Baphuon Temple, a former Hindu shrine of great historical importance often features on the itineraries of visitors to the cultural sites of Angkor in Cambodia. Having once functioned as a mountain temple, Baphuon is considered by experts in the field to have been one of the most resplendent such places of worship in the area in its heyday.
Having been constructed by King Udayadityavarman II in the middle years of the 11th century, the shrine was originally dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. Innumerable historians of years past have called the shrine one of the loveliest temples of the time.
As you might expect in a premier temple of this variety visitors will see many fascinating decorative elements, including elaborate bas-reliefs, some of them featuring scenes from Hindu legend and many visually appealing with exquisite detailing. As visitors walk through the elevated causeway they will be able to admire the carvings on the wall which depict soldiers in battle and a selection of wild animals. Encircling the pyramid located in the complex you will see etchings of lotuses and animals engaged in combat.
In later times, in the latter years of the 15th century the temple was transformed into a Buddhist shrine, and the necessary modifications were implemented by the Buddhist faithful. On the pyramid’s western side you will encounter the awe-inspiring Buddha in reclining position, which may seem to lack finesse as it was never totally completed. This is now being rectified and artisans are carrying out the final touches to complete the statue. Within the complex’s innermost enclosure you will see further bas-reliefs, particularly of scenes from the religious epic Ramayana, such as Sita’s trial and the battle at Lanka. The panoramic views from the summit of the pyramid are another remarkable attraction and should be enjoyed by all visitors to this breathtaking historical site.
With all this to see a visit to the magnificent Baphuon Temple will never be disappointing. Visitors should take the opportunity to fully explore this marvellous work of ancient architecture.
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Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.