Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baphoun and the Terrace of the Elephants

This pyramidal structure once marked the center of the ancient city before the walls of Angkor Thom were constructed. 

This marked the scariest moment of the trip for me as getting to the top of Baphoun required a hike up a steep, steep, steep set of wooden steps.  On the way down, to redirect my focus from fear to the mundane, Gavin sang loudly as I plodded downwards.

At first, this imposing temple appears to be a desultory attempt at reconstruction, but the French archaeological team working on the site had to start over from scratch twenty years ago as most of their past progress and painstaking records were destroyed during the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

A mother in repose.

Local flora and fauna: a great ape attempting to climb an ancient, gnarled tree.

The Terrace of the Elephants.  Once a great, outdoor wooden pavilion where festivities took place, only the stairways and walls remain.  Luckily, these are adorned with superbly-detailed bas reliefs highlighting the sacred and profane: bodhisattvas, mythical bird beasts, three-headed elephants, etc.

1 comment:

Jeff Gibbs said...

God, this place was amazing!