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Welcome to attractions - Banteay Chhmar Temple !

Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of Cambodia’s most important and least understood temples from the Angkor period.  The temple complex, its moat, baray (reservoir) and surrounding unspoilt environment comprises a unique archaeological site and a vital link in Cambodia’s cultural heritage.  For these reasons, it is now one of Cambodia’s top-listed sites for inscription to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.  Its remoteness from Angkor Wat, in part, explains the lack of in-depth documentation and study of the temple.  All of that is now changing thanks to the conservation efforts being undertaken by Global Heritage Fund (GHF), who are working under the guidance of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts (MCFA).

Banteay Chhmar is the 4th largest temple dating from the Angkor period after Preah Khan (in Kampong Svay), Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat being the largest temple. There are 9 satellite temples as part of the temple complex.  In addition, Banteay Torp, another intriguing temple well-worth seeing is about 9 km south of the main temple.

Scholars generally believe that the original name for Banteay Chhmar means  ”The Small Citadel” or “Narrow Fortress” (a Khmer word possibly, chhmarl or chmarl meaning small, tiny or narrow). At some point, probably through oral transformation, the name became chhmar (cat).  Therefore, nowadays, the temple is commonly called the ”Citadel of the Cat.”  These references and the oral transformation are not very clearly understood and need more documentation and research.

What is known, is that it was commissioned in the late 12th to early 13th centuries by King Jayavarman VII.  A shrine in the temple once held an image of a Crown Prince, believed to be Indravarman, and probably a son of Jayavarman VII.  A Khmer inscription found at the site (now on display at the National Museum, Phnom Penh)  tells how this prince was protected on two different occasions by four royal servants, all of whom lost their lives in his defense. The inscription lists the names of these officials and tells us that their respective images were once placed in the four corners of this shrine.


3D digital reconstruction of Central Sanctuary

Dr. Olivier Cunin is an independent scholar who has spent spent 10 years studying Banteay Chhmar Temple along with other temples throughout Cambodia.  His work has been invaluable to our current understanding of the temple complex.  Watch his presentation “The Small Citadel: Reconstructing the Ruined Buddhist Complex of Banteay Chhmar” given in October, 2010 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. USA.


Architectural reconstruction of Banteay Chhmar by Dr Olivier Cunin, funded by the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust (UK) via GHF.



The temple is similar in style to Bayon Temple, also commissioned by Jayavarman VII.  It is one of only two sites outside Bayon with the enigmatic face towers.


Bas-relief on East gallery wall

The stunning outer gallery walls also have bas-reliefs of military and domestic scenes similar to Bayon Temple.  If put end-to-end these bas-reliefs would stretch nearly 1 kilometer.

Temple Entrance Fee is $5 per person.  This includes multi-day entrance to all the satellite temples and Banteay Torp. Children under 12 are free.

• Siem Reap    Siem reap  to Visit  Banteay Chhmar Temple (Banteay MeanChey Province) 1 Day tour

Prek Toal Lake
Prek Toal Lake


- English speaking driver + Transport

- free cold small water / Cold small towel

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