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"Bayon" Angkor Thom Tip by Willettsworld

Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat: 125 reviews and 282 photos

The Bayon was built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII and stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom. It was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha.

The Bayon was revealed as a three-tiered pyramid temple after being cleared of overgrowth, with the central tower stretching to 45m in height. This central tower is topped with the largest examples of the all-facing, all-seeing enigmatic faces that litter the temple throughout. Originally the Bayon was comprised of 54 towers, each of which supported four faces — one looking to each point of the compass. Today, 49 towers remain. Theories behind the meaning of the faces have surmised that the sculptures represented King Jayavarman VII as a god-king and suggest that the 54 towers represent the 54 provinces of the realm, with the king's face looking over the entire country.

The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 27, 2010
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