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Banteay Srei

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Banteay Srei

Nestled in the lush jungles of Cambodia lies a magnificent temple complex known as Banteay Srei. This stunning masterpiece of Khmer architecture is renowned for its intricate carvings and pink sandstone walls. If you're a history buff or simply appreciate breathtaking beauty, Banteay Srei is a must-see destination.

In this article, we will discuss everything about Banteay Srei. We aim to provide you valuable and useful information and tips to better arrange your trip to Cambodia!

Basic facts about Banteay Srei

Guardian statue in Banteay Srei

Here are some basic facts about Banteay Srei:

1. Banteay Srei is a 10th-century temple complex located in Angkor, Cambodia.
2. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is made entirely of red sandstone.
3. Banteay Srei was built by a courtier named Yajnavaraha for the king Rajendravarman's counselor and tutor, a Brahmin priest named Yajñavarāha.
4. Banteay Srei is relatively small compared to other temples in the area, with a footprint of only 140 by 80 meters.
5. The temple is located about 25 kilometers northeast of the main temple complex of Angkor Wat, and can be easily visited as a day trip from Siem Reap.
6. The name "Banteay Srei" means "Citadel of Women" in Khmer, although the exact reason for this name is not known.

History of Banteay Srei

Bas relief in Banteay Srei

Here is a brief timeline of the history of Banteay Srei:

1. 967 AD: Banteay Srei is built by a Brahmin priest named Yajñavarāha, who was a counselor and tutor to King Rajendravarman.
2. Late 10th century: King Jayavarman V takes the throne and continues to patronize Banteay Srei, adding a few smaller buildings to the site.
3. 11th-12th centuries: The temple complex falls into disuse and is abandoned, likely due to political instability and shifting power dynamics in the region.
4. Late 19th century: French explorers visit the site and begin to document and study the temple complex.
5. 1914: French archaeologist Henri Parmentier rediscovers Banteay Srei and is impressed by the beauty and intricacy of the temple's carvings.
6. 1924-1930: Restoration work is carried out at Banteay Srei by French archaeologists and conservationists, who work to preserve the delicate sandstone carvings.
7. Late 20th century: Banteay Srei is recognized as a significant cultural and historical site, and is added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1992.
8. Present day: Banteay Srei is a popular tourist destination in Cambodia and continues to be studied and preserved by Cambodian authorities and international organizations.

Cultural significance of Banteay Srei

Khmer craftsman

Banteay Srei is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Cambodian art, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of classical Khmer architecture and sculpture. The intricate and detailed carvings on the temple walls are particularly noteworthy, and showcase the skill and artistry of Khmer craftsmen.

In addition to its artistic significance, Banteay Srei also has cultural and historical importance. The temple was built during the height of the Khmer Empire, and serves as a reminder of the empire's wealth and power during that time. It also provides insight into the religious and cultural beliefs of the Khmer people, as the carvings on the temple walls depict scenes from Hindu mythology and ancient Khmer history.

How to tour Banteay Srei

Visitor in front of Banteay Srei

The complex is relatively small, so you can easily explore it on foot. We suggested you to spend at least 2 hours to visit. As you explore the complex, you will see several buildings and structures, including the main temple, smaller shrines, and libraries.

It is recommended to hire a tour guide who can provide you with a better understanding of the temple's history, architecture, and cultural significance. We are professional in traveling so you can count on us if you have any question or request.

Start by admiring the intricate carvings on the walls, which depict scenes from Hindu mythology and ancient Khmer history. Be sure to also check out the central sanctuary and the library building.

Related itineraries recommended:

3 Days Siem Reap Temple Tour

6 Days Angkor Discovery Tour

15 Days Exploration Tour of Cambodia

How to get to Banteay Srei

tuk tuk in Siem Reap

Banteay Srei is located about 20 miles (30 km) from the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here are some ways to get to Banteay Srei:

1. Tuk-tuk: You can hire a tuk-tuk from Siem Reap to take you to Banteay Srei. The ride takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and tuk-tuk drivers are usually available for hire at any time of day.
2. Private car: You can also hire a private car or taxi to take you to Banteay Srei. This option is more expensive than a tuk-tuk, but it provides more comfort and convenience.
3. Tour bus: Many tour companies offer day trips to Banteay Srei and other temples in the area. This is a good option if you prefer to have a guide and do not want to worry about transportation.
4. Bicycle: If you enjoy cycling, you can rent a bicycle in Siem Reap and ride to Banteay Srei. For those who want to have Cambodia adventure tours, this is a good choice, but it can be challenging due to the heat and distance.

Visiting tips

Prepare sunscreen for your trip

When visiting Banteay Srei, it's important to dress modestly and respectfully. The temple complex is considered a sacred site, and visitors should avoid wearing revealing clothing or anything that could be considered offensive. It's also important to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the temple complex can get hot and humid.

In the end

Banteay Srei is a breathtaking testament to the skill and artistry of the Khmer people. Its intricate carvings and rich history make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in history or art. So, if you're planning a trip to Cambodia, be sure to add Banteay Srei to your itinerary. We are always here for you to help you tailor your Cambodia tour!

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