Lion paw on the causeway to Banteay Samre
Anastylosis transformed this
monument with its well-preserved exceptional ornamentation.
Dated to shortly after Angkor Vat, its compact, well-balanced
proportions echo other monuments of the period such as Beng
Mealea and Chau Say Tevoda.Viewed from the east, the approach
is by a 200 metre causeway paved in laterite and bordered
by a naga balustrade in the style of Angkor Vat.
The imposing external laterite enclosure wall must have
formed, one of the walls of a tile-covered gallery joining
a gopura that would have been far more impressive than the
existing projecting entrance with portico.
It is interesting to note that many scenes on the pediments
of the upper levels have been identified as episodes from
the Vessantara Jataka. The presence of Buddhist scenes in
a Hindu temple and the fact that in some places certain
sculpted motifs, probably also Buddhist, have been mutilated
makes a statement about the religious tolerance of the monument's
patron. Few temples present an iconography so complete and
in such an excellent state of preservation, and particular
attention should be given to the following scenes:
A stone tank, with a hole pierced in the top of it and
with a drainage channel in the bottom, has also been restored
and placed in the large room adjacent to the central sanctuary.
It is considered to be some form of sarcophagus, enabling
the procedure of periodic ablution of mortal remains which
were placed here.