Angkor Wat: Pushing sinners to hell in the Heavens and Hells bas-relief

Heavens and Hells bas-relief depicting Yama's guards pushing sinners to hell through a trapdoor

A section of the Heavens and Hells bas-relief depicting Yama’s guards pushing sinners to hell through a trapdoor

Pushing sinners to hell
As the name suggests, the Heavens and Hells bas-relief is about the depiction of heavens and hells as described in ancient Hindu texts called Puranas. This 200 feet long bas-relief is carved on the eastern section of the south gallery located on the perimeter of the lower level of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

It has scenes depicting Yama, the Lord of Justice and Death, conducting proceedings in his court with his assistant Chitragupta – the assessor who keeps the records of good and bad deeds of a human being from birth to death – assessing the records of each soul and sending them to a swarga (heaven) or naraka (hell).

The bas-relief also depicts 37 swargas and 32 narakas in a three-layered layout. The upper layer represents the swargas, middle layer represents the bhoomi (earth), and bottom layer represents the narakas. The narakas are much more descriptive than the swargas. See this image.

This bas-relief is a continuation of Yama’s court. As you can see from the image, the guards in the upper-layer are pushing the sinners to the lower-tier through a trapdoor. The guards in the lower layer, which represents a naraka, are punishing the sinners in a variety of ways.

Heavens and Hells Related Images
Yama’s Court
Pushing Sinners to a Naraka
Three Layers of the Heavens and Hells Bas-Relief
Depiction of a Naraka – Crucifying
Depiction of a Naraka – Beating by Yama’s Guards
Depiction of a Naraka – Stomping by Yama’s Guards

Related Pages
Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei
Phnom Kulen, Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
Bali, Prambanan, Borobudur, Indonesia

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