Temples of Angkor


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Angkor Thom and The Bayon

The fortified city of Angkor Thom: The Great City, was the center of the Khmer Kingdom.  More splendid than any European city of its day, only the religious monuments remain as witness to the magnificence of the last Khmer capital.  Access at the South Gate is over a causeway flanked by these magnificent Devas and Asuras
Representing the Churning of the Sea of Milk 54 Devas on the left pull the head of the mythical Naga and on the right 54 demon Asuras push the tail 
Southern Gateway


One of 200 faces remaining at Bayon

The three headed albino elephant Aravana, mount of Indra the God of thunder, lightning and war adorns the inner corners where the gateway meets the walls.  His trunks tugging at lotus flowers form the pillars

Elephant rides around Angkor Thom

Phimeanakas  Where the King worshiped -  Royal Palace
Due to the sad death of 'Sambo' in 2016 of a heart attack caused by neglect & extreme heat these bas-reliefs may soon be the only elephants here
Elephants and mythical Hindu Garuda birds support the middle section of the Elephant Terrace.  The large stone platform is believed to be the base of the Kings wooden audience hall, long since rotted away as have all the royal and secular buildings of Angkor

The enigmatic, serene and smiling faces on the towers at the gates and within The Bayon were added later, some say they resemble  the great Khmer God-King Jayavarman VII

As a Buddhist ruler it would not have been unusual for him to have his image used to represent the  Bodhisattva Lokesvara  guardian of the four cardinal points

Bas Reliefs

The galleries of The Bayon are richly decorated with bas-reliefs, depicting mythical scenes,  daily life in villages in and on the Tonle Sap and historical battles on land and water.  As this is a funerary monument, view from left to right in the order of the Hindu funeral ritual

 The 7' high scenes are stacked in 2 or 3 layers.  The image on the right depicts two scenes,  the upper section, foot soldiers supported by archers riding on an elephant and the lower,  Chams  armed with spears being rowed into battle on the Tonle Sap by their galley oarsmen in 1177

Barefoot Khmer soldiers march to war.  The officers on elephants and a person of some importance riding a horse beneath a parasol
Built on a previous temple with the heads added even later, it post dates Angkor Wat by 100 years but is in a worse condition structurally.  The sandstone used was inferior and the number of temples being built towards the end of the Dynasty may have caused standards of workmanship to fall

Ta Nei

My driver asked if I wanted to go to a temple with no other visitors.  Of course I did.  After a 20 minute walk through dense forest and across a dam,  I arrived here and was a little disappointed to find it covered with instruments and the materials of conservation, but only for a brief minute, something has to be done to preserve these wondrous monuments

International Joint Research on

Ta Nei Sites Micro Climate

Stone Cleaning and Protective Treatment

Dec 2001 - Dec 2006

 Instruments measure rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind velocity and direction.  Chemicals remove moss without damage to the stonework

The temple and its classroom for training in preservation techniques was completely deserted which I loved but came to regret.  "Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by" - and got hopelessly lost.  I had to retrace my footsteps back to Te Nei twice before finding the right path out of the forest 


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