printable version bayon temple siem reap leper king terrace temple  

List of some of the temples according to the year of construction:

Preah Ko | Bakong | Lolei | Phnom Krom | Prasat Kravan | East Mebon | Pre Rup | Banteay Srei | Phimeanakas and the Royal Palace | Ta Keo | Baphuon | Angkor Wat | Banteay Samre | Srah Srang | Preah Khan | The Elephants Terrace | Neak Pean | Ta Som | Ta Prohm | Banteay Kdei | Bayon | Leper King Terrace


Located at about 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) to the north of Angkor Wat’s entrance, Bayon was built in the early 1200's by King Jayavarman VII, as a Buddhist temple. Before building Bayon, Jayavarman VII built Angkor Thom gate (wall) first, in order to protect his territory from his enemy, mainly the Champa (today: part of Vietnam). There was also a Royal Palace, where Jayavarman VII used to stay, located just to the north of Bayon temple.

Unlike Angkor Wat, Bayon opens towards the east (its main entrance), where the King used to celebrate with the Apsara dancing, or hold ceremonies after returning from wars. Before entering the temple on the left hand side of the entrance, there is a statue of sleeping Buddha, in its original condition and place. This symbolizes Buddha going to the nirvana (heaven).

According to historians, Bayon was
once decorated with gold. Today, visitors will see no gold but stones.

Just like many other ancient Khmer temples, there are mythical lion statues in Bayon, that are believed to symbolize protection of the temple, and naga (snake) statues, which is meant for decoration. There were also 54 heads (carved) in Bayon. Today there are only 49 of them.

Once visitors enter the temple, it is recommended
to turn to the left (the south) to follow the carvings on the wall of the temple. The carvings tell stories of the past, such as when Jayavarman VII prepared his troops for a war against the Champa’s army. The Champas are depicted as men with mustaches and long hair. There is also a story of a riot, where the people had to move (relocate).

There are also carvings of moments when they killed water buffalos for sacrifice, carvings of traders in Khmer communities during those days, carvings of local games/sports, particularly on the south wall.

In Bayon, there are 8 towers that represent the cardinal directions (north, northeast, east, and so on). There were Buddha statues inside each tower: unfortunately many are missing.

There are also many missing Buddhist symbols, which happened when King Jayavarman VIII (the younger brother of Jayavarman VII) took over as the King of Khmer. Unlike Jayavarman VII, his brother Jayavarman VIII was a Hindu believer, so he replaced many Buddhist symbols with Hindu symbols.

Click the pictures for more and bigger photos of the temple and click here for more details about Bayon (by the Angkor


The Leper King Terrace is located just to the north of the Terrace of the Elephants. This temple was built by Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. It measures 25 meters horizontally and 6 meters high, decorated with a “naked statue” of the Leper King, who sits on the top of the Terrace.

It is believed that the name of the temple was taken from a statue of the Leper King, however there are other versions, where some historians believe that the statue doesn’t represent the King himself, but Yama, the god of death in Buddhism mythology. Till today, nobody really knows which version is the correct one and leaving it as a mystery

Now, the original statue of the Leper King is in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. The one you see in the Leper King Terrace is a replica.

Click the picture on the left for bigger photo of the temple and click here for more details about Leper King Terrace (by the Angkor

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