|Awesome Bas Relief of Banteay Srei|
"Bantãy Srĕi" means Citadel of Women or Citadel of Beauty. It is the modern name of a 10th-century Khmer temple originally called "Tribhuvanamaheśvara" or Great Lord of the Threefold World, an appellation of the god Siva. Banteay Srei is known for the intricacy of its bas relief carvings that historians says could only be done by gentlest of woman's touch.
I consider Banteay Srei as my favorite place in Siem Reap. It wasn't as big as Angkor Thom or as popular as Angkor Wat but it is unrivaled when it comes to intricate designs of its carvings. The site consists of three concentric rectangular enclosures constructed on an east-west axis. A causeway situated on the axis leads from an outer gopura, or gate, to the third or outermost of the three enclosures.
|Entrance with a View|
The inner enclosure contains the sanctuary, consisting of an entrance chamber and three towers, as well as two buildings conventionally referred to as libraries. It's a bit out of the way compared to other Angkor sites, but Banteay Srei is among the most beautiful for sure. Despite the relatively diminutive size, the colors of the sandstone and intricacy of the carvings create a sense of immersion into the Angkor Empire.
|"Kala" - Mythical Creature of God Siva|
Banteay Srei has the best preserved carvings I have seen in Siem Reap. The carved walls are roped off so a close inspection is not possible but you can still see a lot of details. A special feature here is the depth of the carvings which means that there are two or sometimes three interconnected layers of images, rather than the ususal one or two discrete layers.
|Khmer Writings on the Wall|
The temples in Banteay Srei is built largely of a hard red sandstone that can be carved like wood. Brick and laterite were used only for the enclosure walls and some structural elements. The temple is known for the beauty of its sandstone lintels and pediments.
|Of Walls and Windows|
|Intricate Red Carvings|
A pediment is the roughly triangular space above a rectangular doorway or openings. At Banteay Srei, pediments are relatively large in comparison to the openings below, and take a sweeping gabled shape. For the first time in the history of Khmer architecture, whole scenes of mythological subject-matter are depicted on the pediments.
|A God and A Mythical Creature|
On the other hand, a lintel is a horizontal beam spanning the gap between two posts. Some lintels serve a structural purpose, serving to support the weight of the superstructure, while others are purely decorative in purpose. The lintels at Banteay Srei are beautifully carved, rivalling those of the 9th century Preah Ko style in quality.
|Curves and Carves|
Noteworthy decorative motifs include the kala (a toothy monster symbolic of time), the guardian dvarapala (an armed protector of the temple) and devata (demi-goddess), the false door, and the colonette. Indeed, decorative carvings seem to cover almost every available surface.
|Citadel of Women|
"Given the very particular charm of Banteay Srei – its remarkable state of preservation and the excellence of a near perfect ornamental technique – one should not hesitate, of all the monuments of the Angkor group, to give it the highest priority." At Banteay Srei, "the work relates more closely to the art of the goldsmith or to carving in wood than to sculpture in stone".
Note: Some texts and reference materials were from here.