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Explore the "City of Women"

Banteay Srei, Cambodia


Added by John Maurizi

Explore a 1000 year old temple with intricate carvings and few other visitors. 

Bantaey Srei was built in 967 A.D. primarily of sandstone. Bantaey Srei is the name the locals call the site now. Translated this means "City of Women" or Citadel of Women. It is called this because of the intricate carvings throughout the complex that are said could only be carved by the delicate hands of women. The temple was originally called Isvarapura and was dedicated to Shiva.

From the parking area, walk the dirt path to the first Gopura which is an outer entrance building. Here at Bantaey Srei, the Gopura precedes a long causeway that connects to the third outer most rectangular wall that enclosing the temple. This gate has a beautifully carved head stone over the main entrance. There is several windows on either side in various states of disrepair.

After the Gopura, there is a 67 meters long causeway that connects the Gopura with the Third Enclosure. On either side of the causeway is remnants of corridors leading from the enclosure. This causeway has been nicely restored and makes for a beautiful setting.

Most of the area within the third enclosure is occupied by a moat. There is a causeway to the second enclosure but I recommend taking time to walk along a path that is between the wall of the third enclosure and the moat. The trail is narrow but far enough away to get a full picture of the temple and wonderful reflections in the moat.

The Sanctuary at the center is entered from the east and is backed by three large towers. To gain access to the towers and libraries, you must go through a pavilion. At each entrance are guardians along side the steps. These structures are the most detailed carvings I've seen in Angkor. The structures are rather close together so getting a full picture at once is difficult.

Although this is not within Angkor Archaeological Park proper, you do need the park pass to enter the complex.  This is a great side trip for a half day about 45 minutes north of Angkor. It is best to negotiate this with your Tuk Tuk driver at the start of your day and should be an all inclusive price, typically about $15-$20 for the entire day.

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