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Terrace of the Elephants

The Terrace of the Elephant is located directly in front of the east gopura of the Royal Palace rampart. The terrace was built in late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. One of the main attractions of this terrace is the façade decorated with elephant and their riders depicted in profile. The elephants are using their trunks to hunt and flight while tigers claw at them.

The Terrace of the elephant extends over 300meters long from the Baphuon to Terrace of the Leper King. It has three main platforms and two subsidiaries ones. The south stairway is framed with three-headed elephants gathering lotus flowers with their trunks which form columns. The central stairway is decorated by lions and garudas in bas-reliefs in a stance of support for the stairway. Several projections above are marked by lions and naga balustrades with garudas flanking the dais. The terrace has two levels one of which is square and another which has a gaggle of sacred geese carved along its base. It is likely a gaggle of sacred geese carved along its base. It is likely that these platforms originally formed the based for wooden pavilions which were highlighted with gold.

At the northern end of the platform behind the outer wall, a large horse with five head sculpted in high relief stands on each side at the base of the inner retaining wall. The horse is an exceptional piece of sculpture, lively and remarkably worked. It is the horse of a king, as indicated by the tiered umbrellas over his head; it is surrounding by apsaras and menacing demons armed with sticks in pursuit of several people bearing terrified expressions. Some believe this is a representation of Avalokiteshvara in the form of the divine horse balaha.

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