Angkor Thom - Terrace of the Leper King

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General information, history

Terrace of the Leper King: general view

Terrace of the Leper King (Terrace of the Leper King) is located in the central parts of Angkor Thoma, north of Elephant Terraces.

The name of the Terrace of the Leper King is directly related to the Buddha statue found during the clearing at this place. At the same time, several versions of the origin of the name are put forward: the first is that the statue found was covered with lichen, resembling a skin disease in appearance; the second is that the king himself (Jayavarman VII) was ill with leprosy. The third is that it was a statue of King Yama, the lord of death and justice, who decided the fate of people after their death: where to go to hell or heaven. The latest version, according to scientists, is more true. In this connection, the main purpose of the Terrace was the exercise of justice from it. But there is another function of the Terrace – it is the cremation of deceased royal persons (according to some reports, it is happening here today).

Buddha Statue on the Terrace of the Leper King

The statue presented to our view on the Terrace is a copy. The original is in the National Museum G. Phnom Penh.

Dedicated to Buddhism, style Bayon.

It was built at the end of the XII century, during the reign of Jayavarman VII (Jayavarman VII, ruled from 1181 to 1220). Clearing of the territory began in the early XX century, and restoration work in the 60-70s of the XX century.

Of interest are the Buddha statue located on the upper platform, as well as numerous bas-reliefs on the walls of the external and internal galleries, which are definitely worth a look.

Orientation, tips for inspection

Bas-reliefs on the Terrace of the Leper King

It is located on the same line with the Terrace of Elephants, but is a free-standing structure (cm. Terrace of the Leper King on the map of Angkor). Its visit is carried out in conjunction with an inspection of the Elephant Terrace (if you go from the south), or after Warm Pranama (if you move from the north).

The terrace of the Leper King is a monolithic cylindrical structure with a diameter of 25m and a wall height of 6m. It has two galleries with bas-reliefs: external and internal. The inner gallery, unlike the outer one, is hidden from view and is located a couple of meters behind the outer wall, the entrance to it is located from the south, slightly to the right of the ascent to the upper platform of the Terrace. You can climb up to the Buddha statue from the south or north sides.

To the north-west of the Terrace there is a swimming pool, its cladding on the western side has preserved several images on the marine theme.

Time for inspection should be allocated about a quarter of an hour.

The best time for a photo is the first half of the day, when the sun is not too high yet.

Construction, architecture

Bas-reliefs on the Terrace of the Leper King

The outer gallery of the Terrace of the Leper King contains bas-reliefs with figures of armed men, apsaras, demons and others, which are seated in a row very close to each other. The images are placed in seven rows horizontally, the topmost – the seventh row is almost not preserved. All the panels are very well preserved and quite interesting, however, if you do not look closely, they give the impression of monotony and monotony.

The inner gallery was built much earlier than the outer one, but during the construction of the outer wall it was covered with earth and cleaned only during the restoration work, and therefore it is in much better preservation than the outer wall. The inconspicuous entrance to the gallery is located on the south side, and leads through a narrow passage to the northern exit to the upper platform of the Terrace. Here the bas-reliefs are divided into four horizontal rows and represent many figures of marine life (fish, crocodiles), animals (elephants), invariable apsaras and garudas, people, warriors and others. The corners of the gallery in some places are decorated with bas-reliefs of nagas (snakes) and garudas (birds).

It is also worth paying attention to the northern wall of the outer gallery, where there are images of palace scenes.

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