Bayon Temple, Where Earth Meets Heaven
The construction of the Bayon temple belongs to the 12th century. The temple is located at the heart of an old Angkor Thom city. The building of the temple is positioned just beside the well-known Angkor Wat.
King Jayavarman VII constructed the temple in 1190 AD. It is a Buddhist temple. Even being a Buddhist temple it has many rudiments that belong to the Hindu cosmology.
Whenever a new monarch took over Bayon he made changes in the temple according to him. After the death of Jayavarman VII, Jayavarman VIII took over the Bayon in the middle of the thirteen century. The Khmer Empire witnessed the spread of Hinduism. With the change in time, the look of the temple was changed. After Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism was the dominant religion and again the temple had changed. Later the temple was deserted to the forest. The libraries, the terrace as well as the inner galleries, and a few parts of the terrace that are part of the temple today were never present in the temple’s original plan.
What to See
The sides of the Angkor Thom face all four directions as the temple is constructed as a square. The temple is located exactly in the middle of the city. It is believed that the temple stands as the meeting point of the earth and heaven.
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara faces that are formed into enormous stone and located in the Bayon temple are very much popular. The smiling face in Bayon is supposed to be the portrait of King Jayavarman. He is been declared the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia”. Around 51 small pillar border the Bayon temple. Every pillar has the same face carved on its four sides.
Bayon Temple is bounded by 2 extended walls that have an unusual compilation of bas-relief sight of renowned and chronological proceedings. Around 11,000 figures are been carved on the wall. The length of the wall is about 1.2 km. It is believed that the pictures were originally colored but due to the passing of time, it has faded.
How to reach
To visit the Bayon temple you need to take a flight and come down to Phnom Penh International Airport. Later you can take a Motor-taxi or tuk-tuk to travel a further distance. Many options for public transportation are available in the city.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the temple is in December-January. And the best time of the day is early morning.
The temple is open for visits from early dawn to late dusk.
The visitors are required to pay US $ 20 for a 1-day visit, US $ 40 for a three-day visit, and US $ 60 for a week’s visit to the temple.