Cambodia November 2016 (15 photos)
Prasat Bayon (The Bayon) is one of the most recognised temples of Angkor. It was built in the late 12th to early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.
The temple is renowned for its numerous towers, each decorated with an enigmatic face on all 4 sides.
The numerous intricate Bas-Reliefs seem to play second fiddle to the faces but are a star attraction in their own right.
If you have visited The Bayon, you’ll know how hard it is to get photos without people in them. Against the odds, I think I did well. One of the benefits of having my own guide to support me.
The faces just seem to induce a state of serenity that pervades one’s senses whilst at the temple.
As I mentioned in my previous post Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom, the mix of editing styles is deliberate.
The Bayon is oriented to the East and stands in the exact centre of the walled Capital City of Angkor Thom. Most visitors enter Angkor Thom via the South Gate.
“The South Gate of Angkor Thom”
The road to the South Gate leads over a moat and is a 3D representation of the Hindu story of the “Churning of the Ocean of Milk”. There are 54 Gods on one side and 54 Demons on the other.
You can see that some of the statues have been restored.
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk was an elaborate process. Mount Mandara was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki, the king of serpents, who abides on Shiva’s neck, became the churning rope. The demons demanded to hold the head of the snake, while the gods, taking advice from Vishnu, agreed to hold its tail. As a result, the demons were poisoned by fumes emitted by Vasuki. Despite this, the gods and demons pulled back and forth on the snake’s body alternately, causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean. When the mountain was placed on the ocean, it began to sink. Vishnu, in the form of a turtle Kurma, came to their rescue and supported the mountain on his back.
Of course there are other interesting things to see inside Angkor Thom, apart from The Bayon.
“The Terrace of the Elephants”
“The Terrace of the Leper King”
Remember, these were all hand carved.
A Hindu temple built in the mid 11th Century.
Before we exit Angkor Thom, I’ve been recently made aware of a theory regarding the ancient Khmer temples of Angkor. It seems that if a line is drawn on a map connecting the major temples of Angkor, starting at Angkor Wat and passing through Angkor Thom, the resultant drawing resembles a northern sky star constellation.
And the name of this constellation?
– – – DRACO – – –
What are the chances of that? No wonder I have wanted to visit for so long and enjoyed the trip so much.
“The North Gate of Angkor Thom”
By the way, even though I have only just returned to blogging since my last post in December, I have not been lounging around. Rather, I have been hard at work, and my reward is that I’m now due for another holiday, next week in fact. So no posts from me next week while I’m off on another adventure of sorts. Apologies in advance.
Edit: Once again, I am able to link to my friend Paula’s Thursday Challenge about Selective Focus. My photo of the row of faces at the Terrace of The Leper King suits the challenge well.