Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire, built by Jayavarman VII in the late twelfth century.  He was the greatest of the Khmer Kings.

Surrounded by a moat and walls the remains of Angkor Thom demonstrate a powerful empire.  The remains include the temple of Bayon, the Baphuon, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King.

The temple of Bayon has 2000 faces on 54 towers

The Gates of Angkor Thom

At each of the cardinal points is a gate big enough to allow Elephants to pass through.  Facing the four cardinal points at the top of each gate is a stone face.

Stone Face of the Southern Gate to Angkor Whom


South Gate to Angkor Thom
Close up of the Gate
The asuras (demons) line the right side of the gate
The devas (gods) line the left side of the gate
The South Gate filled with Tuk-Tuks
Colleen and Emma pose for a photo while it is quiet

The Temple of Bayon

The Entrance
An Intrepid Explorer
A peaceful moment with few people around
A magnificent structure
Faces become more clear
An ancient temple awaits exploration
Faces of Bayon
One thought is that the faces are images of the King, Jayavarman VII
bas-relief of Army
The roof below the face has stood for over 800 years


The majority of the Towers have 4 faces
Side shot
Bas-relief of female dancer
Attention to detail
Time touches us all


The Angkor smile
At peace
Silent sentinel
peaceful vision
I am here for an adventure
We are being watched
Stand for eternity
Another intrepid explorer
Shall we Dance?
Dancing is healthy
jigsaw puzzle
We are to War
Pardon me? Can you pass the Grey Poupon?
How many faces do you see?
Dancing on lotus flowers


The Baphuon, state temple of King Udayadityavarman II, lies between the Royal Palace and the Bayon temple. It is in the shape of a stepped pyramid. The sandstone monument is dedicated to Shiva. In the 15th century, when converted into a Buddhist temple part of the temple was destroyed. Colleen stayed with Ben at the bottom as children under 12 are not allowed into the higher portions of the terrace.  After climbing the steep stairs the age limit made sense.

Ben at Baphuon
Walking into Baphuon
The gate to the palace
Waiting at the bottom among the stones
The top of Baphuon
Looks like something out of Dr Who
The walkway into Baphuon
Waiting patiently
Emma taking a break at the top
The great puzzle of pieces
They are a small people

The Elephant Terrace

Built by the King, Jayavarman VII, so that he could watch his returning army march through the Victory gate.  He knew how to have a parade!

Elephants adorn the walls of the terrace
Monkeys on the inner wall facing the palace
The Elephant terrace to hold spectators for the Army returning victorious from battle
Ravaged by time, the Elephants are visible
Outcropping of the Elephant Terrace
The Tuk-Tuks stream past the terrace
Towers in the distance between the palace and the victory gate

Terrace of the Leper King

According to Inga, who travels to Cambodia quite a bit, “When the statue was first discovered, it had massive discoloration and moss growing on it resembling a person with leprosy. The statue represents Yama – the Lord of the Dead.  In the past, it was thought to represent the legendary “leper king”, King Yasovarman I.  The is now considered to have functioned as a royal cremation platform.”

Intricate carvings adorn the walls of the terrace
The male figure looks like an asura (demon)
This replica of the statue of the Leper King which has moved to the National Museum in Phnom Penh is either Yama, Lord of the Dead or King Yasovarman I


We had the opportunity to video the Elephant Terrace to the Terrace of the Leper King from the Tuk-tuk as we drove to a different site the following day.  The video gives you a true sense of how big the promenade was.  Gotta Love a good parade!


Next post Ta Prohm Temple made famous by Tomb Raider and Angelina Jolie.




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