Bakheng

Bakheng

Prepare for the crowds

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It’s best known as a viewing point for sunset at Angkor Wat and if you’re fond of battling your way through the masses, all with cameras surgically attached to their faces or at a constant arm’s length from their body as though it’s in control of them and not they in control of it, then feel free to join them. The sunset climb of Bakheng should hardly be described as a unique and meaningful experience though.

Travelfish says:
The summit is not always a madhouse. Photo by: Caroline Major.
The summit is not always a madhouse. Photo: Caroline Major

First and foremost, Bakheng was built as an earthly representation of Mount Meru, home of the Brahmanical gods and centre of the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. Other temple mountains of this kind, which are unique to Khmer architecture, include Bakong, Phimeanakas, Ta Keo, Pre Rup and, of course, Angkor Wat.

Bakheng is designed as follows: it is a four-sided pyramid on seven levels. The east–west axis is as usual tilted slightly towards the northeast, while the stairs on each flank are directed towards the cardinal points (with a slight deviation on the north–south stairways). Five tiers, not including the base and the top platform, each have 12 towers with one on each corner and one on each side of the stairways, making 60 in total. On the base, 44 brick towers surround the monument while, on the top platform, five towers form the distinctive quincunx which is a feature of Angkorian temples, with one tower at the centre and the other four making a square defined by the mid-cardinal points. In total there are, or rather were, ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

Tours in Cambodia



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