Banteay Srei



Banteay Srei

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The remote temple complex of Banteay Srei (also known as Srey) or the Citadel of Women is famed for its exquisitely detailed carving. Executed in pink sandstone, the complex was founded in the second half of the 10th century by Hindu priests, and so, unlike most other mon u ments in Angkor, is not a royal temple. Rectangular in shape, and enclosed by three walls and the remains of a moat, the central sanctuary contains ornate shrines dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu God  of Destruction. The intri- cately carved lintels  reproduce scenes from the great Hindu epic Ramayana. Depictions of Shiva, his consort  Parvati, the monkey- king Hanuman, the  divine goatherd Krishna, and the demon­king Ravana are all beautifully etched. Also excep ­ tional are the elaborate and finely detailed carved figures of gods and goddesses in the recessed niches of the towers in the central sanctuary. The male divinities carry lances and wear simple loincloths. By contrast, the goddesses, with their long hair tied in buns or plaits, are dressed in  loosely­draped Indian- style skirts, and almost  every inch of their bodies is laden with gorgeous heavy jewelry.

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