Terrace of the Elephants

visit Terrace of the Elephants

Hemmed in by the walls of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the Terrace of the Elephants is almost a thousand years old. It has seen the most glorious parades and processions under the rule of Khmer kings. Built by the mighty Jayavarman VII and used as a viewing stand, the terrace was the principal site for the kingdom’s ceremonial events. A visit today reveals the remains of the original structure. They consist of the foundation stages that are now separated from the royal palace of Phimeanakas.

For the mystical appeal associated with the site, seek out the eastern face of the terrace walls. Bass-relief carvings of the sacred elephant will awe you into silence. It is the highlight of the site. But, many more fine sculptors also decorate the walls, including garudas, the legendary bird-like creatures of the Hindu faith. Lions, dancers, and warriors are other figures. All life-size and indisputably captivating, the figures provide a realistic insight into the value system of the time. Come before noon, and you will have the best light to capture the 3-dimensional sculptures with the highest contrast. The terrace sits peacefully in a verdant and spacious setting, perfectly poised for a relaxed stroll and sightseeing.

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