Tag Archives: Angkor

The Emperor’s Many Faces: Bayon Temple, Angkor

Eyes closed, they faced the scorching 37°C summer morning with a smile. 

Our guide said that when Jayavarman the VIIth was building the Angkor Thom, he decided to adorn the centrepiece, the Bayon Temple with 216 (no less) faces of himself, as a representation of the Buddha. 64 towers in the main Bayon temple are topped by 4 huge stone faces of the King (or Buddha), one looking in each direction. As you sweat and bake in the sweltering heat, the faces continue smiling serenely and obliviously.

The temple itself has witnessed a few changes of faith over the centuries – from Buddhism to Hinduism and back, and roaming around the temple, you’ll come across remnants of crude alterations in the sculptures and carvings to transform them according to the prevailing religion of the time. The Bayon is indeed the centrepiece of the Angkor Thom; and as you walk around with your camera taking innumerable pictures of the 200+ identical faces, you can’t help but feel that though separated by centuries, the Emperor and you were, somewhat, united by a common muse.

P.S. Angkor Thom is 7 km from Siem Reap, your base for exploring the Angkor area and is easily reached by a tuktuk, that you can hire (with driver) for the day for 15-20 USD. The Angkor Pass works and will be checked so don’t forget to carry it along. Apart from Bayon, explore Phimeanakas, Baphuon, the Terrace of Lepers and the Terrace of the Elephant King and make a day trip out of it.

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What’s been your latest travel-related muse?

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Man v/s Nature: Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia

The name ‘Ta Prohm‘ will probably not ring a bell in most minds.

But its Hollywood avatar as seen here, might.

Continue reading Man v/s Nature: Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia

The Stories are in the Details – Banteay Srei, Angkor

‘Today we go see your temple.’

‘MY temple?’. Wow, I didn’t know I had past-life connections in the Angkor Area. 

‘We go see Ladies’ Temple, your temple’, said our tuktuk driver, before we set off on the 30-km long ride to Banteay Srei, on the outskirts of the Angkor archaeological park. The sun was already pouring liquid heat at 9 AM as I cast a longing glance at the hotel pool before we climbed into the vehicle. Continue reading The Stories are in the Details – Banteay Srei, Angkor