Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Cambodia Travel Blog› entry 33 of 80 › view all entries
I took over 4G's of photos from the day I spent here at the ruins.
There are a whole bunch of temples at Angkor, way more than just the Wat. Though obviously the Wat is the most famous, and I've noticed that a lot of people refer to all the different temples here as just Angkor Wat in general. Not really that fair to the other ones that have their own names, you know? I visited about six of the temples in-depth, and a few others I just stopped briefly at and looked at from the Tuk-Tuk. There were also a lot of gorgeous old stone gates, adorned with huge intricate stone carvings that we passed along the way.
Very briefly here are the basics on the different temples so you know what you are looking at in the pics:
Angkor Wat - Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at Angkor, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre- first Hindu, then Buddhist- since its foundation. The temple is the epitome 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 drawn by its architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and the numerous aspara dancers adorning its walls.
Ta Phrom - I could say a lot here, but really I just need to say that this is the temple where Angelina Jolie shot Tomb Raider. 'Nuff said, right? The jungle trees taking over the site, huge glistening roots, and crumbling walls don't disappoint. I particularly counted myself lucky to see this temple in monsoon season, because the bright (almost fluorescent) green moss growing everywhere was just stunning; and the whole place smelled of moist green moss on cool old stones. Otherworldly. The tree roots have an iridescent quality to the bark that make them glitter in the sunlight.
Angkor Thom: Thom isn't one temple but a collection of temples all together in one are walled in with four beautiful stone gates. Thom was the urban center of the Angkor empire. Bayon is the centerpiece of Angkor Thom.
Bayon - Doesn't look like much from a distance, but once you get an inside you're treated to an endless variety of angles and compositions of the 216 heads carved into the stone. A photographers dream.
Terrace of the Leper King - Elephants (1190-1210) Not a whole lot is known about this temple. I couldn't really find that much on it, it was just to the north of the terrace of the Elephants.
Royal Palace - Major construction was undertaken at Angkor Thom's Royal Palace under the reigns of King Jayavarman VII and his immediate successors.
Phnom Bakheng - It's the temple on the top of the hill, and billed as the best spot to see the sunset over the Cambodian countryside. It was late afternoon when we got here, and the daily monsoon rain was just kicking in when my guide and I started climbing. It was full on pouring when we got to the top, we were completely drenched and laughing deliriously. We could have turned around, but what the hell. The climb up the (crazy-OMG-are you kidding me?!?!) steep temple was something I'm really glad I didn't know about before I agreed to climb this hill. The expansive landscape view from the top did provide some spectacular views, despite the rain. =)
I didn't always get the info just right from my guide while we were on site, and it was really helpful to do a little research on my own so I knew what I was looking/had looked at. Next stop Laos.........