Located within a walking distance from Bayon, Baphuon used to be a very impressive architectural edifice. One of the most prominent elements is a Buddha laying down, built around the western wall, that has never been finished.
The passing of the years is visible on Baphuon and its original structure wasn’t maintained. It took almost half of century and a lot of failed restoration attempts for the temple to open its gates to the tourists, in 2011. The final restored product is very popular among the visitors.
- Reclining Buddha – Along the western wall of Baphuon, a 60 m long Buddha laying down was constructed. His head is visible from the northern part oft he temple, and the entrance gate is marked by his hips. As you enter the temple, you will notice Buddha’s arm on your left.
- The View – Viewed from the distance, Baphuon proudly stands out in between two other temples: Phnom Bakheng and Phimeanakas. All three of them offer a lovely view and make for nice pictures.
The construction of Baphuon was initiated in the 11th century by Suryavarman I, and was continued during the reign of Udayadityavarman II. Located right in the center, the temple was to be the main attraction of the city, centuries before Angkor Thom was built.
The reclining Buddha wasn’t constructed until the 15th century, at a time when Baphuon was not inhabited or used. Even if it wasn’t used continuously, the temple kept its significance in the eyes of the Cambodian people.
Baphuon fell apart over the years. Its restoration, conducted by the French, began in the 20th century. Although not successful at start, mainly because of political issues with the Khmer Rouge regime, the temple was finally open for visitors in 2011. An official ceremony presided by King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia and Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France marked the event.