Although it’s out of the way, true temple buffs won’t want to miss Banteay Srei, a beautiful 10th-century Hindu temple complex about 23 miles north of Angkor Wat.
The temple consists of low walls surrounding peaked structures of deep red sandstone. Banteay Srei means “Citadel of Women,” and it is said that the reliefs on this temple are so delicate that they could only have been carved by the hand of a woman. The well-preserved relief carvings on the central buildings depict scenes from ancient Hindu tales.
Banteay Srei’s style is a mix of the archaic and the innovative. It is built largely of red sandstone, with brick and laterite used only for the enclosure walls and some structural elements. Although Banteay Srei’s coloration is unique, sandstone of other shades was later to become the norm.
Pediments are large in comparison to entrances, in a sweeping gabled shape. For the first time whole scenes appear on the pediments, while the lintels with central figures and kalas on looped garlands look backwards. The guardian dvarapalas and the colonettes are also old-fashioned. Decoration covering almost every available surface is deeply sculpted and figures rounded. The style is also seen in parts of Preah Vihear.
Like most Khmer temples, Banteay Srei is orientated towards the east. The fourth eastern gopura is all that remains of Isvarapura’s outer wall, approximately 500 m square, which may have been made of wood.
Source and Photos : Sacred Destination