Built in the 10th century, Banteay Srei is a small temple with delicate carvings in red sandstone, by far the best carvings we saw at Angkor temples. Banteay Srei was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Like many Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is surrounded by a moat, shown below.
The three towers below are similar to those built the century before at Lolei and Prasat Bakong, but the Banteay Srei towers are covered with carvings. The courtyard is paved with laterite, a tropical mud rich in iron that dries hard. We visited Banteay Srei at sunset, when the setting sun enhanced color of the red sandstone.
This photo of the corner of the center tower shows some of the carvings covering the towers.
The red sandstone of the towers supports delicate carvings that have survived outdoors for a thousand years. The devata below is a standing maiden.
Banteay Srei is a real treat to see — the delicate carvings and red color are beautiful and amazingly well preserved considering they’ve been outdoors for a thousand years.