Angkor , Siem Reap, Cambodia
Pre Rup Siem Reap Reviews
An Altar to the afterworld. Mar 30, 2013
Siem reap with the awesome temples,attractions,sites and the architecture behind it,was fascinating.The stories about their kings, people,culture and habits was another interesting feature to this colorful mosaic.
Today I was going to see a temple Mortuary where the royalty were cremated and their ashes,ceremoniously raised,held high in the hands of the high priest,standing on the highest terrace,and shown towards different directions,to the chant of prayers before being laid to rest,buried below a deity in one of the towers and sealed for the rest of time.This ritual was done in the presence of the grieving people assembled below the three tier temple which tiers symbolised heaven, earth and the underworld.Each terrace with about seven towers symbolising the seven worlds or major planets,were guarded by Sculpted lions in all corners of the terraces and stairs leading to the uppermost central tower.
It sounded very interesting and I was all charged up to imagine the situation from the very grounds where the history of mighty kings,their ashes,people and culture had outlived centuries even after all these years of oblivion.
As the Tuk Tuk slowly ambled its way to the parking lot I could see the temple mount built of brick, laterite and sandstone,its broken down towers,still standing tall over a mount or hill overlooking vast open space and quite contrary to the layout of the other sites in Angkor which were all surrounded by a moat. Getting down and looking up at the temple the view was awe inspiring and truly surrounded by an aura of greatness.I realised what was told to me was only a little of what this majestic site really was.Over hearing many guides and tourist banter I was spell bound by the architecture and placement of towers in the terraces,steep steps in the stairways and the sculpted lions guarding them.The seven headed serpent held by the devas and asuras was not seen anywhere and so where the sculptures of elephants.This was one more distinct feature about this temple from the rest in Angkor.Climbing up and strolling around I lived every majestic view the mortuary Temple offered as I reached the top terrace and gazed down below to become spellbound.I closed my eyes and opened my ears to imagine the continuous chant of Hindu religious mantras,the cries and wailing of the people from below ground and gasped for breath.Opening my mind I understood that this place was truly the height of a civilized culture which believed in an after world in union with its God and this very sacred mortuary was the holy altar from where turning into ashes man traveled to his God into the after world.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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