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Destination Details

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Thom temple
 
Angkor Thom is a very popular tourist spot. It was established in the late twelfth century to early thirteenth century by King Jayavarman 7th. This site is situated 1,7 Km north of Angkor Wat, within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors.
 
The fortified city of Angkor Thom, some 9sq km in extent, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire built by Angkor’s greatest King, Jayavarman 7th (ruled 1181-1201)
 
Centered on Baphuon, Angkor Thom is enclosed by a square wall 8m high and 12 km in length and encircled by moat 100m wide. The city has five monumental gates, one each in the north, west and south walls and two in the east wall. In front of each gate stand giant statues of 54 gods (to the left of the causeway) and 54 demons (to the right of the causeway), a motif taken from the story of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk illustrated in the famous bas-relief at Angkor Wat. In the center of the walled enclosure are the city’s most important monuments, including the Bayon, the Baphuon, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas and the Terrace of Elephants.

Bayon Temple
 
The Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple built in the late twelfth century or early thirteenth century. Built at the center of King Jayavarman’s capital. Angkor Thom 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. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance to their religious preferences.
 
The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers that jut from the upper terrace and cluster around its center peak. The similarity of the 216 gigantic faces to other statues of Jayavarman 7th has led many scholars to the hypothesize that the faces are reprentations of the king himself. Others believe that the faces belong to Avolokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

 

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