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Terrace of the Leper King

One of Angkor’s many mysteries, the Terrace of the Leper King once served as the northern half of a long viewing stage and audience platform for King Jayavarman VII and his entourage. The mystery of the site stems from the statue at the top of the terrace, a replica of an original statue of a nude, sexless figure known simply as the Leper King.

Scholars aren’t sure who he was, though legend tells of at least two kings of Angkor having leprosy. Another theory states that the statue isn’t a king at all, but the Hindu god of death, Yama, and that the nickname came from the lichen discoloring the statue’s surface. The original statue of the Leper King sits in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

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