Photo: Unsurpassed pink sandstone carvings.

Banteay Srei

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The temple of Banteay Srei or the Citadel of the Women, boasts superbly well-preserved and highly intricate stone carvings that adorn the pink-hued sandstone of the delightfully small and intimate site.





Inside the volcanic laterite outer walls, virtually every available surface is covered in carvings with a predominance of apsaras—celestial nymphs in Hindu tradition—from which the temple takes its name. It has its own picturesque lotus bud towers too, but what makes Banteay Srei all the more remarkable is that it was completed some 150 years before Angkor Wat in the year 967.

Welcoming. Photo taken in or around Banteay Srei, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Welcoming. Photo: Caroline Major

Banteay Srei, never a royal temple, is thought to have been built by a guru of the king and it is believed that this lack of a royal go-ahead is one of the reasons why it is so small. What Banteay Srei may lack in size it more than makes up for in beauty. Some have suggested that the temple was built by women as no man could have created something so beautiful and with so fine a hand. The carvings cover an incredible amount of the temple’s surface and the reliefs are often deep.

As with many Khmer temples, the main sections of Banteay Srei were built of laterite, but instead of the carving being done into a plaster coating normally layered onto the stone, the temple was faced with pink sandstone and the carvings done into that. The results are breathtaking. Throughout the monument are lintels, door jambs and window columns all layered with amazingly well executed and ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Banteay Srei
32km from Siem Reap

Location map for Banteay Srei

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