Exquisite detail carvings

Exquisite detail carvings (height is about 1 foot)

Continuing on with my series of my favorite temples in the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, this time we venture of quite a distance, 20km away from the main temples and visit the so called ‘Jewel among the Temples Angkor‘, Bantey Srei. If Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom impressed you with its sheer scale, Bantey Srei, which literally translates to ‘Citadel of the women’, will mesmerize you with one of the most celebrated Khmer Art intricately carved along its temple walls.

Elaborately designed frontons

Elaborately designed frontons

There were already hordes of tourist with their buses and vans already parked at the temple entrance when we arrived with our tuk-tuk mid-morning. Despite it’s distance from the main temples, Bantey Srei gets its fare share of visitors. As much as I detest these tourist crowds, we have to see this temple no matter what.

Cordoned temples

Cordoned temples

There were no high rise towers this time around, let only some ruins at the entrance. And a short walkway which used to be a hallway towards the entrance to the central complex where you are welcomed by an already impressive piece of art at the fronton structure.

Central Complex shrines

Central Complex shrines

Inside the central complex are shrines where you’ll be able to see a fine display of beautiful and intricate carvings than any Angkorian Temple. The area is cordoned off and the viewing time and visitors ere are being controlled to protect the temple from any further destructions. Before, there were incidents here were people would steal pieces of the walls and sell them at a high price on some museums and art collectors. That’s how intricate these temples are that every square inch is filled with detail that alone can stand as a work of art in itself.

False Doors

False Doors

So a tip to any photographers visiting this temple is to bring a telephoto lens or a camera with a large zoom to be able to take detailed pictures of the inner temple walls since you couldn’t get close enough to touch them. Also the optimal lighting where the shadows just reveal their details is around mid-morning until 10:30 in the morning and 1:30pm after. I heard there’s not much crowd in the area during the afternoons.

Female Divinities

Female Divinities at the inner temple walls

Just to give a short background, these temples were constructed in the late 10th century by king Rajendravaman. Pink sandstones were used to build these temples, sculptures and carvings as well. The inner shrines were built dedicated for the gods Shiva and Vishnu.

Male Divinities

Male Divinities at the inner temple walls

Inspecting closely the carvings on the walls are the familiar heroes and heroines of the Hindu epic Ramayana, like Shiva, Parvati, the monkeys of Hanuman and Krishna. Also their finely carved male and female deities are carved beside the walls of the the temple doors like guardians in a watch.

fronton top corner details

fronton top corner details

As you can see, Bantey Srei has become one of my favorite temples in the park due to its rich and detailed artwork deeply carved on its walls and has no rivals in terms of intricacy. This sure is a must visit to anyone whose visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Macro detail

Macro detail (about 2 inches sized carving)

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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

24 Responses to “Cambodia: Bantey Srei”

  1. I wonder how long and how many people it took to carve out the details in that temple. And it’s rock they’re carving. Sandstone, right? I hope those 10th century workers were well-compensated. 😀

  2. last night i was gazing at our cabinet that was carved.. (And i was thinking about the effort and of course the art…. of the person who made it)…

    and now im seeing this… a temple with intricate carvings… sooooooo lovely… wew… grabee..

  3. eric aka senor enrique

    These date back to the 10th century? Whoa! The archipelago was merely trading with the early Chinese traders back then and there was no Philippines, yet.

    Incredible carvings!

  4. Naku Ferdz… talo mo ko… never been there yet… was always too lazy to go all the way there… I still have a year though. 🙂 This temple has just recently become popular nga because of its pink sandstones and intricate carvings. Grabe photos mo… probably the best photos of Banteay Srei I’ve ever seen.

  5. Great shots bro 🙂 This brings us back in time . Kudos to the Cambodian govt for preserving these historical monuments. I always wonder how these temples withstood the ravages of time and weather 🙂 Definitely one of the places I’d like to see 🙂

  6. biyahengpinoy

    thank you for sharing. ikaw ang bahala dyan, kami naman ng ibang bloggers and bahala dito sa pinas. thank you for your wonderful comments on my posts in my blog, especially about my sagada video. enjoy your trip.

  7. rhodora

    For a while, when I clicked on your site and saw the title of your entry – Cambodia: Bantey Srei, I thought I was in Toe’s blog! hehehe.

    But wow! Look at t hese carvings! Grabeh! Haven’t seen carvings as intricate as these!

  8. C hristine

    Such intricate detail! You take such gorgeous photos. And reading your posts really takes me there with you. I’ll be going to Siem Reap next year, and you’ve got me even more excited! 🙂

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