Banteay Srei Temple
- Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Recommended reason: Jewel of Khmer art
The Banteay Srei temple is built entirely of rare vermilion sandstone. The Hindu mythology and legends are engraved on it. It is one of the three most important temples in Cambodia and one of the most unique and refined buildings in Angkor’s monuments. This temple enshrines Hindu god Śiva, one of the three great gods of Brahmanism. It does not have the same impressive height as the Bayon Temple, and there is no stone steps like the Angkor Wat that are horrifying, but it is famous for its bright colors and exquisite reliefs. Therefore, people praised the " Banteay Srei " as "a gorgeous epic on red sandstone."
Banteay Srei map:
The Banteay Srei is located about 21 kilometers northeast of Angkor Thom, near the hill of Phnom Dei, about 25 kilometers from the famous Angkor City. It is one of the three great temples in Cambodia. It is one of the most unique and exquisite buildings in Angkor's monuments. It is famous for its gorgeous colors and exquisite reliefs, and is known as the “Jewel of Khmer art”.
Origin of name Banteay Srei
The origin of the name of the Banteay Srei was actually a misunderstanding of the French expedition people who discovered it, because they saw many beautiful women's statues here, to infer that they lived here as the queen. In fact, it was king Rajendravarman who, in his later years, rewarded national division for helping him govern the country. So he gave the national division a piece of land and asked him to build a secluded temple. The national division loved his king and their Hindu goddess, so he built this beautiful temple dedicated to the king and goddess in his heart. He also sat and cultivated here, so the Banteay Srei is actually a shack.
Banteay Srei history:
Banteay Srei was built in 1967 by the Rajendravarman dynasty and was completed in 1002 by the Jayavarman V dynasty. Banteay Srei is divided into two parts: the south of the east-west axis is dedicated to Shiva, while the building to the north is dedicated to Vishnu. The Banteay Srei sits west to the east, 200 meters long and 100 meters wide. There are three layers of red sandstone walls inside and outside.
How to visit Banteay Srei?
The entire structure of the Banteay Srei is small, square, sitting west to the east, and there are three layers of walls inside and outside. There is an entrance in the east and west, the east is the main entrance, and there is an approach road. The highlight of the Banteay Srei is the luxuriously decorated three central towers and large library with a large number of statues and beautiful filigree bas-reliefs.
In the center of the Banteay Srei, three temple towers are juxtaposed on a platform more than one meter high. Each tower has a door in the east, south and north, with a height of only 1.2 meters. All pilgrims must bend over and bend to get inside. There is a replica of the guardian god of stone carving in front of each door, some are human figures, and some are bird-shaped and monkey-shaped. You may wish to pay attention.
The temple tower in the middle is the tallest, about 10 meters, which is dedicated to Shiva. One in the south is the Brahma god, and the other in the north is the Vishnu god. The temple tower is 5 stories high, and each floor is decorated with various statues of the gods. The towers and the temples and the gates on both sides are also embossed in various poses. Most of the contents are the scenes of the life of the ancient Khmer people and the battle scene against foreign aggression.
Next to the central tower is a library, and the reliefs on the mountain-shaped wall reproducing the spectacular scenes in the epic of Ramayana, so you can study it.
Unlike most of the blue sandstones used in Angkor's monuments, the Banteay Srei is constructed of Khmer-specific red clay with a lot of water, so the colors are extremely beautiful, and it is good for carving complex and delicate patterns. After being built, it becomes extremely hard after being air-dried. The millennium is not bad.
Tips for visiting Banteay Srei:
Due to the high reputation of the Banteay Srei, it is a must-see for the “outer day tour of Angkor Wat”. There are many tourists every day, especially in the morning. It is recommended to leave early in the morning and it is more appropriate to visit before the tour group arrives. Or you can come in the evening and enjoy the nice scenery.