Temples of Angkor

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It's one of the most beautiful complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia. The temples of Angkor, in Cambodia, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. There are more than 100 stone temples in all. Angkor Wat honours the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology, consisting of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mt. Meru, its five inter-nested rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean. Then I can suggest the smiling Bayon, this is one of the most popular spots and, facing east, it is mostly visited in the morning. A good reason to visit in the afternoon! All those friendly faces of Avalokiteshvara certainly make you feel good.

It’s one of the most beautiful complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia. The temples of Angkor, in Cambodia, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. There are more than 100 stone temples in all. Angkor Wat honours the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology, consisting of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mt. Meru, its five inter-nested rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean. Then I can suggest the smiling Bayon, this is one of the most popular spots and, facing east, it is mostly visited in the morning. A good reason to visit in the afternoon! All those friendly faces of Avalokiteshvara certainly make you feel good.

Ta Prohm has been left as it was found, preserved as an example of what a tropical forest will do to an architectural monument when the protective hands of humans are withdrawn. Ta Prohm’s walls, roofs, chambers and courtyards have been sufficiently repaired to stop further deterioration, and the inner sanctuary has been cleared of bushes and thick undergrowth, but the temple has been left in the stranglehold of trees. Anyway watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat is a thing that everybody has to do before his days are over. Imagine the slow rising of the Sun, silhouetting the five towers of the central sanctuary, it bathed the enclosure wall behind me in an intense golden light, highlighting some of the 2,000 intricate stone carvings of apsaras and devatas that decorate the walls and niches of the temple (above). I changed position to photograph the rising sun from different angles but words can never do justice to the whole experience. To see the sunrise you have to wake up very early and maybe fix a tuc tuc, the day before in Siem Reap, with one of the many scary drivers. Tuc Tuc it’s the cheapest way to visit Angkor especially if you want to visit the temples alone or with your friends escaping from “tourism”, but pay attention fix the price and the plan of the day before.

You can also go by bike if you like but the area it’s very big and if the day is hot you can have problems. Here comes the bad news, there are two kind of tickets and they can be heavy on a backpacker’s budget at $20 for 1 day, $40 for 3 days. Controls are regular at the entrance of the main temples and you also have to show the ticket before accessing the area and signs will remind you everywhere that you must have a ticket. So, in conclusion: buy the ticket and visit Angkor with a clear mind. You should realize really soon that it is a very good bargain anyway. So say wow, get up, get down, get in, get out, get around and around again, loosing the notion of time, examine the infinite beauty of Angkor Wat or Bayon, don’t get up too early for a disappointing sunrise (best time from December to February), smile back at Avalokiteshvara faces, pay attention to the big red ants which get lost in your shoes, boycott pushy salespersons, don’t ride an elephant to Bayon, enjoy sunset and sunrise, don’t visit a temple during peak tourist hour, pay attention to the heat or afternoon shower in low season, the crowd in high season, bring enough photo film and Lomobombing….

written by -a-l-b-e-r-t-o- on 2008-04-27 in #world #locations

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