Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites: Cambodia
The city of Angkor was the home of the Khmer kings who ruled an empire that flourished from the 9th-15th century.
Although the majority of the Khmer rulers were 'chakravartins' (universal monarchs and human incarnations of Hindu gods), a few adopted Mahayana Buddhism. The most important of these was Jayavarman VII who constructed the walled city known as Angkor Thom, in the middle of which was the mountain-like temple of the Bayon, built on three levels and intended to resemble a mandala with the mythical Mount Meru at the centre. This was surrounded by a forest of pyramidal towers that were decorated on each side with huge faces of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
Many Buddhist images were subsequently destroyed by Jayavarman VIII, a devotee of Shiva. However, during the 13th century Theravada Buddhism came to Angkor from Siam (Thailand) and was eventually adopted as the state religion of Cambodia.
Buddha image, Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Photography by Daniel Cheong, 2007
Celestial dancers (apsaras), Bayon
Celestial dancers (apsaras) decorate pillars and walls at Bayon temple
Photograph by Jeanne-Pierre Dalbéra, 2008
Gallery at Bayon temple, Angkor
Gallery at Bayon temple, Angkor, Cambodia. Photograph by Frank Joas, 2008
Guardians, Southern Gateway
Guardians, Southern Gateway, Angkor Thom, Cambodia. Photograph by Rob Wakefield, 2006
Guardian, Southern Gateway
Guardian, Southern Gateway, Angkor Thom, Cambodia. Photograph by Philippe Bertramo, 2008
Southern Gateway, Angkor Thom
Southern Gateway, Angkor Thom, Cambodia. Photograph by Philippe Bertramo, 2008