Man and ox, in one of Baphuon's famous decorative wall panels
On Sunday a ceremony to inaugurate the Baphuon
temple at Angkor, for many years tagged as the world's largest jigsaw puzzle, will see the King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni and the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon preside over the celebrations and tour the three-tier temple that has been rebuilt at a cost of $14 million. The renovations actually began in the 1960s when a French-led team of archaeologists dismantled the pyramidal building because it was falling apart, largely due to its heavy, sand-filled core that was putting pressure on the thin walls. At that time, workers numbered some 300,000 of the sandstone blocks and laid them out in the surrounding jungle. Civil war, the Khmer Rouge and the loss of the numbering system made it an incredibly tough task to rebuild the 11th century temple before it was finally completed in April. Now the Baphuon is open again, and welcoming visitors in through its doors.
The face of a dvarapala male guardian at the western gopura