Baphuon

Trip Start Dec 19, 2012
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Trip End Jan 13, 2013


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Baphuon built in the mid-11th century is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is the archetype of the Baphuon style. The temple adjoins the southern enclosure of the royal palace and measures 120 metres east-west by 100 metres north-south at its base and stands 34 meters tall without its tower, which would have made it roughly 50 meters tall. Its appearance apparently impressed Emperor Chengzong of Yuan China's late 13th century envoy Chou Ta-Kuan during his visit from 1296 to 1297, who said it was 'the Tower of Bronze...a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than ten chambers at its base.' In the late 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple. A 9 meter tall by 70 meter long statue of a reclining Buddha was built on the west side's second level, which probably required the demolition of the 8 meter tower above, thus explaining its current absence. The temple was built on land filled with sand and due to its immense size the site was unstable throughout its history.

By the 20th century much of the temple had largely collapsed and restoration efforts have since proven problematic: a first effort begun in 1960 was interrupted by the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge, and records of the positions of the stones were lost. A second attempt started in 1995 by a team of French-led archeologists and after 51 years finished the restoration of the temple in 2011. Mr Wikipedia.

Do click on the photos with the writing to better understand the huge effort that was put into putting together what is known as the world's largest jigsaw puzzle. Over 300,000 pieces had to be put together hindered with the fact that the records that were kept when taken down were destroyed by the Khumer Rouge. Amazing and such dedication.

Little is left of the Royal Palace. The "public" area included the Phimeanakas and two water reservoirs known today as Srah Srei and Srah Bros. The reservoirs were to be remodeled under the reign of Jayavarman VII or his successors.
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