Angkor Adventures Part 7 – Brief Encounter at Baphuon, Phimeanakas and Elephant Terrace

Oct 19, 07 at 12:00 am


Click here for Part 6

As Baphuon or Bapuon is located quite near to the ever impressive Bayon, we made ourselves to walk. We started to feel tired and the hot weather did not help us at all.

Built in the mid-11th century, it 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. [Source]

We rested near the entrance or gopura as it may be called as John explained the history of this temple. Baphuon was closed for visitors at that time because of the problematic in restoration as much of temple has collapsed. The restoration process was done by French archaeologists.

Listening While Resting at Bapuon
Resting while listening to John

The elevated approach to Baphuon

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. [Source]

A closer look at the temple.. still very much in restoration

There’s a giant reclining Buddha (not shown) located at the other side

Since we were not allowed to visit, we walked to the next temple called Phimeanakas. On our way, we were approached by several local children who kept pestering us to buy souvenirs from them. I was advised not to buy anything nor give any money to them because these kids are supposed to be in school, not haggling around selling postcards and trinkets to tourists.

There are stories that kids make more money than adults because tourists have soft hearts towards kids, so they tend to give money to kids even though they are not buying anything from the kids. So, do not ever give money to kids, get the adults to do the selling.

Local Girl at Temple
Little kid trying to sell us souvenirs using different languages

Phimeanakas (‘celestial temple’) at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the Khleang style, built at the end of the 10th century, during the reign of Rajendravarman II (from 941-968), then rebuilt by Suryavarman II in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple. On top of the pyramid there was a tower. [Source]

It was inside the sanctuary of Phimeanakas, that according to some legends, the Khmer king lay every night with a woman who, as the incarnation of a nine-headed naga, had power over the lands of the kingdom. If the naga did not show up that night, then the king’s days would be numbered and if the king did not show up, calamity would strike his land.

It was very hot and humid plus my legs were sore, I did not climb up the temple. Only few climbed up to have a look.


It’s much easier to climb compare to Bayon

Another guardian lion without its head

The visit was brief, so we made our way to Terrace of the Elephants. On our way, I saw a cute kid playing around.

Cutest Kid Ever
Cute kid

I think he’s already immune to tourists. He automatically showed the “V” sign when I tried to snap him. Since he was wandering alone, my friend gave him a sweet as a treat.

Kids Around Temple
Peace be with you

Without realizing, we already reached the back entrance of Terrace of the Elephants.

Terrace of the Elephants

The terrace was used by Angkor’s king Jayavarman VII as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army. It was attached to the palace of Phimeanakas, of which only a few ruins remain. Most of the original structure was made of organic material and has long since disappeared. Most of what remains are the foundation platforms of the complex. The terrace is named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face. [Source]

As it is a platform, there is nothing much we could see. I saw some inscriptions on one of the walls.

Terrace of the Elephants
What’s the meaning behind?

Terrace of the Elephants
The entrance to Phimeanakas

Terrace of the Elephants
The platform

Terrace of the Elephants
Now you know why it is called like that..

Half of the day already spent exploring some parts of Angkor Thom and we showed some signs tiredness especially me. Nevertheless, we took a break, headed back to the town to have our lunch before continuing our adventure!

Next up… where Lara Croft once ruled!

More photos:

Siem Reap Day 2: Baphuon, Phimeanakas and Terrace of the Elephants

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