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Banteay Srei – Temple


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Banteay Srei Tower

Banteay Srei Tower

Banteay Srei is an earlier small temple built at the end of the 10th Century, having been consecrated in 967 AD. Banteay Srei is relatively unique compared to some of its better-known neighbours, being one of the few temples not accredited with having been built by a king. Built by a courtier named Yajnavaraha who served as a counsellor to king Rajendravarman, the buildings within are built from Red Sandstone and are renowned for their intricate details and carvings, appearing more closely related to the Hindu temples of India, rather than the other sites of Angkor.

Located approximately 15 miles South East of the main temple complexes, the site consists of three concentric rectangular enclosures. It is believed that Banteay Srei was originally the centre of a small town surrounded by an outer wall constructed of wood, measuring around 500 meters square.

The overall layout consists of 3 enclosures with a causeway situated on an east west axis leads from an outer gate (which originally would have been the gate for the town wall) runs from the east, to the outermost of three enclosures. A laterite wall surrounds the outer enclosure, approximately 95 by 110 m.

Within this outer enclosure wall, almost all the space is taken up with a moat, which runs almost all the way up to the second enclosure wall. The moat however is divided into two by a continuation of the causeway, running east to west to the second enclosure.
A laterite wall, measuring 38 meters by 42 meters, surrounds the second enclosure with gateways running along the same lines of the entrance causeway. Within the second enclosure, there are 6 galleries running along the outside of the inner enclosure and like all the buildings of Banteay Srei, have intricate detailed carvings of Hindu mythology.

Incredible detail of Banteay Srei carvings

Incredible detail of Banteay Srei carvings

The inner enclosure is surrounded by a brick wall, measuring 24 by 24 meters and contains the sanctuary, consisting of an entrance chamber and three towers, as well as two buildings conventionally referred to (across most Angkor sites) as libraries. The central enclosure features some of the most extravagantly decorated carvings and has been restored to a high standard.