Angkor Wat

Bayon Temple

  • Date: Late 12th century to early 13th century
  • Reign of construction: Jayavarman VII (1181-1220)
  • Cult: Buddhist Mahayanism
  • Art Style: Bayon
  • Clearance work: G. Commaille (1911-1913)
  • Excavation: G. Trouvé 1933
  • Anastylosis: M. Glaize 1939-1946

The Bayon, is the exact centre of the town of Angkor Thom. Having to power after the burning of the capital by a Cham fleet, he rebuilt the city and surrounded it with a strong wall. This rampart constitutes the outer enclosure of the Bayon, it is a wide, provided the earth for the enormous embankment which support it, and makes a boulevard 25m wide, with four little temples at the corners, called "Prasat Chrung": the north-east one which is the best preserved, can be reached after charming walk along the top of the rampart in the thick forest.

The surrounding wall is opened up by five gates, 4 on the axis of the Bayon, the fifth is in the axis of Phimeanakas and the second Angkor. These entrances are splendid examples of carving in the very spirit of the Bayon; their mass is carried by enormous elephants with three heads and with trunks touching the ground in the act of picking lotuses. Above, the structure of triple tower makes the great faces of Avalokiteçvara, casting this benevolent gaze in all directions. The doors have lost their façades and have the appearance of pointed bows, before they were high rectangular bays 7 meter by 3. 50 meter strengthened with powerful leaves. The road which crosses the moat was decorated with two imposing balustrades; the churning serpent drawn by devils at the right (on entering) and by Gods on the left.

The central sanctuary is a huge mass, the dark centre of which is surrounded by a narrow corridor. The excavation of G. Trouvé brought it to light. It is a fine big statue of Buddha sitting on the coils of Naga and in the shelter of his head; it can be seen, re-installed on a terrace, on the right hand side of the avenue leads to the victory gate.

The bas-reliefs on the outer wall (160m 140m) and on the inner gallery differ completely and seem to belong to two different worlds. On the outside is the world of men, of events in history which might actually have taken place, and on the inside is the epic world of gods and legends. Many of legendary scenes are found repeatedly on Cambodian monuments and can be easily recognized. A number of the historical events pictured by the sculptors have also been identified since the correct dating of the Bayon in the 12th century directed research to the history of that time.

The faces ornamenting the towers, which are also found on the gates of Angkor Thom, of Ta Prohm, of Banteay Kdei and of great Banteay Chmar, are certainly the features which most impress the visitors.

Louis Finot formulated a theory (in 1911) that the towers at the Bayon, with somewhat phallic form, were enormous Lingas sculptured with faces, sheltering those worshipped in the shrines inside. This theory was based on the certain belief that the Bayon was a Hindu temple dedicated to Siva. But this theory had to be abandoned when the pediment representing Lokeçvara was discovered, a pediment which had formerly been hidden be the central mass. This indicated that the original and basic character of the Bayon was a Buddhist temple. The faces were certainly Buddhist and probably represented the compassionate Bodhisattva.

Even the archaeologists of the Ecole Français were not able to decide immediately whether the heads on the Bayon were Brahma, Siva or Buddha. The distinctions which clearly different: Brahma: the creator of the universe; Siva spreads blessings on every region in space; Buddha of the Great Miracle duplicates himself infinity; and Lokeçvara faces in all directions. The spirit behind these Indian divinities, which the architect tried to represent, was not so much a real being or individual, but an abstraction.

Pierre Loti: grasped this with the remarkable perception of a poet: from on high, the four faces on each of these towers face the four cardinal points, looking out in every direction from beneath lowered eyelids. Each face has the same ironic expression of pity, the same smile. The multiplication of these faces to the four cardinal points symbolizes the idea that the Royal power is blessing the four quarters of the Kingdom. As for the repetition of these faces on every tower. The idols worshipped in the chapels inside the towers were statues of deified princes or dignitaries or else of local Gods. Each tower corresponded to a province of the Kingdom or at least to a religious or administrative centre of the province. Thus if the four faces symbolizes the Royal power spreading over the land in every direction, placing them over the chapel which was typical of each province signified that: the king Jayavarman VII's Royal power was as strong in the province as at Angkor itself. This accounted for having a four-faced tower to represent each part of the Kingdom. We now begin to understand this mysterious architecture as the symbol of the Great Miracle of Jayavarman VII. It represents his administrative and religious  power extending to every corner of Cambodian territory by mean of this unique sign.

Cambodia Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor complex and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. It is perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief and sculptures make it one of the finest monuments in the world. "Wat" meaning "Monastery" which was called it when it became a Buddhist Hinayanism in the 16th century.  Angkor Wat Temple ...

Cambodia Angkor Thom

 Angkor Thom

The Great City or Capital

Angkor derives from Sanskrit word: "Nagara" meaning "City or Town or Capital"; "Thom" means "Great" so Angkor Thom meaning "Great City".

The town of Angkor Thom as we see it today, is not the first capital of ancient Cambodia in the same place.

