Phnom Bakheng



Phnom Bakheng

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The ancient temple complex of Phnom Bakheng (also known as Bakheng Mountain) sits on a steep hill that rises 220 ft (67 m) above the surrounding plain.

Built by King Yasovarman I (r.889–910) and honoring the Hindu god, Shiva, the Bakheng complex features one of the region’s first temple-mountains  a distinctive style of temple architecture that has  become a mainstay of Khmer- style religious buildings. The  complex was also surrounded by 109 towers, but most of them are  now missing. However, the well- crafted statues of lions, flanking  each of the five terraced tiers of the temple, can be seen even today. The central sanctuary, one of five in all, is adorned with several decorative posts and statues of apsaras or celestial dancing girls, and makaras or mythical sea creatures. On the east side of the hill, a steep flight of broken stone stairs leads to the summit. The winding path on the south side is safer and is the usual path taken to carry tourists, on elephants, to the top. Here, there are spec tac ular views over Angkor and the Western Baray.  At dusk, the setting sun illumi- nates the Tonle Sap and the  spires of Angkor Wat with an ethe real glow.

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