Long overlooked due to decades of wear and tear wreaking havoc on its façade, Takav Gate is set to be one of the up-and-coming tourist destinations in Siem Reap.
It is one (1) of five (5) gates of Angkor Thom, one of the key temples in the 40,100-hectare Angkor Archeological Park. Found west of Bayon Temple, the 12th-century structure had almost become a ruin due to deterioration stemming from not only age and Cambodia’s warm climate, but also from wars past and the growth of vegetation penetrating various nooks and crannies of the gate.
Thus, in February 2021, the APSARA National Authority delved into the major task of restoring Takav Gate to its former glory. Among its unique features are four (4) elephant structures at its corners, and four (4) carved faces of Brahma or Hindu gods, which had deteriorated in appearance over the years.
APSARA’s Takav Gate restoration team works under the support of the private sector through Heng Development Company. The collective goals is to enhance its value to stand firm as a gate protecting Angkor Thom.
More than just an ancient gateway, Takav is a testament to the culture and history of Angkor. It was built by King Jayavarman VII, who is credited not only with aggressive building systems (e.g. Angkor Thom itself), but also a Buddhistic welfare state dedicated to both the physical and spiritual needs of the people.
Historians surmise that Takav Gate and Bayon Temple had been built simultaneously, as earlier this year Apsara carvings were spotted on the northern wall of the gate bearing similarity to those found on the temple pillars.
Now at 97% completion, the gate now features restored elephant sculptures and Brahma faces with the lips, nose, ears, and other individual features back to their original shape. Restoring the elephant sculptures has also seemed to help stabilize the entire gate structure. Excess soil and vegetation have also been cleared.
At this point, the only remaining tasks are sandstone modification to replace lost or damaged stone, and removal of the scaffolding before it is opened to the public as a fresh Angkor tourism site.