Posted on 03/06/2012

Photo taken on February 19, 2012

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Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom South Gate
Angkor Heritage

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Causeway to the Angkor Thom south gate

Causeway to the Angkor Thom south gate
On each side of the causeway are railings fashioned with 54 stone figures engaged in the performance of a famous Hindu story: the myth of the Churning of the Ocean. On the left side of the moat, 54 'devas' (guardian gods) pull the head of the snake 'Shesha' while on the right side 54 'asuras' (demon gods) pull the snake's tail in the opposite direction. In this myth, the body of the snake is wrapped around the central mountain - Mt. Meru - perhaps corresponding here to the Bayon temple at the center of the site. In any case, the myth relates that as the Devas pulled the snake in one direction and the gods pushed in the other, the ocean began to churn and precipitate the elements. By alternating back and forth, the ocean was 'milked', forming the earth and the cosmos anew.

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