black and white Angkor Wat
After Ta Prohm Temple, we headed to the symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat. The daily pass we purchased before granted us the access Angkor Wat, checked by security certainly. Most people will have heard of the famous Angkor Wat, in fact it is only one of the many buildings of an ancient civilization.
Some background of Angkor Wat,
Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world’s largest religious building.
The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers.
Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls.
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “City Temple”; Angkor is a vernacular form of the word nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara meaning capital or city. Wat is the Khmer word for temple. Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok, after the posthumous title of its founder, Suryavarman II.
innocent kid at the entrance of Angkor Wat
Back to our journey.
Everyone was excited at the entrance of Angkor Wat when we saw Angkor Wat through the windows of the bus. As soon as the bus stopped, we jumped off the bus and rushed to the entrance. Many children approached us and trying to sell us some stuff such as souvenirs, food, books etc.
It was noon and Angkor Wat was so crowded with foreigners and even locals. We would have tens of people blocking the view everywhere we tried take photos. Nevertheless, it was alright for me because I wished to snap photos of unique and interesting people.
From the entrance, there is a long causeway connects to the gate of the temple. I took a long walk over the huge water reservoir and moat surrounding Angkor Wat and reached the gate.
There were a few couples wearing traditional Khmer wedding costumes and had their wedding photos taken with the magnificent background. This is probably a good place for couples to have their wedding albums beautifully done.
There I started to take shots of the interesting people, including wedding couples, and an old man who seemed like a fortune teller, and monks who were not as many as I expected. Then I set my way towards the temple it had take a long walk again from the gate to the main temple. On my way before reaching the doorstep of the main temple, I met many adorable children and again I had their photos captured.
Standing in front of the main temple, whole place just looked amazing. However the weather on the day was not that good. It was windy and some drizzling. The best time to go to Angkor Wat would be dawn when the sun is rising from the back of the temple, and when the weather is fine and calm. In that case, we would probably get a perfect silhouette of Angkor Wat stands against the orangish sky while its reflection is mirrored in similarly beautiful orangish water. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way.
As I continued walking towards the central complex, I found many statues and many of those were headless, due to pillaging and looting. Making my way through the passageway and steps to the central complex, I snapped photos of many wall-carving which are similar to those in Ta Prohm Temple, such as the devatas (minor female deities). Surprisingly many of the bas-reliefs had well stood through the test of time and remained beautiful, despite centuries of wear and tear and invasions from tourists and looters.
After minutes of walk, I found my myself to be at the central complex, where I could see the lotus-like-towers. The steps to the top of the towers are small steps, less than half of my foot, and steep, the height of each step is longer than its tread. I decided to climb up the tower to have a better view of the whole compound, but time was running out. We were given only 45 minutes to tour Angkor Wat which I only had couples of minutes left when I reach the the central complex. I knew it would take some times to walk out the temple and I had leave then.
I took a few last shots of the locals praying there and quickly made my way to the bus. Forty-five minutes would never be enough for Angkor Wat. Not to mention people who want to know every piece of its stories and take wonderful photos. It would be worthy to spend at least 3 days in Siem Reap and visit temples of Angkor numerous times and different times of the day.
locals praying for blessing
Our exploration to Siem Reap was such a short time, half a day to visit the town, Ta Prohm Temple and Angkor Wat. However, we were glad we made it and hope to see the place again. I believe there will be surprises each time we go back.
So there we were, and continued the trip to the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh in a long bus journey. Goodbye, Siem Reap!
Sharing more shots after the click. May all beings be happy.