Preah Khan, Angkor

Seventy-two1 Garudas guard the city wall (fourth enclosure). They are 5m (15') tall and are spaced about 35m (115') apart, all around the enclosure. Made of sandstone, they stand out against the reddish laterite stone of the walls. In the photo, a heavily restored garuda clutches two nagas in his talons.

The empty niches at the top of the wall would, like those on the boundary stones (previous page), originally have held Buddha images.

1Seventy-two is a magic number in Buddhist numerology: 72 = 8x9 = 2 cubed x 3 squared.