Angkor Thom: Baphuon & Beyond

Imagine this: you’re on the Angkor Thom restoration team. There’s a slumping, overgrown pile of stones in the woods that used to be the Baphuon, an impressive temple. Your mission: restore it to its former grandeur.

You carefully number each stone, write down where you found it (this one goes on top of that one goes on top of that one), and move it to the side.

Then you level off the ground and start reassembling the temple. Block #1… Block #2 on top of that…

And then someone tears up your notes. Leaving you with this.

That’s basically what happened when the Khmer Rouge looted Phnom Penh and destroyed those precious notes. In 1995, work began anew on the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle. Luckily, one section had been left standing, and symmetry was very helpful in putting it all back together, exactly as it was. Maybe.

They must have done something right, because one day someone stood back, squinted and said, “Hey, is there a face hidden in those bricks?” Sure enough, a partially-completed reclining Buddha was embedded in the back wall of Baphuon.

The sights within Angkor Thom don’t end there- there are terraces and buildings and walls… whew!

Terrace of the Leper King

Terrace of the Elephants

Karen poses with pachyderms

Dwarfed

Phimeanakas

It’s time for Fickry to tuk-tuk us over to the most famous Angkor of all: Wat. Meet you there.

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