"The temples of Angkor (I)" Phumi Siem Reab Travelogue by ValbyDK
Phumi Siem Reab Travel Guide: 497 reviews and 1,126 photos
The Ta Prohm temple is located about 1 km east of Angkor Thom. It was built in Bayon style in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII as a Buddhist monastery and university. Ta Prohm was originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King).
There has only been a little restoration of the temple, and Ta Prohm is more or less in the same condition in which it was found. Inside the temple you’ll find several trees growing through the ruins. Ta Prohm was used as location for the movie ‘Lara Croft – Tomb Raider’…
Ta Keo is located east of the Gate of Victory of Angkor Thom, and is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. King Jayavarman V began the construction of the temple in the beginning of the 11th century, but it was never finished. It is uncertain why the temple was suddenly abandoned, but a story goes that Ta Keo was hit by a thunderbolt, and this event was interpreted as a bad omen. Another theory is that work stopped when Suryavarman I came to the throne.
The towers are about 50 meters high, and the temple is one of the first to be built out of sandstone.
Angkor Thom (means the ‘Great City’) was constructed during the reign of Jayavarman VII in the end of the 12th century. Angkor Thom is a Buddhist monument and was the last capital city of the Khmer Empire.
The city is enclosed by a wall and a moat running 3 km on each side, and to visit Angkor Thom you have to enter one of the 5 gates with the giant faces. They are an image of Avalokitesvara (Lokesvara) = 'the Lord who looks in every direction.'
Angkor Thom covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman VII and his successors: Bayan, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the twin Terraces of the Leper King and the Elephant.
The Bayon temple was built around 1190AD by King Jayavarman VII. It stands in the exact centre of Angkor Thom and represents the intersection of heaven and earth. Bayon was a Buddhist temple, but after King Jayavarman’s death also elements of Hindu was added to the temple.
Bayon is surrounded by two long walls bearing an amazing collection of bas-relief scenes of legendary and historical events. There are more than 11,000 carved figures over 1.2 km of wall.
Bayon is known of its many smiling faces ("Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia"), and around the temple you’ll find more than 200 giant smiling faces.
The faces are carved on each side of the 54 remaining towers – keeping watch at each compass point. The faces are an image of Avalokitesvara (Lokesvara) – but also thought to be a portrait of King Jayavarman VII himself.
The Baphuon is located in Angkor Thom, northwest of Bayon. The temple was built in the mid-11th century by King Udayadityavarman II and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva - but in the late 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple.
This structure stands on a rectangular base measuring 120 meters x 90 meters and reaches a height of over 50 meters. At the western side you’ll find the largest reclining Buddha in Cambodia (9 meters tall and 70 meters). Don’t miss…
The temple was built on land filled with sand, and due to its huge size the site was unstable throughout its history. Large portions of the temple are collapsed, but the temple is being restored by French-led archaeologist at the moment.
The Terrace of the Elephants is located in the Royal Square of Angkor Thom and was built in the end of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII.
The terrace is very impressive; 2½ meters tall and more than 300 meters long. The main attraction is the facade decorated with elephants and their riders. The elephants are using their trunks to hunt and fight while tigers claw at them. The northern section of the wall displays some particularly fine sculpture including the five headed horse and scenes of warriors and dancers.
The Terrace of the Elephants was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the King's grand audience hall.
The Terrace of the Leper King is located in the northwest corner of the Royal Square of Angkor Thom. It was built in the 13th century under King Jayavarman VII.
The name derives from a 15th century sculpture discovered at the site. There are many theories about the statue and it was formerly thought to represent a legendary Angkorian king who had leprosy. However, an inscription on the statue indicates that it depicts the Hindu god Yama (the god of Death). He was called the Leper King because of the lichen growing on the original statue was reminiscent of a person with leprosy. The statue you see today is a copy – the original is in the court-yard of the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
The terrace is 25 meters long and is shaped like a “U”. The walls are carved with seated gods and goddesses. It might have functioned as a cremation platform.
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