The Bayon, Buddhist Shrine, Angkor, Cambodia

the bayon, cambodia
the bayon, cambodia
the bayon, cambodia
the bayon, cambodia


The Bayon


Although the Bayon is a Buddhist shrine, it utilizes some features from the cosmology of Hinduism.

It was built by King Jayavarman VII circa 1190 A.D.

Built smack in the middle of the walled city of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple was meant to represent the crossroads between earth and heaven. Each side of the Angkor Thom runs precisely south to north and west to east.

The Bayon is famous for its large faces made of stone representing the bodhisattva Buddhist deity, Avalokiteshvara (the Buddha of Compassion). Each one faces outward and keeps watch at each point

of the compass. Believed to be the image of Jayavarman, the large smiling image has been called Southeast Asia’s “Mona Lisa”. Each of the 51 small towers which surround Bayon has its own set of 4 faces on top.

Two lengthy walls surround the Bayon and each one boasts an impressive collection of low relief scenes depicting historical as well as mythological events. More than eleven thousand figures carved in stone cover the entire length of the wall which spans 1.2 kilometers. It is believed that all the figures carved into the wall were gilded and painted in gold but since then this impressive feature has faded over the years.