Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Marvel at the majestic sight of the ancient Bayon Temple and feel at peace
Rated 4.4/5 (based on 115 reviews )
Best time to visit
Nov - Apr
About Bayon Temple in Siem Reap
Bayon Temple, known for its daunting, awe-inspiring series of smiling faces all around its uppermost tier, is the flagship construction of the ancient Khmer capital Angkor Thom. The temple sits right in the middle of the fortified city, though it took years for the historians to discover that fact owing to the dense outgrow all around Bayon Temple Cambodia.
Bayon Temple Siem Reap is one of the earliest demonstrations of full-fledged Mahayana Buddhism faith in the Khmer empire of Angkor. Before it’s patron, King Jayavarman VII, all the Khmer rulers were quintessentially Hindu, devoted towards gods of Hinduism like Shiva and Vishnu. Jayavarman VII constructed Bayon Temple to be a Buddhist temple after his reclamation of the Khmer empire from the Chams. Bayon Temple history takes us back to a time period which is still shrouded in so much anonymity and mystery.
Although the temple has more than 10,000 figures on its all three tiers on all four sides, it is the multitude of serene faces that catches everyone’s attention the most. Crafted in authentic Buddhist style, the Bayon Temple architecture rises above the wilderness around like a proud flag of victory. In fact, the original name of Bayon was Jayagiri which means ‘mount of victory.’ It is because of the temple’s connection to Buddhism that it got the name Bayon, mispronounced from Banyan, which was the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
There used to be around 50 towers with three or four faces on them, making their number close to 200 or more. Many theories believe that in Khmer culture, the rulers considered themselves to be one with the Almighty, whether their faith is Hinduism or Buddhist. So the Bayon Temple faces could be a representation of Lokesvara as well as Jayavarman himself, watching over the capital from its heart on all sides.
The middle tier is dominated by carvings of scenes from Hindu mythology like the Churning of the Sea Milk, and there are prominent characters like the universal trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, celestial dancers called Apsaras and sages, Ravana with ten heads, Garuda – the demi-god with an eagle-face and wings with human body. The lower tier is mostly a series of bas-reliefs depicting the everyday life of Angkor back in the day – warfare, domestic scenes, trading, sports and so on.
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FAQ's of Siem Reap
Read on to find out why our customers love us!
The Bayon temple is right in the middle of Angkor Thom. The giant faces on the structure will help identify it. Otherwise, any guide can help you out in spotting it.
The bas-reliefs and the green moss-covered ambiance are the main attractions of Bayon temple.
There are at least 200 faces on the uppermost tier of Bayon temple. They resemble the face of Lokesvara Buddha, but many believe the faces represent Buddha and King Jayavarman VII together.
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