Bayon temple backside view

The Art & Architecture Of Bayon Temple: A Photo Blog

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Established by King Jayavarman Ⅶ, the Bayon Temple covers 9 sq. km. It’s also known as Angkor Thom, Yashodhara, or Nokor Thom, meaning “big city” in Khmer. A stone inscription reveals its original name as Chey Kiri, meaning “triumphant mountain.”

Tourists often call Bayon the “face temple” because of the towers adorned with enigmatic human faces in all directions. The meaning of these faces remains a mystery, with some believing they depict King Jayavarman, while others suggest they represent the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Unlike many other temples surrounded by moats, Bayon has five imposing gates guarding the cardinal directions, with moats outside the gates. The city walls, made of laterite, stand between 7 and 8 meters tall and stretch for 3 kilometers. Each corner features a small temple called Prasat Chrung. The king, his family, officials, military officers, and priests lived within the city walls, while others resided outside. Only the stone structures remain today, as the wooden ones have decayed over time.

Bayon contains Buddha statues that are worshipped inside. According to the inscriptions on the doorposts, the names of various deities in Buddhism and Brahmanism lead us to understand that the Bayon Temple is considered the Dhammapada as it is the center of deities of both Mahayana Buddhism and Brahmanism religions.

The intricate bas-relief carvings on the outer walls and Bayon’s second enclosure depict various scenes in all four directions of the temple. Descriptive boards nearby help visitors understand these carvings including the King Jayavarman, the Khmer empire, and chams, and gods in Brahmanism, to name a few.

Bayon Temple or Angkor Thom

Sunrise at Bayon temple, Angkor Wat complex, Cambodia
Sunrise at Bayon temple
Carvings of the dancing apsaras
Carvings of the dancing apsaras
Faces at Bayon temple tower
Faces at the Bayon temple tower
Bayon temple with temple towers
The disciples praying to the King Jayavarman - bas relief carvings at Bayon temple
bas relief carvings – the two queens (on the left) showing respect to King Jayavarman among other disciples.
King Jayavarman and his two queen on a possession
King Jayavarman and his two queens on a six-wheeled chariot, accompanied by musicians, soldiers, etc.
Closer look of the faces at the Bayon temple
King Jayavarman and hospital scenes at the bottom
King Jayavarman, waiting for his queen. At the bottom, patients getting treated at the hospital
Side hallways of Bayon temple
Bayon temple, Cambodia - full view

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