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|Date:||Mid 11th century (1060)|
|King:||Udayadityavarman II (reign 1050 – 1066 CE)|
The Baphuon (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបាពួន) and Angkor Wat Temple are two of the most ambitions architectural projects ever undertaken by the kings of Angkor. Started under Suryavarman I, it was competed in 1060 by his successor, Udayadityavarman II (reign 1050 - 1066). It thus predates Angkor Thom, the city that would later surround it.
An impressive temple mountain, representing Mount Meru, the Baphuon has extensive and excellent narrative reliefs, some of the earliest at Angkor (only those of Bakong Temple are older). It is instructive to compare them to those at Angkor Wat Temple and the Bayon Temple.
The temple is approached by a dramatic 200m (650') long sandstone causeway, raised on pillars, which was probably constructed after the temple was built. The platform leads through the east gopura, an arched gateway leading to the temple courtyards, to the temple mountain itself.
The Baphuon is one of the first temples to employ a cruciform sanctuary and covered galleries. At the rear of the temple, on the west side, is an enormous 16th century reclining Buddha.
In 1296, Zhou Daguan described Baphuon as a great tower, made of bronze, that was “truly marvellous to behold”.
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