Didem Doğan

While Discovering Angkor: Bayon

This temple is one of the places featured most frequently in the visual materials about Angkor. This is because Buddha visages in varying sizes cover the façades of the temple. It is impossible not to notice a Buddha face wherever you look. The temple is darker in color than others and was built in the Baroque style. It was built by the order of the King Jayavarman the Seventh who adopted Mahayana Buddhism in the 13th century and it is the last of the temples built by the king in Angkor. More than two hundred Buddha faces, calm and mysterious, look you in the eye. According to some people, these visages resemble the King’s face so much that they believe the King had his face immortalized in stone. Each of the towers of the temple spiral up to the sky and are adorned with Buddha faces, the tranquil faces that surround you sometimes in four corners, sometimes three. You may also spend more time here, examining the murals depicting the daily life of the Khmer Empire on the outer walls of Bayon, or learning many stories in Hindu mythology illustrated on the inner walls.