Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Siem Reap Part 2: Smiling Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple
Its architectural audacity epitomises the creative genius and inflated ego of this enigmatic figure. (Lonely Planet: Cambodia)

It was also described as "the most striking expression of the baroque style" of the Khmer architecture. (Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding the Angkor - JSA)

10:30 a.m. - Bayon Discovery
About 7.5 km from Angkor Wat, we were led to tour the next temple named Bayon. From far, the construction of Bayon is not as attractive as Angkor Wat, rather it looks like a pile of blocks put together. Only by a closer look of Bayon, especially at the third levels, we can see its towers were delicately decorated with hundreds of smiling faces. 

Elf explained that Bayon temple was known to be built by Jayavarman VII. Even though the functions of Bayon temple is still a mystery, its bas-reliefs are telling us various stories.

Daily Life in 12th Century of Cambodia
The first floor depicts the vivid scenes of daily life in 12th century of Cambodia. There are people playing games including board games (like chess), cock fight, hand fight, fishing, hunting and trading in the market. 

Battles of the Khmer and the Chams
The first floor also depicts the vivid scenes of a naval battle between the Khmer soldiers and the Chams soldiers (the soldiers with helmet). The soldiers were on boats, and we were told by Elf that the war took place at the Tonle Sap lake. Some of the wall depicts the defeat of the Chams, and eventually expelled from Cambodia. While some other parts of the walls depicts Chams were approaching towards the Khmer. We were told that Khmer won the victorious war in the end and Chams were defeated. As the descendents of the Chams, I chose to be silent during the briefing. LOL.

12:30 p.m. - Finished Smiling at the Smiling Temple
Bayon temple is much smaller than Angkor Wat, we finished touring around Bayon temple much sooner than expected. I must say that Elf is a great tour guide, he seemed to know every single thing about the temples!

On our way to the van, Melissa saw a snake nearby. My advise, to minimise the chances of being bitten by a snake, always wear boots or sneakers and socks and also long pants or skirts (I know it's damn hot, but I think being bitten by a snake is much worst!). 

We headed to our final destination among the temples. 

Till then, adios, 

Hairi Tahir

to be continuted...

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