The Kala, Guardian & False Door

Some may say that Bantãy Srĕi is named for the citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty but it is most probably related to the intricacy of the bias relief carvings found on the walls.

Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings and intricate details that are still visible today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, in fact so much so that even I would hit my head walking through the doorways or down through the halls. So unlike anything else built by the standards of Angkorian construction.

Built sometime around April 22, 967 A.D it’s the only temple not built by a monarch but at some point came under the control of the king and had its original dedication changed to Monday, the 14th or 28th July 1119 A.D.

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.  Every conceivable space is filled with carvings of different shapes and sizes.

By far this is my favorite of temples in the realm of Angkor Wat just for its stunning color changes with the light or maybe it’s the rice paddies right outside the gates.  Either way, I will be back again and again.



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