The temples, embedded in picturesque wilderness, are located near Nokor Krau (or Angkor Krau) village, north of Angkor Thom. They are in Bayon style, constructed with sandstone and laterite about 1200.
Banteay Thom means "The Big Citadel". So it looks: enclosed by a stately wall and a gallery with gates to west and, much bigger, to east, are three stately towers, lined north-south, and two fire shrines.
The enclosure wall opens to the east and west with gates. A cruciform terrace precedes the stately east gate.
Similar to Prasat Prei Prasat there are a series of water basins in the outer enclosure.
The arrangement of the towers is peculiar, like at a Shiva temple. There are numerous reliefs; the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are scratched out.
Recently many Devata reliefs were rudely damaged.
See the 'Great Departure' at the south face of the southern tower.
Credits and References
- Lajonquière (map of Banteay Thom, modified)
- Roveda 2005, p. 412.
Locally also called Prasat Chan Ta Oun, Prasat Prei Prasat consists of a single tower with mandapa, plus a fire shrine, all enclosed by a laterite wall with gates to east and west.
It is surrounded by a chain of water basins, bordered by laterite steps. These water basins had to supply the monks. The entire compound was enclosed by a moat.
The temple made the centre of a Buddhist monastery. The base of the tower's walls is sheathed by a second wall, decorated like a half gallery.
The pediment relief at the east entrance shows the standing Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara between Vishnu and Brahma. His face is scratched out.
A new laterite road branches north from the road west of Angkor Wat, after 1.5 km. Follow this road some 4.5 km.
After the big bridge, just before the next, smaller bridge you find a stall at the right side, were they sell water and sugar cane juice. Here you ask for Ghim.
Ghim, 17, is living nearby. (His sister can also make the job.) Ask Ghim for 'Banteay Thom'. There you ask him for 'Prasat Chan Ta Oun'. He will show you the way.
You need a motor bike and may be dust protection; the Angkor ticket is not required. It is a fine and easy morning trip.