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Prasat Bayon Temple

The Prasat Bayon temple, also known as Angkor Thom is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at the Angkor area in Cambodia. Build in the late 12th - 13th century as the official state temple of King Jayavarman VII who was a Mahayana Buddhist. After his death, it was modified to a Hindu temple and much later on to a Theravada Buddhist temple by the later kings following their religious preferences. Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multi-faced towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. Over 2000 large faces on 54 towers give this temple its character and made it well known all over the world. A peculiarity of the Bayon is that there is no enclosing wall. It's protected by the wall surrounding the city of Angkor Thom. There are three levels of Bayon temple. The 1st and 2nd levels are square galleries decorated with bas-reliefs. On the third level, there's a circular Central Sanctuary. Bayon's basic plan might look simple but the arrangement of the Bayon is complex with a maze of galleries, passages and steps connected in a way that makes the levels looks the same and creates dim lighting, narrow walkways, and low ceilings. It's easy for someone to get disoriented in Bayon if they're not familiar with the layout of the temple.

Prasat Bayon is also known for two sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes. Currently, the Japanese Government Team for the Safeguarding of Angkor is the main conservatory body and they have described the temple as the most striking expression of the Khmer architecture style, as contrasted with the classical style of Angkor Wat.

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