Amazing Angkor Wat1–Bantei Srei
Bantei Srei means Citadel of women and was called as Tribhuvanamaheswara for a while ,is a 9th century Cambodian temple dedicated to Hindu god Lord Shiva. It lies near the hill of Phnom Dei , 25 km north-east of the main group of temples at Angkor Wat,and according to me it is one of the most beautiful architectural monuments created in 9th Century AD that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone , a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today.
It is credited to a courtier named Yajnavaraha, who served as a counsellor to king Rājendravarman II,who after conquering all the nearby Kingdoms is said to have dedicated on the Kulen Hills with Sahasra Lingas,meaning 1008 Lingas in Sanskrit and the Kbal Rivel water runs thro the Lingas and falls on a Maha Vishnu in a reclining posture,which shows his devotion for the Hindu deities.One mustn’t miss an opportunity to visit this beautiful Hills ,Kbal Spean.
In Bantei Srei,even today we can see the mutilated Bull,which is normally seen seated in front of all Shiva temples all over the wold!
The east-facing pediment is lying on the ground. It depicts a scene from the Rāmāyaṇa in which a demon seizes Ramā’s wife Sitā.
One can see Indira mounting on His 3 faced Airavata(Elephant) and Siva Nataraja Relief on the Eastern side.On the western side we can see Rama’s fight with Vali hiding Himself for helping Vali’s brother Sugriva!
A close look at these intricate carvings will reveal the South Indian connection with Sthapathis excelling in their imaginative best in a foreign land some 1300 Yrs ago!