Banteay Srei: Sheer Poetry In Stone

Banteay Srei: Sheer Poetry In Stone

The 10th-century monument, Banteay Srei, meaning ‘Citadel of Women’, is a jewel in the crown of Angkorian art. Although officially a part of the Angkor Wat complex, it is located 25 km away. The temple built using soft dark pink sandstone, and primarily devoted to Shiva (Hinduism), was originally called Tribhuvanamahesvara.

It’s a popular belief that its present name, Banteay Srei, originated from the sentiment that the intricate sculptures on the temple walls could only be the handiwork of women. Others ascribe its present name to the locals who were fascinated by the voluptuous figures carved in the temple niches.

Banteay Srei is one of the few temples around Angkor that was commissioned not by a king but by two brothers, Vishnukumara and Yajnavaraha, the latter being counsellor to King Rajendravarman II.