Citadel of the Cells) is east of Angkor Thom, between Ta Prohm and the ancient reservoir of Sras Srang (Royal Baths). It is an atmospheric temple, but it's often ignored in favour of its more popular neighbour, Ta Prohm.

Approaching from the east, Banteay Kdei is best seen in the morning after sunrise.  The four-faced Bayon-style gate glows in the sun with dappled light from the overhanging trees.  Entry is via a causeway which leads to a low platform, the Terrace (or Hall) of The Dancers.  The complex inner structures are in a partially ruined state, and the central towers have been supported by wires to stabilise the structures.  At this time of year the rains add atmosphere and the moat, which is dry for much of the year, begins to fill.

Meanwhile, it's now nearly 12 months since the upper level of Angkor Wat was closed to the public, and work to clean the towers is making slow progress, leaving a large amount of scaffolding on the central tower with no sign of removal. And, although a sign was erected in August saying visitors are not allowed to the top level of Phnom Bakheng hill after 4:30pm, there appears to be no enforcement of this rule at present. 

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