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Malaysia and Cambodia


This is about my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Cambodia. The first part is pre-trip - information about flights, itineraries, accommodation and all the things that you need to do to plan an overseas holiday. This is my first trip to Asia and I hope it may help others. Comments are very welcome and anyone who has travelled to Malaysia and/or Cambodia, please feel free to comment and offer any advice or tips that you think would be helpful. As of today ( 28th February) , in exactly 11 days (minus 30 minutes) I will be in Kuala Lumpur.

I had the most amazing time and hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Each post is numbered and I'm doing them in order from start to finish - a little like a diary.



59. Bayon - 2

The temple of many faces
The giant stone faces of Bayon have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture. There are 37 standing towers and most have four carved faces oriented toward the cardinal points.

Above: Statue
Close-up of a statue at the front entrance.

Above: Buddha
This statue of Buddha is the Happy Home Buddha - a seated figure with an umbrella behind the back. The flowers are real as is some of the fruit put their by devotees. The incense had been lit.

Above: Linga
The linga or lingum is a religious phallic symbol symbolic of the Hindu god Shiva and of creative power. As a religious symbol, the function of the linga is mainly that of worship and ritual. In the Khmer empire, certain lingas were erected as symbols of the king himself and were housed in royal temples in order to express the king's consubstantiality with Shiva. The linga is implanted in a flat square base called a yoni, symbolic of the womb. It was most likely added to the temple during the reign of Jayavarman VIII in the mid-13th century when the Khmer empire reverted to Hinduism and Bayon was altered accordingly.

Above: Carving detail
This was in the east gallery. It was difficult to get a decent photo looking up through the gap from where I was standing.

Above: Carving detail
If you look closely, you can see the row of lotus flowers which is the third section down from the top.

Above: Faces of Avalokiteshvara
There are more than 200 carved faces at Bayon and they evoke a feeling of peace as you look at these sightless eyes.

Above: Jayavaram VII
King Jayavaram VII bears a strong resemblance to the face of Avalokiteshvara, as can be seen from the portrait above which is in the Musée Guimet in Paris. Jayavarman stood squarely in the tradition of the Khmer monarchs in thinking of himself as a "devaraja" (god-king), the notable difference being that while his predecessors were Hindus and regarded themselves as consubstantial with Shiva and his symbol the lingam, Jayavarman as a Buddhist identified himself with Buddha and the bodhisattva.

Above: Smiles of Avalokiteshvara
The faces all have this enigmatic smile which make you just want to stare at them and wonder what they are thinking.

Above: Avalokiteshvara
Detail of one of the huge faces of Bayon towers.

Above: Four faced tower
The easily recogniseable tower of Bayon.

Above: The other side

Above: Elephants at Bayon
When I was leaving the temple, there were elephants in the grounds and I'd love to have had a ride on one but the temperature by this stage was very hot and I knew I still had a lot of ground to cover. But I did stop long enough to take a photo.

Above: 200 Riel banknote
One of the towers of the temple is depicted on the 200 Riel banknote.

Above: Bayon temple plan


Icarus said...

Excellent photographs. I was looking for something to paint and landed on your post. Check out the painting of the tower of Bayon on my post:

Keep blogging!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Thank you Rachna for you comment and for linking to my blog. Your artwork is very good. What a talented person you are.


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