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Angkor Thom North Gate

Out of 5 gates giving access to the royal Khmer city of Angkor Thom, only two are heavily trafficked. Being on the Petit Circuit through the Angkor Archaeological Park, the South Gate (the busiest because it is also part of the Grand Circuit) and Victory Gate, people go through them often. Since Angkor Thom North Gate is on the Grand Circuit and off the itinerary the vast majority of visitors to Angkor are restricted, it is a much quieter gate than the other two.

Out of 5 gates giving access to the royal Khmer city of Angkor Thom, only two are heavily trafficked. Being on the Petit Circuit through the Angkor Archaeological Park, the South Gate (the busiest because it is also part of the Grand Circuit) and Victory Gate, people go through them often. Since Angkor Thom North Gate is on the Grand Circuit and off the itinerary the vast majority of visitors to Angkor are restricted, it is a much quieter gate than the other two.

The square outer wall of Angkor Thom has an entrance gate at the cardinal point, except from the east wall, which has two East Gate and Victory Gate. East Gate, despite being in the middle of the wall and in line with Bayon, sees very little in terms of traffic, because all who cross Angkor Thom simply take the paved road that was put up to pass through the Victory Gate. However, there is still a gated traffic through which it is even more scarce. West Gate is almost totally abandoned and hardly receives visitors. Only the most determined explorers who also decide to visit West Mebon (huge water reservoir west of Angkor Thom) take this all day long diversion (unless you have motorized transport) and have very little to offer.

Needless to say, South and Victory Gates, being the busiest of five, saw more restoration work than the other three gates. North Gate has been restored a bit, but it was one of the gates that was fairly well preserved to begin with. When looting became a lucrative past-time activity for middle Cambodians, many stone giants (Devas on the left and Asuras on the right) that adorn the sides of the sidewalks that span the dry moats in front of each gate were vandalized and their cut heads sold to outside collectors. Many of the giants of the North Gate have also not escaped this fate, leaving this part of the North Gate desperately devastated, but the gate itself remains in good shape.

Nothing else makes the North Gate of Angkor Thom special. It's quieter than South Gate, so if you look for less disturbances from the Cambodian vendors of doom, you can find it here. However, since all the gates of Angkor Thom were built to be identical, your best option for pictures is to stay with the South Gate due to the well-restored Naga that takes Apsaras and Asuras on either side of the sidewalk. South Gate also gets many elephants through it, which also makes quite interesting, yet sad, images. Like all other gates, as well as the towers of Bayon, the North Gate is crowned with the faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with the likeness of King Jayavarman VII, who made them build.

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