Srah Srang in Siem Reap
Srah Srang – Royal Bathing Pond
Locates right opposite to the east entrance of Banteay Kdei Temple, Srah Srang is always a place to calm one’s spirit with it natural greenery and peaceful surrounding.
Srah Srang (srah = pond; srang = a royal word means bath) was the ‘Bathing Pond’ of the greatest Khmer king Jayavarman VII (1181-1220). With the size of 700 m long 300 m wide, Srah Srang was not a place for normal or daily bathing but it’s a particular ceremonial bathing of the King. It’s probably a ‘luck raising bath’ or an ‘evil chasing bath’. The elegant decoration of the landing terrace gives visitors the feeling of sacredness of Srah Srang which is appear to be tender but with power within. Sitting at the landing steps, look forward to the sacred bathing pound, one would feel delightful with exceptional beauty of Angkor Park, especially in the morning time.
The cruciform landing terrace is built of laterite and sandstone, decorated with naga balustrades in the same style at Angkor Wat and many platforms in front of gopura of other temples in Angkor area. The terrace is facing east but also has staircases give access to the north and south. There are two lion guardians facing east at the upper staircase. At the end of each balustrade, the decoration was not only the multi-headed naga as usual, but a large garuda riding three-headed naga. The banks of Srah Srang are paved with laterite steps and sandstone moldings.
The sacred pond of Srah Srang always has water and surround by greenness all year round. The water is very cold and clear that people used it as sacred bathing water to cure sickness and chase away evils.
Sitting at the landing terrace of Srah Srang looking at the water surface, I can see a group of beautiful angels happily bathing in the pond. Then I turn my back to see the face tower city entrance of Banteay Kdei, a parade of the King accompany by his officials and lady-in-waiting from the city entrance toward the terrace of Srah Srang for a royal bathing ceremony. The King is adorned by many parasols… a prosperous period of Angkor. It’s so elegant and marvelous that right in front of the city entrance there is such a peaceful view of srah. It’s really a spot for angels rather than human.