Friday, May 18, 2007

Bayon - Massive Stone Faces

Angkor Thom, (Great Walled City) and capital of Angkor, was built by Angkor’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII. Four huge gates (click here), each high enough to accommodate an elephant and riders, faced in each direction
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At the each gate entrance to Angkor Thom, there is a row of devas on the left and asuras on the right, each row holding a naga (not shown) in the attitude of a tug-of-war. This appears to be a reference to the myth, popular in Angkor, of the Churning of the Sea of Milk. The myth relates that as the Devas pulled the snake in one direction and the gods pushed in the other, the ocean began to churn and precipitate the elements. By alternating back and forth, the ocean was "milked", forming the earth and the cosmos anew.
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The south gate of Angkor Thom is the best preserved. The stone gate is capped by face-towers.
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The moat enclosing the city of Angkor Thom in an area of 9 km square.
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In the heart of Angkor Thom, lies the beautiful Bayon temple. The temple complex seen from the main entrance.
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The most distinctive feature of the temple is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on some thirty seven surviving towers.
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These towers were actually covered in gold. The gold was stripped by later conquorers.
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The giant stone faces of Bayon has become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture - the mysterious smiling gods.
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The bas-reliefs on the exterior walls - some contain real-life scenes from the historical sea battle between the Khmer and their rivals.
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The temple honours not just one deity, but a host of gods found throughout the Khmer empire.
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Other carvings are as well exquisite that cold carved stones kept me stunned with beauty.
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It was a mind blowing experience - very unique, magnificent, beautiful, mysterious, and an architectural masterpiece.
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The Bayon temple is the second must-see temple next to Angkor Wat.
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The mysterious smiling gods of the Bayon temple seem to remind all (Khmer) people to live together in peace, happiness, and prosperity.

3 comments:

catalyst0527 said...

I want to visit Cambodia someday! :)
The architecture and other arts in Cambodia is so hard for me to understand!

Lee Ai Ling said...

Gorgeous pictures. I really really really want to visit Cambodia soon.

Patrick Leong said...

catalyst0527 : you should. i want to go there again. but probably not during the hot season of april/may. it is too hot. i like to see the place again during the rainy season. i think it would be a totally difference experience.

ailing : yes. i am sure you will like the place.