View from the top of the Baphuon Temple in the temple city of Angkor Thom; this central axis and water ponds (actually moats - the Khmer rulers were hugely fond of them) can compete with Versailles itself, don't you think?
The Baphuon Temple lies within the temple city of Angkor Thom, just northwest from the temple in my previous post, the Bayon... and these are just two of the countless (well, at it least felt so) marvellous temples in this area, which in its turn is only one of temple areas of the ancient Khmer empire. Which makes me wonder what else did they could have had time and resources to do than to build temples? The Baphuon is the state temple of King Udayadityavarman II, built in the mid-11th century. It is a three tiered temple mountain dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva (some sources say Lingam, so I'm not quite sure, but I go with the guide book I bought in Siem Reap...). I know I'm overusing the word, but amazing is what I thought, and will always do of the creations of the Khmer civilization.
View from the central walkway to the entrance on the east side of the temple - temples in Angkor open to the east, as the Khmer thought is was the direction of life and new beginnings; according to our guide, many people in Cambodia still sleep with their faces to the east. West is considered the direction of closure and death. The moat is almost overgrown, but used to be fully rectangular; sometimes, crocodiles were kept in the moats.
Windows opening from the central, smaller entrance that can be seen in the middle of the first picture.
No, you are not alone anywhere at the Angkor archaeological sites anymore - the place is filled with mostly middle-aged, culturally interested tourists properly clad in sunhats and sensible shoes... but who cares, this place is such a wonder to see. (the two young and pink exceptions above are my daughters, the only kids we saw there during our four day visit).
Entrance to the inner temple, through a series of stone corridors.
Opening at the top of the temple...
The north side of the temple forms a reclining Buddha, which was difficult but possible to see at place, but unfortunately impossible to understand in the photo. The jungle keeps trying to reclaim the temple... and occasionally almost succeeds, as seen in the last photo below. The tree roots are like huge, organic trunks that ruthlessly push their way through the stonework.