Amongst the key attractions in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, the Bayon Temple is a truly awe-inspiring sight and here’s more on what to expect.
Planning a Visit
This temple lies within the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Siem Reap; things to do here including exploring such sacred sites is easy if you’re based at properties like Anantara Angkor Resort, just 15 minutes away. Such accommodation providers offer personalised tours by a ‘temple guru’ too.
A Historical Temple
The 12th century Bayon Temple dates to the reign of King Jayavarman VII and is a representation of Mount Meru, which according to Buddhist and Hindu cosmology, is the centre of the universe. This attraction is in the heart of Angkor Thom, the Khmer Empire’s capital, and though initially a Buddhist temple, it was later turned into a Hindu one.
What to Expect
When approaching from the east, you will come across naga balustrades and guardian lions at a sizable terrace. There are three enclosures to explore; the third enclosure features galleries with sculpted bas reliefs, the second has towers with sculpted faces as well as bas reliefs and the first has a central sanctuary with more sculpted faces.
The Face Towers
Also called the ‘Face Temple’, the site features towers with faces sculpted on them; there are nearly 200 faces some of which are close to 2.5 metres high! Initially, it was thought that they were of the Hindu deity, Brahma; it was subsequently established that they were probably the Bodhisattva of compassion, Lokeshvara though some believe they could be of King Jayavarman VII.