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The Layout of the City

This city has an area of about 20 (square) li’s surrounded with walls. There are five gates, two facing East, and the rest are facing the other three cardinal directions. Outside the city walls, there are large man-made moats surrounding all sides. Across the moats, there are stone bridges, or causeways for people to cross into the city. The causeway’s rails were carved of solid stone representing nine-headed serpents. Along the rails on either side of the causeways were 54 stone statues of deities whose hands were holding onto the 9-headed serpents as if to prevent them from escaping. The design of all five gates looks similar.

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On top of the city gates, five gigantic statues of Buddha’s heads are grouped together. Four of the statues were set to face the four cardinal points of the compass. The fifth, which was decorated with gold, stood in the middle. On either side of the city gate, there are also statues of elephants.

The city walls were built of stone blocks stacking neatly on top of one another. The height of the walls is about 12 or 15 feet. On top of the walls there are no grasses. However, some sugar palms were planted along the battlements. On the inside part of the city walls adjacent to each side of the city gates, there were smooth earthen inclines which were built to reach the top of the walls. Each city gate has huge doors which would be closed off at night and opened during daytime. There are always sentries standing on guard at the doors. Dogs are not allowed through those doors. Neither are convicted felons whose toes had been amputated. The walls surrounding the city form a perfect square. On each corner of the walls, there stands a tall tower.

In the middle of the city, there is a golden temple. Around the facility where that temple stands, there are more than 20 other temples with hundreds of chambers. To the east, there is a golden bridge with two statues of golden lions standing on each side. Inside the golden temple, there are 8 golden statues of Buddhas standing under the central tower. To the north of the golden temple about 1 li, there is a bronze temple whose height is even taller than the golden temple. Inside the bronze temple, there are about 10 chambers. Going northward from the bronze temple for about 1 li, we would see the King’s palace. Inside the palace’s compound, there is another golden temple. It is perhaps those golden temples that many foreign merchants who had visited Chenla often spoke of it as a rich and prosperous country.

Outside the city walls about 3A of a li from the southern gate, I heard a rumor that there is a mausoleum (Luboun) which was built in a single night. That mausoleum has a perimeter of about 10 lis and has hundreds of rooms. Near a reservoir to the east of the city about 10 lis, there is another temple with a perimeter of about 100 lis. Inside that temple, there is a bronze statue of reclining Buddha from whose navel flows a steady stream of water emptying into a pond located on the northern edge of the temple. To the north of the city’s premise about 5 lis, there is another square-shape golden temple which also has hundreds of chambers. Inside that temple, there are gold statues of Buddha, lion, elephant, oxen, horse, and numerous other objects made of bronze.

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