The Dragon's Mirror: The Magic of Angkor Wat III

Part 3

Decorative elements -

Perfectly integrated with the architecture of the buildings, and one of the main causes of its fame is the extensive decoration of Angkor Wat, predominantly in the form of bas-reliefs. The inner walls of the outer gallery have a series of scenes describing epic Hindu episodes taken from the sacred texts of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Higham called these decorations "the largest known linear arrangement of stone sculpture."
Lanka (from Ramayana, where Rama defeats Ravana) and the Battle of Kurukshetra (from the Mahabharata, which shows the mutual destruction of the Kaurava and Pandava clans) are depicted in astonishing details.

The southern side of the gallery features the only historical scene, a procession of Suryavarman II, followed by the 32 hells and 37 paradises of Hindu mythology.
The eastern gallery shows one of the most famous scenes, "The Churning of the Ocean of Milk", in which 92 Asuras and 88 Devas use the snake Vasuki to shake the sea under the direction of Vishnu, with his turtle-avatar Kurma at the bottom and Apsaras and Indra above him (Mannika counts only 91 Asuras, and explains the asymmetry of the numbers as a representation of the days between the winter solstice and the spring equinox , and from the equinox to the summer solstice).