Terrace of the Elephants

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Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants

The Terrace of the Elephants is part of the walled city of Angkor Thom, a ruined temple complex in Cambodia. The terrace was used by Angkor’s king Jayavarman VII as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army. It was attached to the palace of Phimeanakas, of which only a few ruins remain. Most of the original structure was made of organic material and has long since disappeared. Most of what remains are the foundation platforms of the complex. The terrace is named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face.

Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants

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The 350m-long Terrace of Elephants was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall. It has five outworks extending towards the Central Square-three in the centre and one at each end. The middle section of the retaining wall is decorated with life size garuda and lions; towards either end are the two parts of the famous parade of elephants complete with their Khmer mahouts.

The forest in which they travel in impenetrable to all but tiny creatures, able to squeeze their smallness between the fissures of the undergrowth, and to the biggest animals, which crush chasms for their passage in the virgin vegetation.

Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Elephants

The elephants are ridden by servants and princes, and tread as quietly as if they were on an excursive promenade. The steps of even length have no respect for any obstacle. Terrace of the elephants is located in the Royal Square of Angkor Thom.

Accessible entry from the road at the east. It was built at the end of the 12th century, dedicated to Buddhist and replica to Bayon style of art.