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Baphuon – Temple


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Baphuon from the East showing the entrance walkway

Baphuon from the East showing the entrance walkway

Built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II and originally dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, the Baphuon is a three-tiered temple mountain situated within Angkor Thom, slightly south of the royal enclosure.

An impressive structure, that at its peak dominated the local surrounding landscape standing at around 50 Meters high with its original tower. With a base width of 120 metres and length of 100 metres even without it’s original tower, it still measures 34.5 meters in height sitting on a large tall base, very unlike most of the other temples in Angkor which follow more of a tiered structure.

At the East entrance, from the main road, there is a raised sandstone walkway that stretches 200 meters to the main gate, (this is generally the direction in which most people will first arrive). Surrounded by a sandstone wall that separates it from the royal enclosure, it sits approximately 200 Meters Northwest of the Bayon.

Baphuon building work - April 2005

Baphuon building work - April 2005

Sometime during the late 1400’s, the temple was converted from a Hindu temple to a Buddhist one, with included the building of a 9 meter tall, by 70 meter long statue of a reclining Buddha that was built on the west side of the second level. It is commonly believed that the tower that once stood at the top, along with other various dilapidated sections of the original design, were used in the construction of this statue.

Due to the original foundation techniques used in the original build, the site was in generally bad condition and has undergone major restoration work since 1908 to restore it to its former glory.