Missing the Leper King – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #8

December 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Just next to the Elephant Terrace is the Terrace of the Leper King. From far it looked like a walled up platform similar to the Elephant Terrace. 

The outer wall of the terrace with layers after layers of sculptures…

Not knowing what to expect, we went in from here…

Long and narrow walkway with many sculptures…

The guidebooks we had gave it a single star out of three, so we din really read the details properly, which explained why we missed out something important here… 😦  But once inside, I was amazed by the rows and rows of sculptures on the different layers. So beautiful!

Beautiful sculptures of Apsaras, demons, nagas and divinites on the different inner walls

Most were well preserved

Some of those brigher coloured ones were the newly restored 

The layout was like a straight-forward maze, where you walk round and round to the other end. All these while I was wondering why was this terrace called the Leper King? Was there a king who got leprosy that used to stay here? But we couldn’t find any evidence of his existence…It was just quiet and peace here, with the countless beautiful sculptures…

A sorrowful tune broke the silence. We wondered where the tune came from and not before long we saw a handicapped man sitting at a lonely corner playing the flute…

A possible landmine victim playing a melodious tune…

I gave him some small notes. “Good luck to you!”, he gave his blessings…

I wondered what were the stories behind these statues…

We reached the other end and still couldn’t find our answer as to why this was called the Terrace of the Leper King. 😦

No king in sight….

It was only later that I found out the answer…which we would have known if we were to go up the stairs outside, something we missed. 😦 

Terrace of the Leper King got its name from a small asexual statue. He was called the Leper King due to the discoloration and moss growing, lichen-eaten condition on the statue, which looked like someone with leprosy. According to a Cambodian legend, there was an Angkorian king who indeed had leprosy. Others said the statue is Yama, the God of Death. The original statue has since been moved to the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Aiya! So this was what we had missed… 😦

Also see related posts:
> The Elephant Terrace – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #7
Face Towers of Bayon – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia Trip #6
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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