Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre and Banteay Srei – 27/2/2013

Our Visit is written by Ava (aged 7) and mum wrote the background information.

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre

Background Information

The Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre (BBC) works with farmers in the Siem Reap Province by training them on how to farm native species of butterflies.  They also help raise awareness of the importance of conserving natural habitats.  Butterfly farms offer a sustainable income to rural communities because it requires forests, so there is no habitat destruction or effect on endangered species.  

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What is butterfly farming?  Butterfly farming is the breeding of pupae which is exported to overseas zoos and exhibitions.  Farmers arrange a netted enclosure and establish plants edible by the type of butterfly to be raised.  A female butterfly is either caught or bought and kept in the enclosure to lay her eggs.  Once the eggs are laid the farmer will place them in a special container, where they hatch after 10 -14 days, depending on the species.  After the caterpillars emerge they are relocated to their food plants until they pupate approximately 14 days later.  During pupation the larvae attach to a leaf or stick and shed their skin to form pupae.  At this point the farmer will sell the majority of the pupae, while retaining some for further breeding.

The BBC also operates an exhibition where they have a netted tropical garden with thousands of free flying Cambodian butterflies.  Guides lead you through the centre explaining the project’s goals and the life-cycle of the butterfly.

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Our Visit

We went to the butterfly centre.  Our guide Lux took us see the butterfly’s life cycle.  We saw four things.  First an egg and it was yellow.  Second is the caterpillar and some are poisonous if you eat them.  Third is the cocoon which shakes if something lands on it.  Fourth is the butterfly, which can fly away from danger.

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After that we saw a stick insect.  I almost killed it when I dropped it.

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Banteay Srei

Background Information

Banteay Srei is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva that dates to the 10th century.  The temple was originally called Tribhuvanamahesvara, but was later changed to Banteay Srei, meaning ‘Citadel of Women‘ or ‘Citadel of beauty.‘ It is speculated that it was renamed due to the pink colour of the limestone and the intricate carvings of female deities on the walls.  Along with its official names, the temple has many nicknames including; ‘The Lady Temple,’  ‘The Pink Temple,’ ‘Precious Gem,’ ‘Jewel of Khmer Art’ and ‘The Tiny Temple.’ The temple is primarily constructed with red limestone, giving it the pink hue that its famous for.  The composition of the limestone is soft, enabling the elaborate carving that still exists today. The buildings are miniature in size in comparison to other Angkor constructions. 

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Inscriptions found at Banteay Srei show the temple was officially dedicated on the 22nd of April 967 AD.  This temple is the only one found to have been constructed by someone other than the King.  In this case it is attributed to Yajnavaraha, a courtier and King’s counselor. The temple remained in use until the 14th century.

While the temple was rediscovered in 1914, it didn’t receive further attention until after a French politician and novelist stole from the site, prompting restoration work to begin.

The gate on the east side of the site leads you along a causeway, passing three enclosures before reaching the central temple. 

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Gateway

The causeway and beautiful doorways.

 Throughout the complex the surfaces are carved with detailed motifs, animals and flowers. 

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The details in the carvings are truly spectacular

The highlight of the temple is the inner enclosure which features the most elaborate buildings and carvings and incorporates the libraries and sanctuary. 

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