Although they are not formally part of any temple, the gates of the citadel of Angkor Thom (the great city) deserve their own post.
Once the entrance to the last most important city of the Khmer empire, the imposing facing towers that guards this fortress are not only beautiful but full of magic.
There are four gates, one at each cardinal point, but the most popular and used today as access to the archeological complex is the South Gate. In front of this gate we can see a representation of the Hindu myth known as “the churning of the sea of milk“. You can look for the story behind this myth but what you can appreciate in the gates of Angkor Thom is a bridge with a line of gods, the good ones (known as devas) and the bad ones (known as asuras). Each group of gods are placed on each side of the road, they form a line and appear pulling the long body of the mythological serpent Vasuki. You can recognize the good boys (devas) by the kind expression of their faces and by contrast, you can recognize the bad boys (asuras) by the angry expression of their faces. The bridge with the representation of the churning of the sea of milk allow to cross the moat that surrounds the city of Angkor Thom.
We visited this place at first hour in the morning, it was fresh, with a nice morning sun light and with not too much people. Most of the people just pass by in their way to some of the temples inside Angkor Thom but we asked our tuk tuk driver to stop there. We went close to the lines of devas and asuras, walk around the gate, observed the moat, and enjoyed this part of the city. It was pleasant and rewarding.
Here there are a couple of photos of the beautiful South Gate of Angkor Thom.