Monday, January 26, 2009
Asuras, commonly known as demons and who dominate the causeway and bridge on the right-hand side as you approach the gate on arrival at the great city. They are easily recognisable by their grimace, their elaborate crown and bulbous eyes as they grip the naga in their cosmic tug of war with their sworn enemies, the gods, as the myth of the Churning of the Sea of Milk is played out in all its glory. There are 54 of them in total, an identical number to the gods, who line up in similar formation on the left-hand side of the causeway. The South Gate is the most popular, and most photographed, as the sculptures here have been extensively restored, though many of the heads are replicas rather than the originals, the majority of which have mysteriously taken flight. At the end of the row of demons, nearest to the gate itself, is the multi-headed demon ruler Ravana holding the head of the naga, Vasuki. Well, that's what the experts would tell us and who am I to argue. The overall scene crowned by the magnificent South Gate itself makes a great way to enter Angkor Thom and I never tire of passing through this glorious entrance into the city.
An elaborate feathered headpiece for this chubby looking demonThe bulbous eyes and downturned mouth are typical features of Asuras