Siem Reap temples
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 202 of 206 › view all entries
We left at 8am this morning, eschewing a sunrise start. We started first at Pre Rup, an unfinished temple that was abandoned following a bad omen. It was a slightly scary climb to the top, but after yesterdays practice scaling temples I was as sprightly and deft as an antelope, with the grace of a female elephant(!). According to Richard this is a great compliment in Hinduism...hmmm...
We were then surprised but pleased to be treated to a long, breezy drive through the Cambodian countryside to a far-flung temple called Banteay Srei.
From here we drove to nearby
From here onto Banteay Samre where we sat for some time in the shady entrance merely working up the will to step out into the hot sunshine. It seemed to be a popular place and we chattered lazily with passers-by. The ruin itself has towers of temple rooms dotted within the temple walls, but raised about 2 metres above the ground and joined by raised walkways. This suggests that the 2 metre space to the ground would have been filled with water, and may still be during the wet season here. It would have been very beautiful to walk between these with the reflection of the sky and stone in the water; it surely must have felt very holy and very peaceful. It would have been great to have a dip here too! Like a magnificent Roman bath, but better, cos it's
And then onto Preah Neak Pean which is a reservoir Baray. A tower sits in the centre of a square basin (that would have held water that fed the Preah Kahn river) with 4 smaller square basins (also of water) on each side, each with a statue. This was decorated with the symbolism from a story describing the source of a giant river that flows from the mouth of a horse, a lion, a snake and something else. By now we were seriously flagging, and we were grateful to reach our final temple, Preah Kahn. This was sort of similar to Ta Prohm in size and complexity; it seemed to go on and on and on, and I could only muster the strength to be interested in the unique diagonal supports and construction, and the odd second storey ruin on the eastern corner for which there is no evidence of stairs, and which looks more Grecian than Cambodian. We just about mustered enough humour and energy to court the wrath of the Gods by playing with the temple linga and yoni. Richard says I would be jailed in
Finally we made our way back to the tuk-tuk and enjoyed a lovely drive back through Angkor Thom and past Bayon, and then past Angkor Wat - all my favourite temples. Again we swung past my hotel first to grab swimming stuff, had another lovely swim and a lassi in the pool and then got ready and headed out to Siem Reap town. Seeing as we hadn't yet explored Siem Reap town proper and yet presumed to talk about how wonderful the city was, we thought we should actually go down to the south part of town. Here we had dinner at Traditional Khymer Food restaurant on '
After so much sight-seeing in so many cities I truly expected Siem Reap to be 'just another city' with 'just another bunch of temples'. How wrong I was. Now I understand that Siem Reap is truly one of the Great Wonders of the World, and although not all the temples have the awe-inspiring splendour of the main Wats, many are truly magnificent for other reasons. All are unique in different ways, and it is impossible to walk around them and not wonder who walked here and why? What did they look like? What did the temple look like when it was built? If the sheer grandeur and magnificence still has the power to shock and awe, then what a sight must it have been when it was complete?
Not only this, but as my last stop before I volunteer for a month in