The Apsara National Authority (ANA) is accelerating its work in order to finish the restoration of Takav Gate so it can become a tourist destination during this year’s high season.

Takav Gate is Angkor Thom's west gate. It had been in disrepair due to age, climate, war and lack of care. The four elephant sculptures at its corners were severely damaged by trees and roots growing from the structure.

In an October 7 statement, the ANA said that the damage was largely at the top of the gate with four Brahma faces and the adjoining structures of the stone gates. Those structures had slipped out of their original position, with some of the stones falling down that required temporary support from cables for over 10 years now.

It said that recently the gate was under increased risk due to the decay caused by the trees, the loose cables and the roots of the trees.

The restoration effort started in February of last year and is now 97 per cent complete.

“Now the gate has been returned to its original beauty, integrity, and aesthetics after nearly two years of restoration,” it said.

“The four Brahma face sculptures of the gate have been restored to their original shapes, with the lips, nose, ears, cheeks and other parts of the faces restored to their original position. The smiles have come back to life and the elephants on all four sides have reappeared, seemingly helping to stabilize the entire gate’s structure,” it added.

The restoration, which is carried out by ANA’s restoration team, is supported by private sector donations from the Heng Development Company.