Many faces of Siem Reap- Bayon Temple

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Our trip to Siem Reap started with my favorite Temple of the lot, The Bayon Temple after a sumptuous breakfast at the resort. We needed every bit of that energy to walk through the beautiful Temple. I had booked a taxi and a guide for the trip through the Temples all through the internet. And they were there at the hotel right on time! Always. They spoke good English and were quite helpful and informative.

The Cambodians or Khmer kings were Hindus and seem to have enjoyed the Indian epics very much. What connection the country had, with the Indians is not very clear. But Mahabharata, Ramayana, Dasa Avatars have special place in their culture. Especially churning of the ocean for the nectar. The entrance to the Bayon temple is decorated by the huge sculptures of Vasuki and the Devas and Asuras pulling.

Our trip to Siem Reap started with my favorite Temple of the lot, The Bayon Temple after a sumptuous breakfast at the resort. We needed every bit of that energy to walk through the beautiful Temple. I had booked a taxi and a guide for the trip through the Temples all through the internet. And they were there at the hotel right on time! Always. They spoke good English and were quite helpful and informative.

The Cambodians or Khmer kings were Hindus and seem to have enjoyed the Indian epics very much. What connection the country had, with the Indians is not very clear. But Mahabharata, Ramayana, Dasa Avatars have special place in their culture. Especially churning of the ocean for the nectar. The entrance to the Bayon temple is decorated by the huge sculptures of Vasuki and the Devas and Asuras pulling.

Churning of the ocean for the nectar.
Asura side of the churning of the ocean.

Using Vasuki for churning the ocean for nectar
Moat around the Bayon Temple

huge footprint at Bayon Temple
Enormity of the carvings.
Asura side of the churning the ocean
Cool Asura side for churning the ocean 🙂
Entrance to the Bayon Temple
Eastern entrance to the Bayon Temple. A small sample of the grandeur ahead.
Moat around Bayon Temple
Moat around Bayon Temple

The Bayon Temple
The many faces of Bayon Temple

The Bayon Temple
The Bayon Temple

The Bayon Temple holds the ashes of the king Jayavarman II who built this wonder. Dedicating the temple to the God-king (himself) he has made 50 towers each with his face on all four sides. They all look exactly alike and they look so serene like Buddha. Narcissism to the next level!
The temple is built over a raised platform and we were able to climb to the top most level too. Some places were restricted due to safety issues. 


There 4 faced tower in Bayon
There 4 faced tower in Bayon

The sculptures at the Bayon has much better quality and information than the Angkor Wat Temple
The sculptures at the Bayon are about the campaign the king took to defeat all the warring neighbors 

The Khmers are depicted with short hair and long ears while the Chinese allies have long hairdos and long beards. This is a relief the King attacking and capturing the neighboring Champa.

Apsaras dancing. Note their fingers.
Apsaras dancing. Note their fingers.

Apsara dances are quite popular in Siem Reap. With every hotel proclaiming to have the best Apsara dance with extensive dinner buffet. I felt that the dance while really wonderful, was so repetitive. We had attended Apsara dance at two places and I felt they did the same fisherman dance, fish and monkey dance, Apsara with monkey dance etc. Kinda got bored after sometime. But the pains the dancers must go through to keep their fingers all curved up while having the beautiful headdress on~ That’s something!

Snake obsession
Snake obsession at the Bayon

The faced sculpture looks unique, the temple is in ruins.
The faced sculpture looks unique, the temple is in ruins.
Walls were well decorated but still had the shallow carvings
Walls were well decorated but still had the shallow carvings

Originally a Buddha sculpture, it was later
Originally a Buddha sculpture, it was later “touched up” to represent Lord Shiva. The hairdo has been added later.

Bayon Temple was originally a Buddhist Temple. The King Jayavarman, accommodating both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Lots of photo ops :)
Lots of photo ops 🙂
Big Buddha  near the Bayon compled
Big Buddha near the Bayon complex. New additions near the old Temple.

The King's private Temple
The King’s private Temple close to the Bayon in Angkor Thom
The ruins near Bayon
The ruins near Bayon

Artifacts we discovered while resting our poor little legs.
Artifacts we discovered while resting our poor little legs. 

Statues of lions are seen everywhere but surprisingly there were/are no lions in Cambodia. The guide said that these were again depicted due to Indian influence.
Statues of lions are seen everywhere but surprisingly there were/are no lions in Cambodia. The guide said that these were again depicted due to Indian influence.



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