Bayon and beyond.

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Hello Reader!

Its been a while but I’m back at tapping my keys again. The flight is not gonna be a non stop one I reckon, but will fly anyway 🙂 I wrote about Angkor Wat a while ago, documenting more from the same trip.

 

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Does this face look familiar?

 

Must be. I had seen so many of these pictures before being vis-a-vis and I was equally stupefied. Its not just the larger than life scale of these faces but something about their expression. The temple hoppers at Angkor invariably arrive at Bayon Temple sooner or later and are equally amazed by one of the most unique temple complexes in the world.

 

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The Bayon temple complex.

 

 

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Primarily and intentionally built as a buddhist temple (unlike others that were later converted).

 

Although it’s a buddhist temple it does have scenes from Hindu mythology carved on the inner galleries.

 

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Bas relief on outer gallery shows scenes from ordinary Khmer life like building a thatch roof in this one, monkeys and peacock on trees.

 

 

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Bas relief feature great many details of mundane life which is not at all mundane to the eye but almost like a graphic novel! Weren’t these the original graphic novels ?

 

A cock-fighting scene is particularly popular and perhaps we did miss taking a picture of it.

 

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Also, these depictions as you enter the temple, are easily missed in the rush and gush of getting face to face with the Bodhisattva faces.

 

 

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These much talked about faces on temple towers depict the enlightened bodhisattva.

 

 

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The faces have a strong resemblance to King Jayavarman VII who commissioned the construction of the temple.

 

 

 

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Faces count to roughly 200 with varying degree of damage but there’s no definitive count.

 

 

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How many can you count here?

 

 

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Buddha shrine in one of the temples.

 

 

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The temple is built on many levels so there’s quite some climbing up and down to do to get up close to the faces

 

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Although they look quite pleased to see all of us clicking away, they are actually crumbling with the weight of all the numbers.

 

 

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My ‘enlightened’ one ;)

 

 

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Huddled together – these temples seem to be too close to each other for comfort.

 

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The mysterious beatific smile on the ‘enlightened’ faces have earned them the title ‘Mona Lisa of South East Asia’

 

 

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Personally, I found it quite visually stimulating and fun where an inadvertent game of hide and seek was always on!

 

 

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Bayon is the last temple to be built by Khmers.
And I think they finished well! :)

 

We did see Bayon exactly like my writing up. It was mid afternoon and sweltering hot as we finished touring the temples for the day. It wasn’t, however, too bad an idea as the gut of Bayon offers some shade. We quickly brushed off ‘Terrace of the Leper King’ since it was getting close to 12 hours of temple hopping and the ground was beginning to yield beneath our feet – or so it felt.

 

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Terrace of the leper king – a misnomer of a name as it was the sculptures that had leprosy and not the actual king. It was built to view the return of victorius army.

 

 

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The Elephant stands guard at the gates of terrace of leper king.

 

Before I sign off, know that early mornings are also a great time to visit Bayon as most of the crowd collects at Angkor Wat.

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You can witness and capture Bayon undergoing some dramatic changes as more and more morning rays wash it down.

 

It offers great photo – ops and you can see the contrast in our pictures that we took in afternoon and the early morning ones that follow.

 

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There’s a beautiful play of sun and shade on these gentle giants.

 

 

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You pretty much have the temple to yourself !

 

 

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All the temple hopping, early waking and sun baking pretty much shows on our morning faces but these memories are worth it!

 

 

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Not sure if we can do it all – all over again but so glad we did it once :)

 

Some more temples in Cambodia (actually the most visited ones and the one I really really liked!!!) ahead and some temple viewing tactics. See ya!

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Comments

  1. Hi Nikita,nice to see you on the planet after a long period.Where have u been for so long.great write-up.stay in touch n keep flying!!!!!

  2. Long time guys!!! Your beautiful snaps, write-ups, shades & floral dresses were missed…
    Be in touch with these travelogues….more often!!!
    Love!!

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