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Deep in the Cambodian jungle, Banteay Chhmar temple
was commissioned by King Jayavarman VII in honor of five heroes, including his son, who died defending the Khmer empire against the Champa kingdom.
Built in the twelfth-century over nine square kilometers and surrounded by a moat, this temple complex is contemporary of the Bayon and Preah Khan temples in Angkor.
The site is renowned for its beautifully rendered bas-reliefs, which depict the war between the Khmer and Champa kingdoms and its Avalokiteshvara's wall.
Banteay Chhmar is one of the largest Khmer temple complex ever built. The simultaneous dedication of the Buddhist temples and shrines to Hindu divinities shows the religious tolerance of the King Jayavarman VII at the time of construction. Although Hinduism returned as the state religion of the Khmer Empire in the thirteenth century, thousands of images of Buddha were not destroyed at Banteay Chhmar, in sharp contrast to those of Jayavarman VII’s other constructions within the city of Angkor. Much of the site’s history is recorded in sandstone inscriptions.