Built by Kings, the Ancient Bayon Temple of Cambodia Mixes Spirituality, History and Symbolism
The 12th century is generally regarded as a period of European decline. In other parts of the world, however, this was certainly not the case. In South East Asia, the Khmer Empire was enjoying its Golden Age. Under the rule of its kings, the empire extended its borders over much of mainland South East Asia. In addition, the prosperity and wealth of the empire allowed Khmer kings to build numerous temples throughout their lands as a sign of their piety. Of these temples, the most famous is undoubtedly Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Nevertheless, there are other Khmer temples worth mentioning, one of them being the Bayon Temple.
The Bayon Temple was built in the late 12th or early 13th century A.D. by Jayavarman VII, one of the Khmer Empire’s greatest kings. The Bayon Temple served as the state temple of Jayavarman’s new capital, Angkor Thom. Given the centrality of Buddhism in the Khmer Empire, the Bayon Temple stood at the center of Angkor Thom. Unlike the other temples built by the Khmer, Bayon Temple is unique in that it was the only state temple built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha. After the death of Jayavarman, the features of the Bayon Temple were altered according to the religious belief of his successors, thus containing Hindu and Theravada Buddhist elements that were not part of the temple’s original plans.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Bayon (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបាយ័ន, Prasat Bayon) is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.