Baphuon Temple is a dilapidated Khmer temple located within the Angkor Thom section of the Angkor Archaeological Park, near Siem Reap in Cambodia. To visit this fascinating temple you need to buy a pass for the Angkor Archaeological Park which currently costs $37 USD for a single day, $62 USD for three days, and $72 USD for a week. Most people choose to visit Baphuon Temple as a part of a wider tour taking in more famous temples such as Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat, which are both fairly close by.
About Baphuon Temple
Baphuon Temple was constructed at some point around the middle of the 11th Century as the official temple of the regime of King Udayadityavarman II. It was a common practice for Khmer rulers to build a new temple to serve as the religious centre during the period of their reign, hence the very large of impressive temples in the area. Baphuon Temple was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The central part of the temple is believed to have once had towers rising to 50 metres above ground level representing Mount Meru, which according to ancient Hindu texts is the place at the centre of the universe where the gods reside.
Time and a change of state religion were not kind to this temple. In the 15th Century part of the original structure was dismantled to provide building materials to create a giant statue of the Lord Buddha in a reclining position, and part of the detailed carving work and statues were replaced with images relating to Buddhism. A second problem came from the instability of the foundations, which were poorly constructed from sand.
The temple itself had pretty fallen down by the beginning of the 20th Century and a massive reconstruction project was initiated in the 1960s. This project, which involved dismantling the temple into over 300,000 pieces, came to a halt during the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge took power and the plans showing how fit the pieces together again were lost. From 1996 to 2012 a French led project finally managed to put the pieces together, with the addition of some newer stone work, creating a series of structures hinting at the former glory of this temple.
Baphuon Temple consists of three enclosures. Most of the walls aren’t standing anymore, however, the East and West entrances are marked by impressive gopura towers. From the Eastern entrance, which is the main entrance, you need to walk along a 225 metre long raised causeway which passes through the walls which once ringing the second part of the temple. The central part of the temple is the most impressive. The base for what were tall towers rises sharply in steps. The base measures 36 by 42 metres and the top is accessible via steep steeps leading from four gopura entrance towers.
Location of Baphuon Temple
Baphuon Temple is located 9.3 km by road from Siem Reap Town.