Friday, February 20, 2009

South Gate devas

Enigmatic face on the South Gate of Angkor Thom, facing west
Regular readers will recall that I visited the South Gate of Angkor Thom a few weeks ago and failed to capture many shots of the devas (male gods) pulling on the giant naga, on the left as you approach the gate from Angkor Wat. It was remiss of me so here's a few photos to put that right. However, many of the heads are replicas with the originals removed to the Angkor Conservation depot for safekeeping many years ago, though telling which are originals and which are replicas is often very tough. My most recent visit to the South Gate was as my starting point for cycling all the way around the top of the massive city walls to each corner temple and each of the five gates that allow access to the walled city. More on that epic cycle journey soon. I say epic as it took me nearly 4 hours and in all that time I saw no-one else on the walls apart from when I reached the final corner temple, the southwest, I was joined by five Khmers out on their own cycle ride and picnic.
Behind the large naga head are the giant hands and the 4 faces of the gods
Looking along the line of sturdy gods (devas) towards the South Gate itselfMore often than not, the heads on the gods are cement copies
There are 54 sandstone gods pulling tha naga & 54 demons
A rare moment, the causeway leading to the gate is nearly empty
It looks old but my money is on a copy head
All of the gods wear conical hats and supposedly serene expressions
A look at the South Gate from the top of the wall, on the east side
The face of Jayavarman VII - you decide - facing east
3 of the 4 faces of the South Gate from the western approach

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