Satellite temples

For those who can't get enough

Photo of Satellite temples, , Banteay Chhmar

What we say: 3.5 stars

There are nine satellite temples surrounding Banteay Chhmar in total, though you’ll need a guide to find them as they’re unsignposted, on difficult to follow trails and surrounded by jungle. If you’re on your own though, these two are easily found.

Prasat Ta Prohm to the south of Banteay Chhmar presents a tranquil scene. Set within a sacred lake, which is a meadow during the dry season, it is a prospect that invites serene contemplation. Surrounded by vegetation, the tower is in good condition. On the ground in front of the tower, a broken relief shows a multi-armed Avalokiteshvara holding a book and water bottle is likely the entity to whom the temple was dedicated. To get there, take the road just to the west of the southern causeway and follow until you get to a track heading left, then follow that.

To the west, facing the causeway of giants across the western moat of Banteay Chhmar, Prasat Ta Nem can be found. Even though only two of the original four faces remain, Ta Nem is considered by many to be the most important representation of face towers in Banteay Chhmar. It owes its distinction, and preservation, to a row of praying figures added directly below the faces in a kind of necklace. This style, which was then replicated in the last face towers of the Bayon, helped to stabilise the faces meaning they don’t suffer from the cracking or displacement that distort many of the faces in the central sanctuaries.

Another satellite temple worth seeking out is Prasat Samnang Tasok (Lucky Old Hill Temple), buried within forest to the west of Banteay Chhmar, but still in pretty good condition. Working your way through the dense forest, only to have this emerge out of the growth is quite the experience. We definitely recommend bringing a guide and not straying from paths as landmines may still be an issue in the area.

Last updated: 9th September, 2015

About the author:
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
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