- Martin Buber
Baphuon, of our complete list of small temples, could perhaps feature as the most significant due to its stature as a temple-mountain. Unfortunately however, despite artists having resurrected the temple in its all glory on canvas, and modern day architects claiming that the temple would once have been among the most magnificent to feature in the whole of the Angkor temples group, Baphuon has suffered greatly at the hands of Mother Nature over the course of time and has for many years now been under a permanant course of restoration. Built in the middle of the 11th century under King Udayadityavarman II and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, it has been described by historians of the 13th century as one of the most beautiful temples of its time. The overall profile of the temple is improving all the time, and there are some great finer features to discover, should current restoration plans permit you to do so.
The bas-reliefs of this temple are somewhat more frivolous and a little naive (characteristic of the Baphuon style), and there is less direct reference to Hindu mythology, nevertheless some of the depictions are wonderful. As you traverse the raised causeway, there are tiny scenes carved in the walls of wild animals and men in battle. Around the 3rd enclosure, surrounding the pyramid you can find more delicate carvings of animals fighting or lotus flowers. On the west side of the central pyramid the awesome reclining Buddha will come into view. It lacks fine detail, as it was never completed, however the outline is clear, and building work is being undertaken now to complete the masterpiece. Other bas-reliefs, most commonly found within the various gopuras of the inner enclosure, include epics from the Ramayana, such as scenes from the battle of Lanka or the trial of Sita. Views from the top of the pyramid are excellent.
Distance from Siem Reap to Baphuon is 10km (approx 15 minutes by car, 20 minutes by tuk-tuk, or an hour by bicycle). Take Charles de Gaulle Road to
"North of the Golden Tower at a distance of about two hundred yards rises the tower of Bronze [..], a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than ten chambers at its base."
"Baphuon, the benchmark for a whole ancient architectural style. Once magnifiicent, this temple is showing signs of age, but look hard enough and you can still see Baphuon's distinct character in the smallest corners and crevices of the ancient building."
Cambodia travel information and Angkor Wat tour specialists ABOUTAsia are based in Siem Reap just 4km from Angkor Wat. At the heart of the organisation is a guiding research centre providing Cambodia vacation advice and industry leading tours planning.
Peerless service standards and local positioning have made us the tour operator of choice by international luxury travel groups and discerning independent travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Southeast Asia.