As you wander through Bayon Temple’s wedding cake-like levels, it’s likely you’ll feel as though you’re being watched — and indeed you are — by the 216 immense faces that adorn the 54 towers of this Angkorian jewel.
Built in the late 12th century, Bayon was established as the temple for King Jayavarman VII. It is believed that the statues with the Mona Lisa-esque smiles were modeled after King Jayavarman himself, perhaps married with the face of the Buddha. It took over a century to construct Bayon.
Currently, the Japanese government is at the helm of the movement to conserve Bayon. As at most Angkorian temples in the area, restoration work is evident: fresh, grey patches of concrete and numerous danger signs – further tempting mischievous Indiana Jones wannabes to explore!
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.