Face Towers of Bayon – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #6

December 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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I think to many people, the most familiar association to Angkor Wat may not be the architecture of Angkor Wat itself, but rather the more iconic face tower of Bayon. I first came into contact with Angkor Wat as a younger Tisu Girl on books and the face towers left a rather deep impression. Technically speaking, ‘Angkor Wat’ refers to the actual Angkor Wat temple and complex itself, but it has also became synonymous with the entire heritage site that includes the city of Angkor Thom, as well as the many other temples further out. Laymen term lor, hahah… 8)

Having passed through South Gate and saw the face tower there, I was filled with anticipation for the visit to Bayon. But when our tuk tuk driver told us we were there, I was quite disappointed!

far2
Har? Why so different from books?

As we approached Bayon, it slowly opened its beauty to us…

entrance
Ah! The face tower!

Then…

face3
OoOooo…can see more faces clearly…

bas-relief
Bas-reliefs at the galleries

apsara3
Apsaras on the many pillars

I was anxious to go up to see the face towers. Good thing the steps were short and not too steep…

steps-up
Turning back, this was what you see after climbing up

Oh my goodness! The view here was spectacular cos you could see so many face towers so clearly!

up
The steps led us to the upper storey with the many face towers

face4
You could almost touch those shorter ones…but a bit too far to reach… :p

According to books, there were about 51 or 54 towers originally, but today they are left with about 37. Most were carved with four faces on each cardinal point but sometimes there were only three or even just two. Some records said there are about 200 faces on all these towers. Wow…!

We walked around the complex trying to fit as many faces in our lens…hahah

five-faces
At certain angles, you could fit in more faces in your lens…

cover
This angle is almost the same as the one featured on the pirated Michael Freeman’s
book
easily available in Siem Reap town and around the temples of Angkor.
You could get the pirated copy at US$5-7 if you bother to bargain…

flat
No wonder at a distance we could not make up the faces clearly.
Some of them were actually quite flat…

face2
But viewed close, you could find so much details

smile
The smiling faces were supposed to be that of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

bayon
Actually quite impossible to count the faces, cos so many of them…

walk
Walking around the complex, you could see many bigger towers with windows in them..

fit-in-window
We tried to find a window that could fit the face perfectly but couldn’t…
this was the closest fit we could find…Tisu Boy said he saw on books
with the window framing the face perfectly before…
😦 Maybe they photoshoped it?

In some of the towers, there were ladies offering you joss sticks to pay respect to the buddha statues. But you would have to make a small donation in return for the luck after you paid your respect, like what happened to me at Angkor Wat.

face
The towers were actually quite tall…some beautiful carvings were still
visible and well preserved

apsara2
You could almost always find a nice apsara at every other corner or pillar…

apsara
Another one…

We visited Bayon twice, once in a scorching hot and humid afternoon (we went in the dry season of Cambodia, in mid April) and a second time when it started pouring the moment we reached there. 😦 Both visits were not optimum conditions for more detailed exploration and photo shooting. We din manage to explore more as we eventually had to succumb to the bad weathers and exhaustion. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed and love Bayon. Like Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, you would be rewarded with little surprises if you explore a little more around.

galleries
Tisu Girl admiring the bas-reliefs at the galleries…

relief2
We spent a little more time at the galleries on our second visit after the rain…

tshirt
Tisu Girl in her US2.50 Bayon tee-shirt with one of the “Smiling Khmers”,
according to a tour guide of a Taiwanese group

far
Looking back from this angle…alamak…still not nice leh…haha :O

Also see related posts:
> Gateway to Angkor Thom – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #5
> Tomb Raiding the Tree-strangled Temple – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #4
> Steps, Steps and More Steps! – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #3
> Walls of Art – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #2
>
Up, Up and Away! – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #1

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