Chau Say and Thommanon temples are just across the road from one another. They also seem to mirror one another, though I don’t know if that’s historically accurate. Chau Say, as noted in the title quote, underwent extensive restoration efforts sponsored and led by a team from China, completed in 2009. You can usually tell which aspects of the temple are new, but it’s fun to compare with the original pieces since it really gives one a sense of what the temple might have looked like when it was all brand new in the 12th century.
In one of the Chau Say buildings, you can see a small Buddhist altar with a gold tree. Of course the temple was originally Hindu, dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu. But it has been Buddhist for many hundreds of years.
Across the way is Thommanon temple, which has stood the test of time much better than its nearest neighbor, Chau Say. French archeologists did some reconstruction work in the 1960s, but many of the carvings inside Thommanon are original. When we arrived, there was a young couple posing on the steps of Thommanon, and it was one of my favorite candid moments of our visit to Siem Reap.
Check back tomorrow to read more about our visit to Ta Keo and how little equipped I am for heights.
Title quote: Quote on the information boards at the entrance of Chau Say