Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat National Park, Siem Reap, Combodia
The Bayon (Khmer: Prasat Bayon) is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII , the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom.
The original name for the Bayon is Jayagiri or “Victory Mountain”. After French occupancy, it was later named Banyan Temple due to its religious significance and Buddhist imagery as the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under the Banyan tree. When the local Khmer came to work at renovating Banyan Temple, there was a mispronunciation in Banyan, which was pronounced Bayon. The name then stuck.
The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and smiling stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.