Photo Gallery

Bayon Temple (c. 1200)

Bayon was the state temple of Jayavarman VII, a powerful ruler in the late 13th century. The temple sat at the center of Angkor Thom, a walled city that served as the capital of the Khmer Empire. Four of the city's five gates sat on axis with the temple, and the walls of the city substituted for the enclosure walls normally found at Khmer temples. The walls sit at such a distance from the temple that the temple seems to rise abruptly from the ground like an artificial mountain. In fact, the temple was intended to evoke the form of Mt. Meru—the cosmic mountain at the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. In keeping with this cosmic symbolism, the plan of the temple is based on a 'yantra', a symbol used by Tantric Buddhists as the basis of mandala diagrams that represent the layout of the universe. The temple honored not just one deity, but a host of gods found throughout the Khmer empire. Its central shrine held an image of Jayavarman VII, who perhaps imagined himself as a god-King ruling in the name of the Buddha.

The temple is best known today for the gigantic face sculptures that adorn its thirty-seven surviving towers. Facing in four directions on each tower, the faces are thought to represent Lokeshvara, a Buddhist deity that projected benevolence outward to the four directions.


The approximate location of the Bayon is 13.441073' N, 103.858959' E (WGS 84 map datum).


Images copyright 2000-2001 Professor Yunsheng Huang of the University of Virginia, and Professor Robert D. Fiala of Concordia University, Nebraska, USA

Cohen, Joan Lebold. Angkor: The Monuments of the God Kings
  Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1975. New York

Freeman, Michael and Roger Warner. Angkor: The Hidden Glories
  Houghton Mifflin Company., 1990. Boston

Jacques, Claude. Angkor: Cities and Temples
  River Books Co., Ltd., 1997. Thailand

Laur, Jean. Angkor: an Illustrated Guide to the Monuments
  Flammarion, 2002. Italy

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Reva posted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:51 am:

I visited this temple a week ago, in Feb, 2011 and it haunts me. The energy of this site is a living energy, something older than the 800 year old architecture. The Khmer culture had to have been highly evolved to construct these temples.

kathirvel posted on Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:14 am:


sivatheykim posted on Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:14 pm:

angkorwatt is everybeautiful of khmer