Angkor Temples

Today, I was able to visit four of the main temples within the Angkor Archaeological Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the remains of the Khmer Empire from the period of the 9th to 15th centuries. The temples that I visited were Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm.

DSC00849
Standing in front of Angkor Wat

I travelled in style in a Cambodian Rolls Royce – Mr. Rock’s tuk-tuk. I was also accompanied by a professional guide, Mr. San Park, who shared his knowledge about the sites and pointed out features that I wouldn’t have seen if I had attended alone.

DSC01035
Mr. Rock and his Rolls Royce

DSC01034

DSC01033
My guide – San Park

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest monument in the Angkor group and the best preserved. It was built around the first half of the 12th century and is listed as one of the wonders of the world. It has been called one of the best monuments in the world.

DSC00856
Carvings of Aspara – Hindu celestial dancers
DSC00865
More celestial dancers
DSC00869
Angkor Wat

DSC00874

DSC00877

DSC00880
One of the long galleries with bas-relief carvings along the entire length

DSC00886

 

 

Bayon

The Bayon Temple is within Angkor Thom and was built around 1190. Bayon is a Buddhist temple but incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology.

Bayon is known for its huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image, thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavarman himself, has been dubbed by some the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia.” There are 51 smaller towers surrounding Bayon, each with four faces of its own.

DSC00892
Elephant rides outside Bayon
DSC00893
The Bayon Temple
DSC00896
Aspara – dancing on lotus flowers

DSC00900

DSC00911
Smiling faces of Bayon

DSC00919

DSC00922

DSC00925

DSC00926

DSC00933

DSC00942

DSC00945

DSC00947
Parting shot of the Bayon Temple

 

Preah Khan

Preah Khan was built around 1191 during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.  Preah Khan was more than just a monastery—it was an entire city enclosing an area of 56 hectares. About 100,000 farmers produced rice to feed about 15,000 monks, teachers, and students. The central Buddhist temple at Preah Khan included an image of the Boddhisattva Lokeshrvara, carved to resemble the King’s father. There were 282 sub-deities around the main statue, including Khmer heroes and deceased officials.

DSC00949
The causeway to the temple crosses a moat

DSC00952

DSC00954

DSC00955

DSC00957

DSC00960

DSC00971
This structure has round columns whereas most have square
DSC00974
A tree is taking over the structure (one tree was just down for safety reasons)

DSC00976

DSC00982

DSC00987.jpg

 

After visiting three temples, it was time for lunch. We stopped at a restaurant the claims to sell authentic Cambodian food.

DSC00990
Inside the restaurant
DSC00996
My view during lunch
DSC00992
Cha Khatna Sach Ko – Beef with kale and spring onion (according to the menu)
DSC00993
Samla Mchou Ktis – Khmer soup with chicken in coconut milk with tamarind, pineapple, lemon grass and onion

 

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm was built about mid-12th century to early 13th century (1186) by the King Jayavarman VII, dedicated to the mother of the king.

Ta Prohm is among the largest of the monuments in the Angkor complex, with the Sanskrit inscriptions giving an idea of the size of the temple. The complex included 260 statues of gods, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 groups of residences.

It is known now for the trees that have taken over some of the buildings. It is perhaps best known as the filming location for Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movie.

DSC00998
A large tree has claimed one of the buildings

DSC01003

DSC01013

DSC01022

DSC01025
The stegosaurus dinosaur carved into the temple

DSC01029

DSC01030

 

The above four temples are all within easy reach of Siem Reap by tuk-tuk and so tend to be the most visited (and crowded).

Tomorrow, we start the motorcycle riding and will visit a couple of temples that are harder to reach.

 

1 Comment

  1. A fabulous place to visit, Craig. I was there just over a year ago and was very impressed with the scale and age of the temples – and also that people could still walk around unhindered.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s