Friday, December 31, 2010

Bayon and Surrounding Area

After we paid a long tribute to Angkor Wat, we entered Angkor Thom through South Gate. "Thom" in Khmer term means "large". So, Angkor Thom mean Large City. We visited  Bayon in the middle of Angkor Thom. Bayon, or Prasat Bayon consists of 54 towers with more than 200 giant faces carved on each side of the towers.

Bayon is the second largest temple in Angkor Archaeology Park. Again, the temple has three levels, with the entrance terrace flanked by two ponds, one on each side of the terrace. During our visit, the pond was not so obvious with very less water. The center prasat is 43 m above ground level (about the height for 14 storeys building). For two and a half hours at Angkor Wat, Bayon took us around an hour.

Photo at the front terrace at Bayon (left). The terrace elevated few feet from the ground, connected by stairs.

A closer look on Boyon revealed giant faces on the towers. Photo taken from the broken wall of first gallery.
We grab opportunity to get loose our tiring feet while our tour guide is pressing us on the history lesson.

Doorway to the first level of Bayon (left). The first level of the temple lead to the enclosure of second level of the temple. The enclosure of second level of the temple is more "open" in the sense that contains more passages.

Staircase to the second level of Bayon, after we enter the second level enclosure.

On the second level, we can see the giant faces clearly. The king Jayavarman VII proclaimed himself the incarnation of "Bodhisattva Lokeshvara", and the giant faces are claimed to be "Bodhisattva Lokeshvara". So, we guess, the faces at Bayon are faces of the king, Jayavarman IIV.

Faces of the king from second level of Bayon.

A closer look on the faces.

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of twelve separated towers, connected by a terrace. The edifices are believed serve entertainment purposes, by pointing to its modern name- Towers of the Rope Dancers. However, official from China, Zhou Daguan depicted the towers as a place to keep the litigants. No matter what the actual usage were, the bright laterite towers built by Indravarman II (around first half of the 13th century) were eyes catchers in the middle of the green and stony surrounding.

Khleang, just behind Prasat Suor Prat, is believe to be the store house in old days. Some controversially claim that the twin edifices might be the residences for the very important guests. Khleang was built 200 years earlier than Prasat Suor Prat.

Prasat Suor Prat from the roadside.

Photo of Khleang and Prasat Suor Prat.

We didn’t take a very close look on both of the edifices, but just “touch and go” on our way from Bayon to Sras Srang. We took our lunch at Sras Srang. Carried the exhaustion from the previous day, we decided to go back early for a rest. We reached our hotel around 3 pm, took rest and prepared ourselves for the great marathon on the next day, which started with Phnom Bakheng and Baphuon.

[Bayon and Surrounding Area] [Phnom Bakheng and Baphuon]

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