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Consecrated in 967, Banteay Srei is the only major temple at Angkor not built for the king. It was constructed by one of King Rajendravarman's ministers, Yajnyavaraha, who served as tutor to the future king Jayavarman V. It was built on a land given to him by the king that lies about 23 kilometers northeast of Angkor. The carvings and architectural details in this pink sandstone temple are some of the finest of Khmer art.

In 1923, a famous french writer named André Malraux who became later Ministry of Culture and was then a young adventurer, was jailed for stealing stone apsaras from a wall of the ruins at Banteay Srei, in the days when the temple was still enshrouded in jungle. He was soon arrested and the figures returned.

Banteay Srei - citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty - is by popular consensus a "precious gem", the "jewel of Khmer art". The immediate surroundings of the temple offer a true vision of paraside where the temple itself and the tropical vegetation mirror in peaceful ditches invaded by colourful water lilies.

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Additional Photos by JM Hullot (vincz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2604 W: 77 N: 5252] (19113)
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