Banteay Chhmar is the second monument of ancient Cambodia’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII.
Built in the late 12th century by one of Cambodia’s most original stone-carving and architectural workshops, the temple lay in ruins for almost a thousand years.
The builders of Banteay Chhmar developed two of the greatest innovations of Khmer sacred architecture: the long gallery reliefs with scenes of daily life and the major political and military moments of Jayavarman’s reign, and the face-towers of the Bayon state temple.
However, due to its remote location, the French archaeologists who made Angkor known to the world over 100 years ago, left Bantaey Chhmar untouched. Now that a modern highway runs from the Thai border to Siem Reap, this great site is in reach of adventurous tourists, and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, with expert help from the Global Heritage Fund (GHF) and Friends of Khmer Culture International (FOKCI), has at last undertaken the restoration of Banteay Chhmar.
Peter Sharrock, assisted by other experts, uncovers the secrets of this large, beautiful and still forest-draped complex, identifying the esoteric Buddhist deities and opening a new vista on Jayavarman VII’s reign. Superbly photographed by Paisarn Piemmettawat, the book also contains plans, maps and historical photographs.