Out of the many temples in Siem Reap Banteay Srei is a hidden gem of a place well worth a visit and this is the Your Cambodia teams guide to this Cambodian wonder….
Banteay Srei (or Srey) is a 10th century temple dedicated the Hindu God Shiva. Around a 30 minute drive from Siem Reap this ancient site is well worth a visit if you get the chance.
The drive alone will take you through some of Siem Reaps most beautiful country side and the sandstone carved temples are some of the most ornate that Cambodia has to offer. The temple is surrounded by woodland and rice fields with some look out points situated strategically for great photo opportunities.
Although the site at Banteay Srei is much smaller than the sprawling complexes of Angkor we found the experience to be a bit more personal in nature. We’d advise an early morning visit to beat the heat and the majority of the crowds that arrive by bus.
The temple of Banteay Srei lies about 20km north of the main Angkor temples, and it is well worth a visit to this small sized temple highly decorated with carvings. The temple is constructed in pink sandstone and the relief and depth of the carvings, the high level of detail and decoration of the temple probably led to its modern name of ‘Banteay Srei’ which roughly translates to ‘Citadel of Women’.
Built during the reign of king Rajendravarman, it was commissioned by one of the king’s counsellors and was not a royal temple. The temple has three towers, the central and southern tower is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, and the north tower dedicated to Vishnu. Unusually there is not a tower dedicated to Brahma.
A long causeway leads up to the temple on the east side, this passes through a boundary wall and a moat surrounding the main temple. There is a viewing platform outside the wall on the northern side and there is a smaller entrance to the temple on the west side that is now closed off.
The Banteay Srei temple closes to visitors at 5:00 pm, due to the location of Banteay Srei, it is often combined with a visit to Kbal Spean / Phnom Kulen.
For more information on Banteay Srei & its history follow the link here.