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Angkor Thom South Gate | by shankar s.
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Angkor Thom South Gate

The central tower of the stone gate is capped by three face-towers that face the four directions (the central tower faces both out and in). Below them at the base of the gate are two sets of elephant statues that flank the entrance on both sides. Sitting on each elephant is a figure of the god Indra carrying his usual weapon—the 'vadra' (a lightning bolt). The gate itself is shaped like an upside-down 'U' and is corbelled at the top (instead of arches, the builders of Angkor preferred to use corbelling to span distances). It is still possible to see where wooden doors once fitted to the gate through openings in the stone. The large faces are a feature of the temples of Bayon, and this South Gate is fore runner to that.The gate is probably tall enough for an elephant to pass under, with a howdah or man sitting on it. All it sees nowadays are motorcycles, pick up trucks, tuk tuks, cars and such smallish vehicles or even buses which are not all that tall. (Siem Reap, Cambodia, Oct. 2008)

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Taken in October 2008