Serenity of the Stone Faces

The Bayon Temple located at Angkor Thom, approximately 1.5 kilometers away from Angkor Wat is one of the two wondrous bonus sites I did not expect me and my sister would visit when we toured Siem Reap, Cambodia.

After visiting Angkor Wat, our hired driver cum tour guide drove and brought us to this equally spectacular ancient capital city of Khmer Empire.  The excitement started when our driver suddenly stopped and asked us to get out of the car and told us to walk our way at the south entrance gate of Angkor Thom.  He told us the he would drive ahead and meet us at the other side of the ancient yet massive gate.

Upon approaching the south gate of the walled-city, we were greeted by fascinating giant statues lined up along the both sides of the causeway wearing assorted facial expressions. My sister Joy immediately noticed that the statues at the left side of the land bridge looked more pleasant while at the right side were scary.  Upon my research the left side were considered gods (or devas) while the right side statues were demons (or asuras).

excited at angkor thom south gate
excited at angkor thom south gate

Before entering the massive stone gate in which the peak has four massive faces gazing into four cardinal directions, we could not resist taking our respective photos.  We saw our driver, got in the car and continued our journey inside to see and feel for ourselves the iconic Bayon Temple.

the bayon... a bizarre bonus treat
the bayon… a bizarre bonus treat
enigmatic smile...
serene enigmatic smile…
Joy channeling the inner Lara Croft in her... hahaha!
my sister Joy… channeling the inner Lara Croft in her… hahaha!

There are diverse versions on why Bayon was built.  Some say that it is because of the overblown ego of the King who ordered that it be built and the massive stone faces with enigmatic smile be based on his own facial features.  Others believe that the King dedicated Bayon to the universal god of compassion Avalokitesvara, thus, a testament of his deep spirituality.  I would like to believe it’s the latter.

Moreover, the sheer scale and intricacy of the bas-reliefs found on the walls of this temple is also something to marvel at.

i actually wanted to bring this home to nengkoy and hang it inside her house!
i actually wanted to bring this home to nengkoy
and hang it inside her house!

Whatever the real purpose in the building of this bizarre temple, the fact remains that gazing unto those stone faces some strange serenity, calmness and quietude is emitted beneath my being.

Pag ako yumaman, magpapagawa din ako ng ganyan. Por shur…

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