Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Samre is a compact and beautifully proportioned temple laid out during the reigns of Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II. It was probably built by a high-ranking official, not by the king, which was unusual but not unheard of (Prasat Kravan, also at Angkor, was another privately built temple). The temple stands about 500 meters east of the southeast corner of the (now dry) eastern baray. Its relative isolation prevents it from receiving as many tourists as the larger temples to the west, although the quality of the bas-reliefs and stonework is among the best at Angkor. In fact, the temple was originally believed to have been erected in the 15th century as the quality of its design suggested that was built at the apex of Khmer artistry and technological know-how.

The layout of Banteay Samre is similar in many respects to other temples built in the reign of Suryavarman II, including Chau Say Tevoda, Thommanon, and Angkor Wat. Similar features include the distinctive shape of the central sanctuary's tower, along with the mandapa (antechamber) connected to the central shrine via an antarala (small corridor). The layout and positioning of the 'libraries' is also a common feature, as is the series of galleries encircling the temple's core pavilions. One curious omission at Banteay Samre is the lack of apsara bas-reliefs, which were used extensively in the other major temples of Suryavarman's era.


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