Terrace of the Elephants in Angkor Thom. It is named after the standalone statue found on the top of it. According to researchers, who were not too certain when it was built, the Terrace of the Leper King probably dates to the reign of Jayavarman VIII, and was the result of the renovations done to the royal palace during his time. There was evidence that the wall was entirely rebuilt after part of it collapsed. The old structure was however left intact within the new one. Today's visitors can view both sets of reliefs.
The terrace is ornately carved. The finest carvings are found on the eastern wall. The carvings feature deities with swords, parasols, and other figures. To view the hidden relief, you can climb down a flight of stairs in the southwest corner. The carvings are similar to those on the outer walls.
The figure on top of the terrace is the Leper King. Note however, what you see on site is a replica. The original is now safely housed in the Phnom Penh National Museum in Phnom Penh. I learned that even this cement copy was vandalised by thieves who cut off its head.
The Leper King statue is in fact the statue of Dharma or Yama, the god of the underworld, as depicted in the Judgement of Yama Gallery in Angkor Wat. It only got to be called the leper king in modern times, when lichen and corrosion on it was mistaken for leprosy.
Construction Details13th Century
by Jayavarman VII (reigned 1181-1220), with additions by Jayavarman VIII
How to reach the Terrace of the Leper KingThe Terrace of the Leper King is one of the sights within Angkor Thom, just north of the Terrace of the Elephants. All Siem Reap tuk tuk drivers would know how to get there - if you find one who doesn't, well, change tuk tuk! If you're on your own, by bicycle or motorcycle, park somewhere under the shade near the food stalls, and do your on foot.
If you need transport, I can recommend the tuk tuk driver who drove me. His name is Mr Han (see contact below), and you can call to see if he is available to take you.
Terrace of the Leper King is a raised platform is located immediately north of the