Khmer Temples

Bayon, Angkor Thom and More

During its prime the Khmer Empire was enormous, it ruled most of southeast Asia. Angkor Wat was built then, and the area became the largest urban center the world would see until the industrial revolution rolled around several hundred years later. Nearly one million people lived there.

It would be easy, I think, to spend weeks exploring Angkor. The area boasts some one thousand temples; Hindu, Buddhist (there was a religious power-shift part way through the empire) some huge, some simple, many others beyond intricate in their detail. Some of our favorites are featured here in the images below. 

Temple Highlights

Bridges to Angkor Thom are lined with giants, when the Khmer rulers became buddhist all of the Hindu statues were beheaded, including those on the bridges. Some of them have been replaced with new heads and a few were found in the river and returned to the bodies. 

Four faces of buddha sit atop each tower in Bayon, they face North, South, East & West. Currently Japan and USA have a joint restoration effort to rebuild the demolished parts of the temple.

Ta Prohm is called the tree temple. It’s a perfect example of what the jungle can do, with giant thitpok trees stretching over the rock walls and smaller ones taking root on top of them. Grants and individuals from India have restored large sections of this temple. 

There are many more temples of course and a few are pictured below.