Heaven & Hell

Angkor Wat

The punishments and rewards of the 37 heavens and 32 hells are depicted in the eastern half of the south gallery. On the left, the upper and middle tiers show fine gentlemen and ladies proceeding towards 18-armed Yama (the judge of the dead) seated on a bull; below him are his assistants, Dharma and Sitragupta. On the lower tier, devils drag the wicked along the road to hell.

To Yama’s right, the tableau is divided into two parts by a horizontal line of garudas: above, the elect dwell in beautiful mansions, served by women and attendants; below, the condemned suffer horrible tortures that might have inspired the Khmer Rouge. The ceiling in this section was restored by the French in the 1930s.

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Nearby Angkor Wat attractions

1. Churning of the Ocean of Milk

0.03 MILES

The southern section of the east gallery is decorated by the most famous of the bas-relief scenes at Angkor Wat, the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. This…

2. Angkor Wat

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The traveller's first glimpse of Angkor Wat, the ultimate expression of Khmer genius, is matched by only a few select spots on earth. Built by Suryavarman…

3. Elephant Gate

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This gate, which has no stairway, was used by the king and others for mounting and dismounting elephants directly from the gallery. North of the gate is a…

4. Army of Suryavarman II

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The remarkable western section of the south gallery depicts a triumphal battle march of Suryavarman II’s army. In the southwestern corner about 2m from…

5. Vishnu Conquers the Demons

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The northern section of the east gallery shows a furious and desperate encounter between Vishnu, riding on a garuda, and innumerable devils. Needless to…

6. Battle of Kurukshetra


The southern portion of the west gallery depicts a battle scene from the Hindu Mahabharata epic, in which the Kauravas (coming from the north) and the…

7. Krishna & the Demon King


The eastern section of the north gallery shows Vishnu incarnated as Krishna riding a garuda. He confronts a burning walled city, the residence of Bana,…

8. Battle of the Gods & the Demons

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The western section of the north gallery depicts the battle between the 21 gods of the Brahmanic pantheon and various demons. The gods are featured with…