|Reaching the top at Wat Banan|
The trip to Wat Banan takes a leisurely forty minutes, to the right you will see the lotus plant shaped spires of the Wat rising above the trees around the phnom ( hill ). The entrance is a few metres past the iron bridge on the left, this crosses the Sangkar to the east side, and could be an alternative route back to Battambang, either on the winding scenic river road or the main road set back a few hundred metres away. In the entrance courtyard area at the bottom of the phnom there are three or four restaurants, and a tourist ticket booth ( $2 ) before the steps ascend, grab some refreshments before you climb. The sharp incline of about three hundred stones to the top takes no prisoners, and is unforgiving. Most seemed to be taking a couple of rest breaks during the ordeal, and the locals were exclaiming the word ‘hot’ many times, meaning tired. Wat Banan is made up of four temple towers, with a further one in the centre. The original temple dates back to 1050, and the reign of king Udayadityavarman I as a Hindu temple, later it was rebuilt using the same stones, as a Buddhist temple, around 1219, during the reign of king Jayarvarman VII. Banan is built from sandstone and laterite, laterite being the fashionable material used so much nowadays for bars and hotel receptions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, it’s a light brown sediment rock with lots of small holes within it. The towers are impressive and basically intact, if not a little shaky looking, but many of the carvings are headless, having been plundered.
|Former anti aircraft gun at Wat Banan|