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Terrace of the Elephants

1 min read

Date: Late 12th century CE
Style: Bayon
King: Jayavarman VII (reign 1181 – 1220 CE)
Cult: Hindu

 

The Terrace of the Elephants (Khmer: ព្រះពន្លាជល់ដំរី) borders the eastern wall and gate of the Royal Palace for more than 300m (1000'), practically hiding them from view.

The Terrace of the Elephants forms the southern section of the Royal Terraces, extended north by the Terrace of the Leper King.  The terraces overlook a vast parade ground, limited to the east by the twelve towers of the Suor Proat Temple and by the North- and South Khleangs.

It is easy to imagine the king and his court watching the military parades, and perhaps games, from richly decorated wooden pavilions that were erected in the central section of the terrace.

According to the chronicles of the Chinese emissary Zhou Daguan, at the end of the 13th century, the king would come from the Royal Palace to appear daily at the centre of the Terrace of the Elephants.  Framed by a golden window, he listened to the complaints of his citizens and dispensed Justice.

As well as the magnificent elephants, the terrace features staircases with beautifully carved garudas and fierce lions.

The northern section of the Terrace of the Elephants has an amazing inner section, only found if you are looking for it and often missed by tourists.  The outer walls also feature some fascinating scenes.

 

Map of The Terrace of the Elephants



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