high-definition creative commons photographs from Banteay Srei, known as the jewel of Angkor in Cambodia, showing the architecture and the exquisite reliefs carvings on this Hindu Saivite temple, together with further information, a video and a map.
Well-Researched Documentary about Banteay Srei (55 mins)
Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located in the area of Angkor it lies near the hill of Phnom Dei, 25 km north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom. Consecrated in 967 A.D. Banteay Srei was the only major temple at Angkor not built by a monarch; its construction is credited to a courtier named Yajnavaraha, who served as a counsellor to king Rajendravarman.
Yajnyavaraha's temple was primarily dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Originally, it carried the name Tribhuvanamahesvara - great lord of the threefold world - in reference to the Shaivite linga that served as its central religious image. The foundational stela says that Yajnavaraha was a scholar and philanthropist who helped those who suffered from illness, injustice, or poverty.
The temple's modern name, Banteay Srei - citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty - is probably related to the intricacy of the bas relief carvings found on the walls and the tiny dimensions of the buildings themselves. Some have speculated that it relates to the many devatas carved into the walls of the buildings.
Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors has led to its being widely praised as a "precious gem", or the "jewel of Khmer art."
Text adapted from Wikipedia (retrieved, March 2nd 2010)
Banteay Srei in Ruins
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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