THE Hindu temple of Banteay Srei is 37 kilometres from the main Angkor Wat temple group, but this has not deterred busloads of tourists from making pilgrimages.
Banteay Srei has been subject to major restoration work during the early to mid 2000s. This involved repair of the foundations and propping up of the laterite walls, because some were leaning alarmingly.
The temple is now in fine condition since its restoration was completed in 2005.
Recent additions in mid-2008 have seen the replacement of a number of statues representing the monkey god Hanuman and several new lion figures grouped to the east within the sanctuary.
Banteay Srei continues to be busy, with hundreds of visitors coming in by bus, and the central area of the sanctuary has been roped off to protect the delicate stonework. This enables a better view of the magnificent carved walls, without tourists getting in the way of each other's photos.
The temple is best seen before 8:30am, when the fleets of tour buses start arriving. DAVE PERKES