TERRACE OF THE LEPER KING
The Terrace of the Leper King is just north of the Terrace of Elephants. It is a 7m-high platform, on top of which stands a nude, though sexless, statue. It is yet another of Angkor's mysteries. The original of the statue is in Phnom Penh's National Museum ( p84 ), and various theories have been advanced to explain its meaning. Legend has it that at least two of the Angkor kings had leprosy, and the statue may represent one of them. Another theory, and a more likely explanation, is that the statue is of Yama, the god of death, and that the Terrace of the Leper King housed the royal crematorium. The front retaining walls of the terrace are decorated with at least five tiers of meticulously executed carvings of seated apsaras; other figures include kings wearing pointed diadems, armed with short double-edged swords and accompanied by the court and princesses, the latter adorned with beautiful rows of pearls. The terrace, built in the late 12th century between the con-struction of Angkor Wat and the Bayon, once supported a pavilion made of lightweight materials. On the southern side of the Terrace of the Leper King (facing the Terrace of Elephants), there is access to the front wall of a hidden terrace that was covered up when the outer structure was built – a terrace within a terrace. The four tiers of apsaras and other figures, including nagas, look as fresh as if they had been carved yesterday, thanks to being covered up for centuries. Some of the figures carry fearsome expressions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.