The Faces of Angkor

The Faces of Angkor

Bayon, which was built in the 12th century is located in the exact center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom and is a must-see on anyone’s Angkor Kingdom itinerary.  The 216 enigmatic faces that adorn the 54 stone towers in the temple are the main draw, but the temple also features two amazing bas reliefs.  Here is a photo journal of the many different faces of Bayon.

From a distance Bayon may look a little like a pile of rubble, but as soon as you get closer the faces begin to reveal themselves and the magic of Bayon is unveiled.  It is a three-tiered temple allowing visitors several different view points, it is said that all views in Bayon allow you to see at least a dozen heads at a time.

The similarity of the 216 gigantic faces on the temple’s towers to other statues of the king that is credited with building Bayon has led many scholars to the conclusion that the faces are representations of King Jayavarman VII himself.

The central prasat, or pyramid temple, of Bayon as viewed from the third level of the structure.  This view gives you a sneak peek of three different faces.

A closer look at one of the many faces of Bayon gives you an idea of their size with 15 two foot by three foot stones making up the face. This one is believed to be one of the faces of Lokeshvara, the Compassionate Lord that, facing the cardinal points, watched over and protected the Khmer people.

A devata, or divine being, adorning the library walls located inside Bayon.  These devatas gave researchers a way of tracking the evolution of Khmer art throughout the Angkor Kingdom as each of the nine styles seen throughout the Kingdom mark a period in history.

A small section of the incredible bas reliefs found at Bayon.  This one is depicting the army marching into the battle of Tonle Sap.  The wall is 15 feet tall and covered with details of both the preparation for the battle and everyday life of villagers.

A long hallway on the second floor of Bayon that showcases the detailed carvings on each of the columns supporting the third floor terrace.  There is so much to see at Bayon from the bas reliefs and faces to the dark alleyways of the second floor that you’ll want to plan plenty of time for your visit.

IF YOU GO:

Visit at sunrise or sunset when you get great light on the faces, which makes for great pictures too.  These are also the times that you won’t fight as many people to get the best views.

Explore, Bayon is huge and there are secret caves to explore on each level as well as beautiful details to be discovered everywhere you turn.

Expect to spend time, in order to get pictures without tons of tourists in them you are going to have to be patient and spend a little extra time.

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Comments

» dad :
Apr 28, 2011

sorry , as good as your words and pics are, one cannot do justice to the scope, size, beauty, peace, spirituality and serenity that Siem Riep and the temples provide……as i shared under another post, this area is certainly the highlite of our limited world travels…..i will be curious where this experience “ranks’ in your overall adventures…….just to keep you grounded, it snowed here again last night, we mere mortals are struggling, 90 snow days this winter…….be safe…..peace…..love dad

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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