We spent three days in Siem Reap in January 2017. My next few posts will be about the temples there. But I’ll start with my favorite temple in the Angkor area -The Bayon.
Like most tourists, I went to Siem Reap mainly for the Angkor Wat. I didn’t do a lot of research about the other temples in the area but I knew I would like the ‘temple with the faces’. However, I had not expected it to be so spectacular. We entered through the South gate and were immediately mesmerized by the smiling faces and the figures of devas (gods) and asuras (demons) depicting the churning of the ocean milk on the two sides of the gate.
I learnt that this temple was built under king Jayavarman VII and is considered to be the only temple in Angkor that was a Mahayana Buddhist shrine. The temple was built in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. It was a hot and humid day but the beautiful galleries of this place make you forget about everything else!
I tried to take pictures of the smiling faces and different galleries, but I firmly believe that photos can’t do justice to this architectural wonder. I had assumed that the calm, serene faces are of Buddha but later found out that some scholars have concluded that the faces are those of the king himself! Khmer kings used to consider themselves ‘God-Kings’!