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Bayon Temple In Siem Reap

Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Marvel at the majestic sight of the ancient Bayon Temple and feel at peace

Tourism in Siem Reap

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Best time to visit
Nov - Apr
Ideal Duration
5-6 Days
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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.

Faces of  Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple in Siem Reap is most popular for its large number of serene faces sculpted on its towers. Earlier, there were 49 towers, sculpted with large carved faces facing towards the four cardinal directions respectively. There were almost 200 faces, the largest ones being almost 2½ meters in height. Most towers have four faces, a few other have only three, and one tower with just a single face.

These faces were originally believed to represent Lord Brahma, the Hindu God with four heads. As it was later found out that the Bayon was not a Hindu temple but a Buddhist one, archaeologists adhered the sculpted faces to that of Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. Some theories also state that it is the King Jayavarman VII himself whose face is depicted on the towers.

History of  Bayon Temple

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.

Highlights of Bayon Temple

The temple is constructed in the shape of a square. 

The main sculpture is present right at the middle of the square.

The stone faces of the temple are that of Bodhisattva and Avalokiteshvara. 

The Bayon Temple has been rebuilt several times over a period of others by various kings who ruled over the kingdom. 

Architecture of  Bayon Temple

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.

Significance of  Bayon Temple  

Bayon Temple holds a major significance because of the mystical, serene faces sculpted on its towers. Several historians have presented a few hypotheses regarding similar-looking stone faces in Bayon. One of the highly accepted theories is that the stone face was carved to resemble King Jayavarman VII as per his orders. While another theory states that the faces represent the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion called Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara.

Facts of Bayon Temple  

Bayon Temple falls in the categories of temple ruins and World Heritage Sites

The guiding faith of Bayon Temple is Buddhism. 

The construction of the temple dates back to 1190. 

Temple is open for visits during dawn and dusk. 

What To Wear 

Women must cover their shoulders and knees before entering the Bayon Temple. You can either wear a loose t-shirt along with capri pants or regular trousers. Men can wear t-shirts which are not sleeveless along with pants or trousers.

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    Siem Reap Tour Packages

    Read on to find out why our customers love us!

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    Tanilkumar

    29th march

    Tanilkumar's 10 days trip to Siem Reap

    This was a great tour. Lala of Vietnam trips, was an amazing tour advisor. Very informative, friendly and helpful. Would recommend S Vietnam trips and recommend Lala. Thanks.
    VP

    Vijayakumar Parnandi Sathyanarayana

    Bangalore

    Vijayakumar's 11 days trip to Siem Reap

    Our visit to Cambodia and Vietnam was enjoyable and a great experience to cherish. Melinda and Tina were monitoring and guiding all through our trip. Language being the major concern, both were available on Whatsapp whenever we wanted for guidance. Anyway it was a wonderful trip.
    AY

    Aarti Yevale

    Pune

    Aarti's 7 days trip to Siem Reap

    Vietnam Cambodia trip Special thanks to all the staff from Asia authentic travels. Rosie and team Special thanks to Shubham Halong bay
    S

    Smarttuhina

    Hyderabad

    Smarttuhina's 8 days trip to Siem Reap

    Thank you Travel Triangle for making me plan my North Vietnam itenary according to my preferences. The LVP tours and Travel gave me fantastic holiday and took special care of me for being a solo traveller. The Sapa trip
    SS

    Sanjana Sharma

    Bangalore

    Sanjana's 7 days trip to Siem Reap

    Very well organised. Had an amazing time in Cambodia.
    S

    Somnathkotal

    Bengaluru

    Somnathkotal's 7 days trip to Siem Reap

    Over all experience is good. Travel agents are very supportive throughout the tour. Most of places we found vegetarian food, so that is very well arranged by travel agency. Only at the cruise experience was not so great, we had given promises by travel agency that the cruise is being upgraded, but
    it was small boat with only 25 guest and we didn't have private balcony and we saw all very good looking cruise arround us with private balcony, so don't feel so great there. Also at da nang our trip starts at 3:30 pm afternoon but we had to check out early at 12 and for 3 & half hours we were sitting in lobby in high humidity and had nothing to do arround. I think these things travel agency can do better.
    RM

    Rohit Mohile

    Mumbai

    Rohit's 14 days trip to Siem Reap

    Excellent services provided by Realistic Asia. All the arrangements were punctual and well coordinated. The cabs / buses were clean and comfortable. All details and costings had been worked out beforehand. There were NO hidden charges. The pickup timings for the next day were re-confirmed the previo
    us day. Very professional agency. We are very happy to state that we did not have a single hitch anywhere.
    RD

    Rahul Deshpande

    Mumbai

    Rahul's 11 days trip to Siem Reap

    The journey to Vietnam started from an inquiry with Ms Junie .... and from there onwards its smooth planning and excitement to be there. I should give the entire credit to Junie here; because of her excellent planning we had an amazing 10 days tour to Vietnam and Cambodia. She has helped us on ea
    ch and every step and now we are good friends with her. We went for the sightseeing purpose and we ended making some amazing friends. The hotel suggestions and itinerary were extremely well planned and the hotel locations were simply spot on in terms of self-exploration. The meals and excursion activities with the transfer were extremely comfortable. For those who are looking for the Vietnam -Cambodia experience I would simply direct you towards Junie, cause makes your trip memorable. Thanks Asia Authentic & Travel Triangle. Just one suggestion for Travel Triangle do not take extra 1.8 % on credit cards it is against the Gov of India rules. Junie sees you soon for the next vacation. until then whats aping ....
    DR

    Dr Raghav S

    Mumbai

    Dr's 8 days trip to Siem Reap

    Our 7 day Vietnam trip was absolutely fantastic. Ms Chetna helped connect us to the Vietnamese partners and Ms Alice helped make the itinerary and arranged local logistics. There was 24x7 support from there side. All in all it was a fun trip. Ninh Binh cycling tour and Halong Bay
    PG

    Prasanth Gopinath

    Bangalore

    Prasanth's 7 days trip to Siem Reap

    Overall a very great experience on the trip. While there were communication issues with the agent which may have impacted some of the choices we made for the trip, the support given during the trip was very good. They were able to manage or compensate when things did not go according to plan or expe
    ctations and this was without any ask from our side !! Vietnam and Cambodia has a lot of interesting places to see and i think we made the right choice in going with TT Visiting the temples in Siem Reap. Angkor wat and others. The guide was very patient in explaining the history and culture behind them.

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    FAQ's of Siem Reap

    Read on to find out why our customers love us!

    How many faces are there on Bayon temple and what do they mean?

    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.

    What to see in Bayon temple?

    The bas-reliefs and the green moss-covered ambiance are the main attractions of Bayon temple.

    How to find Bayon temple?

    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.

    What was the Bayon temple used for?

    Bayon Temple was originally designed to serve as the primary zone of the royal cult and also to act as a personal mausoleum to Jayavarman VII.

    How old is the Bayon temple?

    The construction of Bayon Temple dates back to 1190. Hence, the temple is almost 829 years old.

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