Angkor- day 1

by Rain April. 01, 2008 2187 views

I started out early today, as I wanted to pack in as much as I can. So today included a sunrise, a mini tour, and a sunset.

The sunrise at Angkor Wat (the most famous temple you see on every poster of Cambodia, and also on their flag), was a bummer as it was a cloudy day and I didn't get to see much.

Angkor Wat was smaller and less grandeur than I expected. Although the moat around the complex was quite beautiful as it has not dried up like the rest of the water structures in the Angkor area.

I visited Angkor Thom next, the second important sight to see. It is actually a huge complex with small individual temple complex with in. Like temple within temple.

The Byron was notorius for its eerie faces, and I do love their smiling fat lips and closed eye-lids. I wondered around the rest of Angkor Thom for hours, examinating each carefully, only to find there are just too much details to take in. In the end, I agreed to relex and just take in the views as I go.

I had loved the fact that some of them seemed like mazes,with walls that you can walk in meander. But, frankly, the temples are like mazes in a way, with smaller structures placed carefully like checker pieces, in the incredible heavenly symatric designs.

Next, I vistited Ta Prohm, the famous Tomb Raider temple, and even the guide book had mapped the “Tomb Raider Tree” in the complex. It was certainly amazing to see the jungle-covered temple, not only overhead, but right on top. You see trees somehow growing right on top of the stone structures, and their strong roots penertrating in and out of the stones. Amazing!

The last spot of the day was a temple on a small hill, which almost all the tourist were brought here to see the sunset. I made friends with two Candian girls, and made a plan for tomorrow, so we can share the expense. They seemed really nice, and they are English teachers like me.

Last thought of the day:
I got really upset to see the elephants (some looked like babies) were carring people up the hills. I saw some of these “noble animals” carrying tourist earlier, and as they pass right in front of me, I could see their cracked and wrickled skin. Their trumps dipping and dragging on the ground as if helping them to walk. The Cambodians weren't exacting too cruel to the elephants(except the fact of allowing elephant rides), as I have heard elsewhere when they used lashes to herd them. And so, far I've only known elephant rides at Angkor Wat, and I suppose it is an re-inactment of the ancient days to ride into the temple gate by elephants, as they were indeed the transportation for people and for carrying the building stones. But, still, it doesn't not justify the action.

starting out for the day, tourists wondering at the Angkor Wat complex ground, waiting for the sun to rise over the ancient ruin

a cloudy day it was, and my camera did its best to capture the soft light casted on top of the famous temple

a lonely temple stood near the South Gate of Angkor Thom, here I had conquered my first climb

inside the temples, rocks varied from all sizes came crumbling down in time and laid on top of each other

sandstone bared a greyish color, while the less strong rock shows redish tone; moss and other forces of nature had to imprinted the passing of the time on these ancient structures

the stairs are mostly close to a perpendicular angle, making the ascent seem to be climbing instead of walking to the top

improvisions had been added for the convenience as well as for the safety

some areas are still dangerous due to the collapsing of the structures

but it's definitely worth to see these magnificant stone carvings up-close

sponsored restorations are happening at every temple complex, with team efforts to preserve the beauty and the brilliance of this ancient civillization

some works considered the reconstructure of the inner foundations, as water had eroded the stones, hence making the structures weak and dangerous

here in the picture, the lighter stone carvings are reconstructed to preserve the art

rain water had eaten way the carvings

efforts are made to preserve the outer appearances

female dancers, Asparas, commonly depicted

there are many “windows” with pilliars depicted on the walls of the temples; this one in particular has a “curtain” drawn down…isn't it cute?!

Khmar (ka-mer) script on a pilliar with Aspara, again, illustrated at the bottom

Khmar is to describe the language, art and culture of Cambodia, it is often used interchangbly with “Cambodian”

Buddha statues visited by the local worshippers

A nude, sexless statue sitting on top of the Terrace of the Leper King in the fortified city of Angkor Thom (Great Angkor, or Great City)

statues on the each side of the path leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom

these fat-lipped statues remained my favorite

notarious Bayon, can you find the eerie faces hiden in the stone?

here's an example of a Bayon face

look at the collapsing doorway

my favorite, maze!

well, it's not exactly a maze. it's a second hidden terrace at the Terrace of the Leper King. The terrace within a terrace effect allowed people to walk in between the walls at the bottom

part of this structure had collapsed into heaps of stones

the roof and walls of this corridor is in danger of collapsing

i love using other tourists as a scale in my photos

a ha, here we are at the famous Tomb Raider temple, Ta Prohm

this complex had been invaded by the forces of nature

the weight of the giant roots!

a temple swallowed by the jungle

man had made these stone temples and the nature is now coming back to destroy them

elephant ride

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