The first city was founded by king Yaçovarman I (899 to about 910). This king began his reign in the capital of his father Indravarman I at Hariharalaya. He abandoned the city in order to build his own capital Yaçodharapura meaning the "city of Yaçovarman". It was recognized that the centre of this first city is the Phnom Bakheng. It was chosen for its proximity to the river Siem Reap which does not dry up and because the hill form a natural foundation for the pyramid of the God-King ritual. Yaçodharapura was larger than the present town (4 km at each side) owing to the security was good; it allowed the king to be surrounded the city by cheap enclosures of stake to protect the eastern side, he used the course of the river. Angkor Thom

Cambodia Bayon


The Bayon, is the exact centre of the town of Angkor Thom. Having to power after the burning of the capital by a he city and surrounded it with a strong wall. This rampart constitutes the outer enclosure of the Bayon, it is a wide, provided the earth for the enormous embankment which support it, and makes a boulevard 25m wide, with four little temples at the corners, Read More Bayon

Cambodia Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

The outside enclosure of the temple consists of a large laterite wall about 1000m long by 700m wide with four entrances on the every axis. The central block is about 400m from the east or west entrance and is among the largest of the monument in the Angkor Complex. The inscription gives an idea of the size of the temple. The complex include 260 statues or idols, 39 towers with.. Ta Prohm...
Cambodia Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei was built by Raja Guru Yajnavaraha for installation Linga "Tribhuvana Maheçvara" in the year 967. A special feature of the decoration was the use of a hard pink sandstone. Architectural and decorative features are unique and fine. A tapestry like background of foliage covers the walls of the structures in the central group as if a deliberate attempt had been made to leave no space undecorated. The architecture is distinguished by superimposed pediments, motifs on the frames of the arches and standing figures in the niches. Panels are decorated with scenes inspired by Hindu epics.Banteay Srei...
Preah Khan

Preah Khan

In 1191, five year after the building of Ta Prohm, the king dedicated this temple to be the shelter of the idol of his father, Dharnindravarman II, in the likeness of Bodhisattva Lokesvara. The causeways lead to the temple are bordered by the same figures carrying a Naga symbolized the Churning the Sea of Milk. This architectural element was the mark of a royal city. It may have served as a temporary residence of King Jayavarman VII while he was rebuilding the capital after the Charms sacked Angkor in 1177. Preah Khan is the name of the sacred sword, the safeguard of Cambodia, which is preserved in the palace of Phnom Penh, it seems that there is a connection between this precious arm and the name of the monument, a name which is not unique among the temple of the country. It is among the largest monuments. It includes a set of four concentric enclosures are longer to the east and west (800m by 700m, 7m high), giant Garudas and serpents are decorated every 50m around the 3km long wall. The wall of central complex forms quadrilateral 250m by 175m with Gopuras or entrance pavilion -  with three passages. The avenues 250m long towards the entrances.

Preah Khan ...

Neak Pean

Neak Pean situated in the middle of artificial lake "Jaya Tadaka", 3700m by 900m, which now has been dried up. In the centre of this space is a square lake 72m along, bordered by four smaller lakes situated on the axis and lower than the embankment surrounding the main one. In the middle of it, is a small sanctuary which was formerly entwined by the trunk-roots of a giant creeper, now dead.  Neak Pean
Eastern Mebon

Eastern Mebon

Eastern the Pre Rup, it looks like a reproduction. The temple was built on an island in the middle of the artificial lake (Eastern Baray: 7 km by 1800m) created by Yaçovarman I. The general arrangement is the same but the whole is of more modest proportions and the base of the quincunx of towers is lower. The platform supporting the five towers is a square of more than 30m per side, mounted on a base.. Eastern Mebon
Pre Rup

Pre Rup...

This term refers to a method of incineration which consisted of tracing the outline of the body of the dead person in the cinders, then doing it the other way round which is called "Turning the body". The outer enclosure wall is 127m by 116m;  Pre Rup...

 Banteay Samre Temple

Banteay Samre Temple located along the way to Bok Mountain and eastern side of East Baray “Yasodharatadaka”. The location of the temple is also located in the Angkor Archaeological site in Siem Reap Cambodia.

Samre is the name of minority people who are living in Siem Reap, they live together in a small village called Preah Dak where the temple was located. Banteay means citadel. Thus Banteay Samre is citadel of Samre.

Read more Banteay Samre Temple

  Preah Ko Bakong Lolei

Three temples Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei, 15km South-East of Siem Reap town, comprise the Roluos Group of monuments. They are closed together and extend over an area of 3km east of Great Lake. The Roluos group, dating from the late ninth century, is the earliest site of the 600-year Angkor Period. The three temples belonging to this important group have similarities of architecture,  Preah Ko Bakong Lolei....

Beang Mealea

Beng Mealea is one of the largest ensembles in the Angkor region, covering an area - within its 45m.00 wide moats that cover a distance of 4,200m all around - of 108 hectares, and comparable therefore of its plan, the harmonious equilibrium of its composition and the sense of the monumental, given effect by the large clear surfaces..  Beang Mealea

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