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Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

Bayon was the state temple of Jayavarman VII, a powerful ruler in the late 13th century. The temple sits at the center of Angkor Thom, a walled city that served as the capital of the Khmer Empire. Four of the city’s five gates sit on the same axis as the temple, and the walls of the city substituted for the enclosure walls normally found at Khmer temples. The walls sit at such a distance from the temple that the temple seems to rise abruptly from the ground like an artificial mountain. In fact, the temple was intended to evoke the form of Mt. Meru—the cosmic mountain at the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology.

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