Aligned due north from the centre of Bayon to the Terraee of the Leper King, the 300m (100oft) long Elephant Terrace is a viewing platform from where the king and his retinue would view military parades and preside over other public functions of the state. Zhou Daguan observed at the end of the 13th century that the king would appear daily on the terrace where, framed by a golden window, he would listen to complaints and dispense justice.
The terrace today appears as an open stone platform but would originally have supported substantial wooden pavilions as illustrated in the virtual reconstruction on the facing page. Early restoration of the surface of the terrace uncovered large postholes for these pavilions indicating both orientation and scale.
The principal scene carved into the terrace is of elephants hunting under the guidance of their mahouts. They dominate the jungle and charge through the foliage using their trunks to fight off tigers that appear to leap out from behind the trees. Elsewhere they can be seen grabbing a cow or holding a man upside down. Another scene shows elephants decked out for a royal procession led by the king, and attended by his court.