Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Angkor Wat - Part 1

Angkor Wat. If this isn't one of the 7 wonders of the world, it sure should be. A truly amazing complex to experience, and although we barely scratched the surface today, something that must not be missed on any trip to Cambodia. A thousand years of living history around you and under your feet. We have more temples to explore over the coming days, but it's hard to imagine anything topping this.

The words above are what I wrote on social media after spending the day exploring Angkor Wat, I kept the photos to 10, as per Instagrams post limit, but for the blog, I'm going to make it into two posts and hopefully the captions will explain a bit more of what we saw during the day.

The five Griswalds, Ken, Mel, Mikah, Lori and myself, Phil, on the main entry terrace to Angkor Wat. This is about where the enormity of what you are about to experience starts to hit you. According to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the largest religous structure in the world.

The Naga (multi headed snake) and the lion are both protective elements used in a lot of stone work in Cambodia. The Naga is symbolic in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology as a guardian and also a sign of peace and prosperity, while the lions are the symbolic protectors of the Khmer kings. The lion seen here has been left unrestored, despite being one of the first statues that most visitors to Angkor Wat encounter and contrasts with the restored Naga beside it. As seen here, a lot of the statues had their heads removed by theives in the post Khmer Rouge period.

Our Angkor temple guide Kea Simon and Ken. Simon was a huge help to us over our three days in the Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes not only Angkor Wat, but a number of other temples around Siem Reap. We had a three day pass and Simon accompanied us on all three days.

Angkor Wat is well known for it's reflection photos, here's Mel grabbing one such shot across the moat surrounding the temple complex. To the left of shot is the Rainbow Bridge, the main entrance to Angkor Wat, which is currently closed for renovations, so we used a temporary floating bridge that is out of shot to the right.

This part of Angkor Wat is very popular with locals and tourists alike. It seemed more locals knew about it than tourists when we were there, so thanks to Simon for detouring us from the path all the other tourists were following to see it.

Myself, Lori and Mikah also getting that framed shot of Angkor Wat in the background.

There are so many amazing facets to these ancient temples. The detail in the columns and the walls is mind blowing, and then you look up at the ceilings and realise that they are works of art as well.

Lori and myself on the causeway leading to the central part of Angkor Wat.

Mel and Ken at the entrance to the Southern library of Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th Century, the texts are long since gone, but the buildings are quite well preserved.

Lori, Mikah and myself, also at the entrance to the Southern library of Angkor Wat. The famous reflecting pools are just the other side of the two libraries.

The next post will cover the inner part of Angkor Wat, past the libraries and reflecting pools and all the way up to the uppermost gallery that surrounds the central tower, the highest accessible point of Angkor Wat.

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