The most historical site present in Located in Angkor Thom, northwest of the Bayon is the Baphuon temple. It is a three-tier mountain temple built in the mid of 11th century as a state temple of Udayadityavarman II dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is a typical example of the Baphuon style. The look of this temple impressed the Emperor Chengzong of Yuan, china’s 13th-century envoy Chou Ta- Kuan during his visit from 1296 to 1297. Who appreciated the temple’s beauty by saying that “it was a tower of bronze, a truly astonishing spectacle, with more than 10 chambers at its base”. The Baphuon templemeasures around 120 meters east-west by 100 meters north-south at its base and stands 34 meters tall without its tower, as it adjoins the southern enclosure of the royal palace. Along with the tower, its total height would be 50 meters.
Then in the 15th century, it was converted into a Buddhist temple from a Hindu temple. It has a buddha statue which is 9 meters tall and 70 meters long, on the west side of the second level, this required the deconstruction of an 8-meter tower above.
The temple has been unstable throughout its history as it was built on land filled with sand and immense size of the site. Many of the large portions have already flaked out by the time Buddha was added. It was reconstructed using pen and watercolor to make it look like just in the 11th century by Lucien Fournereau in 1889.On the west side of the temple, there is an unfinished reclining Buddha.
It collapsed largely near the 20th century and reconstructing it, again and again, has been a problem since then. Reconstructing for the first time was in 1960 which was interrupted as Khmer Rouge gained power and the stone records were lost. Then the second try was attempted in the year 1995 which continued till 2005 by the French-led archaeologists and this restricted the access of the visitors for so many years.
The visitors started visiting the temple again in the year 2010 partially. The visitors were not allowed to visit the central structure then also. It was in the year 2011, the construction work was completed after 51 years. King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia and Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France were among those who first toured the renovated temple during the inauguration ceremony on July 3, 2011.
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