Terrace of the Leper King

UNESCO World Heritage site near Siem Reap

Terrace of the Leper King at the north end of the Terrace of Elephants, has carved nagas, demons and other mythical beings. The inner wall was built first, and the outer wall was added later covering the inner wall. Archaeologists excavated the inner wall in the late 1990s.

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The terrace was named because of a statue on top of the wall. This statue is of the so-called ‘Leper King’, but why this statue is called the 'leper king' is a matter of debate. At the time the statue was found, some say that it was covered lichen, and looked like it was eaten by leprosy, thus connecting it to the legendary Khmer leper king. There is also speculation as to who the statue represents. Some say it is a combination of Hindu gods, and Kings Yasovarman I and Jayavarman VII. Other scholars say it is a combination of Buddha and King Jayavarman VII. The statue of the leper king currently on the terrace is a reproduction, and the original statue is in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

Terrace of the Leper King

Location: Central Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 12th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Builting style: Bayon
Photography: Lighting is best in the morning hours

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