World Travel GuidesUNESCO World Heritage Site  Banteay Kdei Temple, Angkor

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Banteay Kdei is an ancient Angkor ruin located on the western shore of the man-made reservoir, Srah Srang. Its name means "citadel of the cells". It was built as a Buddhist monastic complex by Jayavarman VII, the prolific ruler who constructed much of Angkor's temples. By the time Banteay Kdei was built, much of the good quality stones have been exhausted. Hence it was built mostly using low quality sandstone. Due to the poor quality of the material used, much of Banteay Kdei is today crumbling. And to make matters worse, the craftsmanship was also poor. I have to say that Jayavarman VII was big on quantity but not on quality.

Banteay Kdei is similar in style to Ta Prohm just a stone's throw away down the road. It is slightly smaller, less ornate (at least, judging from what remains to be seen) and less overtaken by nature. (Here, I have to mention that Ta Prohm appears overtaken by nature because the restorers deliberately kept it that way.) Typically visitors begin their tour of Banteay Kdei at the East Gopura near Srah Srang, and walk from east to west, across the compound, through the ruins, and out again, through to the gopura on the other side. That was how I did as well, on my visits to Banteay Kdei.

Construction Details

Built in the middle of the 12th Century to beginning 13th Century
by King Jayavarman VII (reigned 1181-1220)

Khmer children inside the ruins of Banteay Kdei.

The stone faces on the East Gopura of Banteay Kdei - a signature of Jayavarman VII architectural style.

Ever thought how it looks like to look upwards inside the gopura? This is it, with a bit of flare from the morning sun.

Apsaras carved on the wall of the gopura.

Souvenir stalls at Banteay Kdei.

The naga causeway leads to the Hall of Dancers, Banteay Kdei.

Buddha image in the Hall of Dancers, Banteay Kdei.

The section of Banteay Kdei between the 3rd and 2nd Enclosures.

Gopuras of the central sanctuary, Banteay Kdei.

A broken Buddha image, with the ever-present donation box.

Ruins towards the end of the 2nd Enclosure, Banteay Kdei.

Western causeway of Banteay Kdei.

The West Gopura of Banteay Kdei.

How to reach Banteay Kdei

Most tuk tuk driver will be familiar with Banteay Kdei, but if you're travelling independently from Siem Reap, the most straightforward way to reach Banteay Kdei is to take the road from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat. When you see the moat of Angkor Wat, turn right (not left, that takes you to Angkor Thom). After a short distance, you will pass Prasat Kravan on your right. After another distance you will see the man-made reservoir of Srah Srang on your right and Banteay Kdei on your left.

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