Angkor Thom, the last capital city of the Khmer Empire, was established in the late 12th century under King Jayavarman VII’s reign. The moment I caught a glimpse of the Victory Gate, one of the five identical gates of the temple city, I knew we were in for something grand. We hiked up a bit towards to the top the gate to get a view of the woods that surrounded it. Once we got to the top, we were welcomed by huge tree roots that were quite abundant throughout the whole Angkor Complex.The temple city had a population of around 80,000-150,000 during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, but having been abandoned in 1609, tour guides and tourists are majority of those who now roam the temple’s grounds. According to our tour guide, these areas were used as battle grounds for men who’d fight in front of the King. The men who succeeded gained great power and titles appointed by the King himself. It was quite difficult to fathom how a place that seems so peaceful and exhibits such solace today used to be a place of bloodshed. Baphuon was built ahead of the establishment of this great temple city, during the 11th century to be precise. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva by Udayadityavarman II. Just like all the other temples we visited earlier that day, it exhibited such splendor. Declared as the official state temple of the ancient capital city is Bayon. Also known as the temple of many faces, due to its structure, it is deemed as one of the most beautiful temples in Cambodia; and I can attest to that. Ending our tour around Angkor Thom, we reached the South Gate, which, as aforementioned, is identical to that of Victory gate.
Wrapping it all up, the magnificence of Angkor Thom becomes more and more evident when you go from temple to another; although this is the case when visiting any other temple in Cambodia, even beyond the grounds of the Great Temple City.