Angkor Thom is few km away from Angkor wat. It was established in 12th century by Jayavarman II who was the most powerful king of Khmer Empire. Looking at his achievements, he can be compared to Krishnadevaraya of Vijaynagar. Interestingly, while most of the Khmer kings were Hindus, Jayavarman II was a Buddhist. Most of the temples in Angkor Thom were built during his era.
Our second day in Siem Reap was mainly spent in the the Angkor Thom area. The first place of visit was Bayon, one of the most widely known temple. It is the only major temple dedicated to Buddha.
From outside, though gigantic, the temple looks like a muddle of stones. The striking feature of Bayon is the 216 gigantic faces on the towers which many consider as the statue of Jayavarman II himself. Like Monalisa in Paris, the serenity of the face attracts lot of people.
Unfortunately, Bayon seemed to be the most difficult place to photograph. Unlike Angkor Wat, the space was limited in the inner galleries of Bayon. The intension of some tourists was to take photograph in various styles in front of the monuments. It was a nuisance.
The temple consists of outer and inner gallery which is filled with Bas reliefs and the upper terrace which has the famous “face towers”. Most of the towers has faces on all its four faces. The significance of these faces is still not clear.
The central tower had a statue of Buddha. But the later king Jayavarman VIII destroyed it and put in a well. It was recovered later during restoration in last century but now placed at a different location.
It took us about an hour to cover the entire temple. Like in Angkor wat, it was a feeling of happiness on seeing such an impressive structure notwithstanding the humidity of the place!!
|One of the entrance gate for Angkor Thom|