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Phnom Bakheng
02-DEC-2006

Phnom Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910 A.D.). Located atop a hill, it is nowadays a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger temple Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast. The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor. [1]

Constructed more than two centuries before Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng was in its day the principal temple of the Angkor region, historians believe. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital, Yasodharapura, that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya in the Roluos area located to the southeast.

An inscription dated 1052 A.D. and found at the Sdok Kak Thom temple in present-day Thailand states in Sanskrit: "When Sri Yasovardhana became king under the name of Yasovarman, the able Vamasiva continued as his guru. By the king's order, he set up a linga on Sri Yasodharagiri, a mountain equal in beauty to the king of mountains."[1] Scholars believe that this passage refers to the consecration of the Phnom Bakheng temple approximately a century and a half earlier.

Surrounding the mount and temple, labor teams built an outer moat measuring about four kilometers square and 200 meters wide; its southwest sections are still visible from the air. The new city probably lay largely within the confines of this moat. A smaller inner moat measuring 650 by 436 meters was also constructed. Avenues radiated out in the four cardinal directions from the mount. A causeway ran in a northwest-southeast orientation from the old capital area to the east section of the new capital's outer moat and then, turning to an east-west orientation, connected directly to the east entrance of the temple.[2]

Phnom Bakheng is a symbolic representation of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods, a status emphasized by the templeís location atop a steep hill. The temple faces east, measures 76 meters square at its base and is built in a pyramid form of seven tiers, counting the ground. At the top level, five sandstone sanctuaries are arranged in a quincunx pattern, one in the center, and one at each corner of the levelís square. Originally, 108 small towers were arrayed around the temple at ground level and on various of its tiers; most of them have now collapsed.[3]

Phnom Bakheng is one of three hilltop temples in the Angkor region that are attributed to Yasovarman's reign. The other two are Phnom Krom to the south near the Tonle Sap lake, and Phnom Bok, northeast of the East Baray reservoir.

Canon EOS 10D
1/90s f/13.0 at 26.0mm iso100 hide exif
Full EXIF Info
Date/Time02-Dec-2006 10:07:40
MakeCanon
ModelEOS 10D
Flash UsedNo
Focal Length26 mm
Exposure Time1/90 sec
Aperturef/13
ISO Equivalent100
Exposure Bias-1
White Balance
Metering Modematrix (5)
JPEG Quality
Exposure Programprogram (1)
Focus Distance

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