After Baphuon, we proceeded on to visit Terrace of the Elephants. Terrace of the Elephants sits just next to Baphuon within the city of Angkor Thom and is accessible by foot from Baphuon. King Jayavarman VII began the construction of Terrace of the Elephants in the late 12th century and the work is continued by his successor. The construction is of Bayon style. It is said the terrace is used by King Jayavarman VII as a platform to view his victorious returning army, a viewing stand for public ceremonies as well as king’s audience hall.
Terrace of the Elephants is a terrace wall with approximately 2.5 meters tall and 350 meters long. The terrace wall gets its name because of intricate carvings of elephants on it. Besides, it is also deeply carved with nagas, demons and other Khmer mythological beings. The main wall is carved with elephants and garudas. For your information, garuda is a large mythical bird that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Five staircases, 3 in the center and 1 at each end, lead up to the 2.5 meters high platform. The platform is furnished with naga railings. Naga is the seven headed serpent in Hindu mythology. At the center of the platform is a high rostrum with a giant lotus seat.
Terrace of the Elephants was built to attach with Phimeanakas, a Hindu temple built by King Jayavarman V at the end of the 10th century. Phimeanakas is located inside the ancient Royal Palace compound and thus served as the king’s temple. It takes the form of a 3-tier laterite and sandstone pyramid. We just wandered around the gate, having decided earlier not to visit Phimeanakas because it is never in our itinerary.
The northern section of the wall displays some particularly fine sculpture including the five headed horse and scenes of warriors and dancers. It is best to visit Terrace of the Elephants before noon as the wall faces east hence the best lighting for photography. The Terrace of the Leper King is just next to the Terrace of the Elephants. That shall feature in my next post!
The Terrace of the Elephants & Phimeanakas by Life Is Like That, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Malaysia License.