The Baphuon is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia. It is located in Angkor Thom, northwest of the Bayon. Built in the mid-11th century, it is a three-tiered temple mountain built as the state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is the archetype of the Baphuon style. The temple adjoins the southern enclosure of the royal palace and measures 120 metres east-west by 100 metres north-south at its base and stands 34 meters tall without its tower, which would have made it roughly 50 meters tall. Its appearance apparently impressed Temür Khan’s late 13th century envoy Chou Ta-kuan during his visit from 1296 to 1297, who said it was ‘the Tower of Bronze…a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than ten chambers at its base.’ In the late 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple. A 9 meter tall by 70 meter long statue of a reclining Buddha was built on the west side’s second level, which probably required the demolition of the 8 meter tower above, thus explaining its current absence. The temple was built on land filled with sand, and due to its immense size the site was unstable throughout its history. Large portions had probably already collapsed by the time the Buddha was added.
By the 20th century, much of the temple had largely collapsed, and restoration efforts have since proven problematic: a first effort begun in 1960 was interrupted by the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge, and records of the positions of the stones were lost. A second attempt started in 1995 by a team of French-led archeologists as of 2005 was still ongoing, restricting visitor access. As of November 2010, partial visitor access was once again allowed, though not to the central structure.
This temple built by Udayadityarvarman II was the most poorly constructed of all the temples in Angkor. From the remaining ruins, it is possible to see how imposing it was. This temple hill was dedicated to Shiva, but in its reliefs many motives from the Vishnu epic can be seen. Restoration work continues to be carried out on the Baphuon.
North o f the Golden Tower. rises the Tower of Branze [Baphuon] higher even than the Golden Tower : a truly astonishing spectacle , with more than ten chambers at its base. Prasat Baphuon is located 200 metres (656 feet) northwest of the Bayon and south of Phimeanakas.
Tip to Baphuon Temple
Access to the summit is difficult as much of the temple has collapsed and it is overgrown but for those stalwarts who want to go to the top, use the way with columns at the east and the temple of Phimeanakas on the left. Visitors should walk down the causeway, climb the steps to the first tier, turn left and walk around the temple, always keeping it on their right. It was built in middle of the 11th century (1060) by king Udayadityavarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu) with following Prasat Baphuon.
Background of Baphuon Temple
The grandeur of Baphuon as described above by Zhou Daguan is unrecognizable today because of the poor condition of the temple. The French were in the process of restoring this temple when they were forced leave Angkor in 1972 because of war. Baphuon is situated inside the royal city of Angkor Thom but dates from the eleventh century and was built before the city was established. An interesting feature of Baphuon are the bas-reliefs which are scenes carved in small squares.Unfortunately few of these are visible because of the poor state of the temple. The narrative themes are realistic depictions of daily life and forest scenes.
Layout of Baphuon Temple
Baphuon is a single sanctuary temple-mountain situated on a high base. It is a symbolical representation of Mount Meru. A rectangular sandstone wall measuring 425 by 125 metres (1394 by 410 feet) encloses the temple (1). A long sandstone elevated approach (200 metres, 656 feet) at the east entrance (3) forms a bridge to the main temple. It is supported by three rows of short columns