Banteay Srei Temple – Beautiful Ancient Khmer Lady Temple goes by many nicknames, “The lady temple” or “The Pink Temple” is one of the most beautiful at Angkor complex. It is a tiny temple built with the pink limestone dedicated to Hindu god shiva, this 10th century ancient Khmer temple is famous with its pink color and the most elaborate wall carving with great skill and precision.
Banteay Srei is so much more than a temple, offering visitors a diverse range of real-life experiences located away from the main monuments, Angkor Wat. In addition, visitors discover an indication of the distinctiveness of this little temple, which feels so different to the imposing grandeur of the main Angkorian complex.
Banteay Srei temple located in a remote area of Banteay Srey district about 32km from Siem Reap town, the temple was rediscovered in 1914 and reconstructed by French conservator during the 1930s. Today the Banteay Srei is a very well preserved and restored monument.
The best time to visit Banteay Srei temple is in the early morning or during the cooler times of the day. The temple is quite small to create much shadow, so it’s not possible to sit in the shade of its walls.
You cannot buy a seperate ticket to visit just this temple, the entrance fee is included in ticket pass for the main Angkor complex.
If you wish to stay and explore the Banteay Srey District area, there are several homestays and small restaurants nearby the area with reasonable price. To get more from your trip to Banteay Srei temple make it as part of one day trip to explore the River of a Thousand Lingas at Kbal Spean and Beng Mealea.
Background of Banteay Srei Temple
Banteay Srei temple was build in the 10th century and consecrated on 22 April 967 A.D by Yajnavaraha. It is the only ancient Khmer temple that not built by a King, its construction is credited to the courtiers named Vishnukumara and Yajnavaraha who served as a Brahmin priest and counselor to the king Rajendravarman II.
The foundation stele was discovered in 1936 says that Yajnavaraha, grandson of king Harsavarman I, was a scholar and philanthropist who helped those who suffered from illness, injustice, or poverty. The stele also praises King Jayavarman V, who was King when the Banteay Srei was built, and the builders of the temple, Yajnavaraha, and his brothers. Originally, the temple was surrounded by a town called Īśvarapura.
Layout of the Banteay Srei Temple
The Banteay Srei temple faces the east and consists of three concentric rectangular enclosures containing a moat and several structures. A causeway leading from an outer gopura (gate) to the main Eastern entrance. The causeway was lined by wall galleries and other structures, only sandstone pillars are still standing.
The outer gopura is the only structure that still remains of the outer wall surrounding the ancient town of Isvapura. The wall is believed to have been constructed of wood and approximately 500 m square.
The second enclosure is delimited by a wall with a gate entrance on the East and Westside. Along the wall are laterite galleries that once filled the second enclosure have partially collapsed. The Eastern entrance door is just 1.08 meters high.
The sanctuary, two libraries, and three towers (Prasat) located in the inner enclosure which features the most elaborate carvings of mythological stories. The central tower almost 10 meters high, the others are slightly shorter. Although the temple dedicated to Shiva, the figure of Vishnu does also feature heavily in the temple.