Baphuon (Angkor Thom)
Posted 22 January 2024

(Photos by: Apsara National Authority)

Baphuon: The Towering Temple-Mountain of Angkor

Baphuon, a magnificent temple-mountain in the heart of the Angkor Archaeological Park, is a striking testament to the grandeur of the Khmer Empire. Built in the mid-11th century during the reign of King Udayadityavarman II, it predates the famous Angkor Wat and is a significant representation of the classical Khmer style of temple architecture.

Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, Baphuon underwent a remarkable transformation into a Buddhist temple in the 15th century. This transition is emblematic of the religious evolution within the Khmer Empire. The temple's vast size and intricate layout reflect the ambitious architectural projects of the era.

Visitors to Baphuon are greeted by a long, elevated walkway leading to the main temple, a journey that builds anticipation for the awe-inspiring structure ahead. The temple itself, a pyramidal representation of Mount Meru, is a marvel of engineering and artistry. Each tier of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and bas-reliefs, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and daily life of the Khmer people.

The western side of Baphuon is particularly notable for its gigantic reclining Buddha, a later addition that spans the length of the temple. This figure, although partially collapsed, remains a powerful symbol of the temple's Buddhist heritage.

The restoration of Baphuon, completed in the 21st century, was an arduous process, with the temple having collapsed into a state of disarray. The painstaking effort to piece it back together is a testament to the global importance of preserving cultural heritage.

Baphuon's scale and beauty make it a must-visit for those exploring the Angkor temples. It offers a unique blend of historical and cultural insights, set against the backdrop of one of the world's most remarkable archaeological sites.

Major Sight Spots in Baphuon

The Long Causeway: The dramatic entrance walkway to the temple.

The Reclining Buddha: The massive figure on the temple's western side.

The Central Sanctuary: The peak of the temple with panoramic views.

Bas-Reliefs and Carvings: Detailed artwork depicting mythological and everyday scenes.

Eastern Pavilion: A quieter area with less foot traffic and intricate designs.


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