Prasat Bayon

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Prasat Bayon
Native Nameប្រាសាទបាយ័ន
K InscriptionK.293, K.294, K.469, K.470, K.486, K.539, K.540, K.552, K.672, K.700, K.775, K.776, K.801, K.812, K.902
Inscr. LocationIn situ
Part ofYasodharapura III, Angkor Thom, Angkor
CommuneNokor Thom
DistrictSiem Reap Municipality
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.44133, 103.85892
Founded13th Century
BuilderJayavarman VII, Indravarman II, Jayavarman VIII
Art StyleBayon
UNESCO Inscription1992

372 Prasat Bayon 1.jpg
(2 votes)

Site Size & Condition: Large Prasat Prasat Bayon (ប្រាសាទបាយ័ន - Pronounced: Pra-saht Bai-yohn).

Debate still rages over the precise identity of Bayon's iconic carved faces - Lokeshavara, Jayavarman VII himself or a combination of the 2, and indeed opinions still diverge over the exact number of towers and the probable number of original towers as well as the number of faces themselves. Today some 37 towers still stand and despite assumptions that there were originally 54, architectural evidence points to a total of 49. Baseless assertions of 216 faces are then deduced from 4 faces on each of the 54 towers although it can be seen today that, while most towers do possess 4 faces, some only have 3 or even 2. (One particular tower comes with a single face.)

Enigmatic faces aside the temple is probably the single most complicated and confusing of all Angkorian monuments. A temple certainly already existed at the site - of unidentifiable date and form - when Jayavarman VII commenced his royal temple at the centre of Angkor Thom in the late 12th-century. Substantial remodelling was undertaken and major additions made by subsequent kings including a conversion to a Hindu temple and re-conversion to Theravada Buddhist site.

Although the highly elaborate shrine is relatively small in size - lacking even an enclosure wall or gopuras - some historians have pointed to the walls, gates and moat of Angkor Thom as actually belonging to Bayon. The South Gate, (Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Tonle Om), is then the outer south gopura of Bayon and the main entrance of Bayon is actually the East Gate of Angkor Thom.

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