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Baphuon Temple

If you are among the admirers of secular culture, then take a walk around in the Angkor Thom in Bayon, Cambodia. To the southwest of the royal palace lies the mesmerizing Baphuon Temple, a marvel of all things religious.

It is the perfect amalgam of spirituality and architecture. Though you may seem to be captivated by the towering structure, what will truly add to the experience is the slice of ancient history that it packs in its crevices. Read on to find out how this palatial tourist hotspot is a must-have on any travel bug's itinerary.

Baphuon Temple, Angkor Thom
Baphuon Temple, Angkor Thom

A Slice of History

The reason why Baphuon Temple is such a tourist magnet is because of the rich history of its existence. The temple with its roots in core Hinduism and dedicated to Lord Shiva was built in the 11th century. Just like any other Shiva temple, the Baphuon was also built just like a towering mountain. Through the history of carving and stone work, the structure that leaves tourists spellbound was not nearly as close to what it appears. Back in the day, the beauty of the architectural style had captured the fancy of many a ruler, including Temur Khan a century later.

Built in an arena with perfect angles, the Baphuon Temple is a sight to behold. While the sands of time took a toll on the structure standing tall amidst the Bayon's greenery, people still marvel at the reclining Buddha statue that is present on the second floor. The statue, constructed in 1,500s with stones from the same premises, tells a story of how ancient ruins were typical of the Baphuon architecture.

After the construction of the statue, the temple completely became a Buddhist temple with hints of Hinduism on the walls. Absence of a caretaker in ancient times may tell you the reason behind crumbled stones and faded carvings.

Structure of beauty

Talking about the architecture of the centuries old spectacle, the Baphuon Temple was brought together with basic sand and stone constructions. Ample usage of these construction materials is why the temple mostly stayed unstable. Talking about the outer structure, it is 120 meters (394 ft.) by 100 meters (330 ft.) structure at the base.

Cambodia Baphuon Temple
Baphuon Temple Built with Sand and Stone
Marked with engravings of Hinduism and Buddhism, the temple stands 30 meter (98 ft.) tall, if you do not consider a once present tower that could take its height to 50 meters (164 ft.). Internally the base is having 10 sections symbolizing the core of Baphuon architecture.

The ancient ruins of the Baphuon Temple follow the path that a typical devotee might tread. As you enter the sanctum sanctorum made of gilded wood that has faded with time, you are face to face with a legacy of 7,000 years.

The Buddha statue was erected after taking some blocks of the old central tower and then marked by numbers as per a restoration plan before the plunder of the early 19th century. It was only after the archaeologists took cognizance of this architectural wonder that the blocks were repurposed, though in a way not to damage the ancient carvings.

How to reach the admirable temple?

Once you reach Siem Reap, you have to get a tuk tuk, the local mode of transport to Angkor, the hub of ancient temples, of which Bayon and Baphuon Temple are also a part. Angkor is a huge area that needs at least your entire day, so you have to start early. Another thing that you need to take care of is that there's a mobile application for hiring tuk tuks that is far cheaper than the price that you will negotiate with tuk tuk drivers.

It is 10.8 km (6.7 mi) away from Siem Reap and its distance from Angkor Wat is 7km (4.3 mi).  From both these destinations, you can hire a tuk tuk.  It will cost your around $15 from Siem Reap and $10.

Ticket & Timings

If you are a foreigner, then you are required to buy an admission pass, which is also called the Angkor pass.  One can purchase pass from official ticket centre, which is just 4 km (2.5 mi) away from Siem Reap town.

It is open from 5:00 AM to 5:30 PM every day.

You can pay cash to purchase the entrance ticket. You can pay in Cambodian Riel, US Dollars, Thai Baht or Euro). You can also purchase it using a credit card. Tickets issued after the scheduled closing time of 5:00 PM will only be valid from the next day.

Depending on the number of entries, there are three types of admission passes available:

1-Day: USD 37 for a day pass
3-Days: USD 62 valid for ten days
7-Days: USD 72 valid for one month

In conclusion

Baphuon Temple has become a magnet for tourist influx in Cambodia due to its deep rooted history and architectural excellence. When one takes a walk around the huge temple arena, the true combination of Buddhist and Hindu culture takes the visitors on a roller coaster ride of how history becomes legacy.

You can also pay a visit to the Killing Fields to see the astonishing collection of 30,000 skulls or just sit back and relax on beautiful beaches. While you relish Thai and Chinese cuisine, the best part is the scenic views that you get to take in. Keep your plan on point and visit Cambodia as per a detailed schedule. When visiting Bayon and Baphuon Temple in the holidays, the choices are endless.

Nearby Attractions:

Terrace of the Elephants    Terrace of the Leper King    Phimeanakas Temple