Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei is more than a temple; it’s a journey back in time. Its artistry and architecture offer a window into the soul of ancient Cambodia. A visit here complements the Angkor Wat experience, providing a deeper understanding of Khmer culture and history.

Discover the Enchanting Banteay Srei: A Citadel of Women

The temple’s name, “Banteay Srei,” translates to “Citadel of the Women.” And women might have built the temple due to the intricate and delicate nature of its carvings.

The temple is famous for its beautiful carvings and reliefs. They cover almost every surface of the temple and depict scenes from Hindu mythology, including stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The carvings are notable for their intricate detail and their use of red sandstone, which gives them a distinctive pinkish hue.

Today, Prasat Banteay Srei is a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the must-see temples in Cambodia, and attracts visitors from around the world who come to admire its beauty and learn about its history and cultural heritage.

Especially famous is the statue of Devata (goddess), the Oriental Mona Lisa. There is also an episode that André Malraux was fascinated by the statue and stole it in 1923 and was arrested.

A Glimpse into History and Architecture

Banteay Srei was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva in the year 967. Unlike other Angkor temples, it was not built by a king but by a Brahmin priest. This temple is renowned for its delicate beauty, often thought to be the work of women. Its carvings are among the finest, most detailed in Cambodia, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

Prasat Banteay Srei has surrounding perimeter wall and has an entrance on the east side. Passing through the gate is the approach, and the approach is lined with lingams. In the photo below, the water on both sides of the approach is not a pond, but a puddle formed during the rainy season. In the back of the approach, you can’t see the intimidating towering temples like Bayon or Angkor Wat.

Exploring the Temple

Follow the approach to Prasat Banteay Srei, pass through the pylon of the first wall, and you will find a moat, and a bridge filled with earth will lead to the second wall and its pylon. As you can see, the center of Prasat Banteay Srei is very compact. However, there is an amazing sculpture hidden inside.

Banteay Srei

The compact size of the temple complex allows for an intimate exploration. Each structure within the site tells a story from the Ramayana and other epics, inviting guests to ponder the skilled artisans of the past. The temple’s pinkish hue at dawn and dusk adds to its enchanting appeal.

After passing through the tower gate of the third wall of Prasat Banteay Srei, it is finally the core. Go to the front room of the central shrine of Prasat Banteay Srei. Please take a close look at the relief of the dancing Shiva on the gable in the center. The left and right gables also have decorative reliefs.

Banteay Srei

In this way, many beautiful reliefs depicting Hindu legends remain on the gables of Prasat Banteay Srei. The picture below is a scene from the Ramayana, a relief depicting three competing monkey brothers.

competing monkey brothers

The heart of the temple is, above all, the reliefs and statues of devata (goddess) around the tower of the central shrine. The photo below is the west side of the central shrine. There are multiple devata (goddesses), so please appreciate them.

Banteay Srei

How to Get There

Access is easiest from Siem Reap. Visitors can hire a tuk-tuk, join a guided tour, or rent a bike for a scenic ride through the Cambodian countryside. The journey reveals rural landscapes and offers insights into local life.

Best Time to Visit Banteay Srei

The best time to visit Banteay Srei is during the cooler months from November to February. Early morning can avoid the heat and capture the temple in its best light.


Prasat Banteay Srei is a very popular temple and numerous tous visit there. Full-Day Banteay Srei & 4 Temples Join-in Tour is one of the most popular tours.


2 responses to “Banteay Srei”

  1. […] exploring Kbal Spean, visitors can visit other nearby wonders. The Banteay Srei temple, known for its intricate carvings, is just a short drive away. The Phnom Kulen waterfall […]

  2. […] tours visit temples at a distance from Angkor center such as Banteay Srei, Beng Mealea and Kbal […]