Srah Srang, also spelt Sra Sang, Sras Sran, or similar, and pronounced "Sra Srong" means "Royal Bath". Unlike a "Banteay" reservoir with dams, a "Srah" is a manmade basin for ritual bathes, usually constructed as a pool in an artificial depression. But in the case of the Srah Srang it's a combination of both. You can easily recogize the earth bank at the west side, as the road is below its level. It is not clear whether this tank was only a functional building used for irrigation purposes or a religious edifice, a lake temple. Originally there was a small shrine on an artificial island close to the centre, but its stone foundations can only be seen in the dry season, when the water level is low.
The Srah Srang lake is 700 metres long and 350 metres wide. It was built in the 10th century by King Rajendravarman II, who is the founder of Pre Rup and East Mebon and some smaller temple structures in the vicinity of Srah Srang. As in the case of the statetemples Pre Rup and East Mebon the architect of the lake Srah Srang was Kavindrarimathana. The original laterite structure can still be seen below the sandstone crown of the western embankment.
Close to the main entrance of Banteay Kdei there is a sandstone platform jutting out into the lake, dating from the Bayon period (around 1200), contemporary and maybe connected to the nearby temple Banteay Kdei. It is decorated with Naga balustrades and two lion guradians. (2013 the sculptures were removed for preservation works at the platform.) It served as a landing stage, but it is called "Royal platform", as it is believed to have been used by the royalty and nobility to watch ceremonies. During the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1181- ca.1220), who remodeled the reservoir using sandstone blocks for the embankments, annual regattas or boat races were cerebrated here, during water and fertility festivals at the end of the rainy season.
The platform today is a kind of "Angkor's sunrise point". However, in the late afternoon it is a delightful area as well. There is no ticket checkpoint at Srah Srang, only at the opposite side of the road in front of Banteay Kdey's entrance gate. Nevertheless, admission to the Small and Grand Circuit roads, meeting at Srah Srang, is not free of charge, so take an Angkor ticket with you.