Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Angkor Wat - Part 2

Angkor Wat was our first temple visit in Cambodia, it's the largest religious monument in the world and something truly amazing to see. My previous post covered the walk from the carpark to the outer Libraries, while this post covers the remaining part of the journey to the innermost and uppermost parts of this amazing place. Along the way we were accomanied by our driver, guide and mate, Sophorn and our Angkor guide Kea Simon.

The Griswalds, Phil, Lori, Mikah, Mel and Ken, in front of the southern reflecting pool of Angkor Wat. These pools are normally a lot fuller than this, and are a very popular spot to shoot the sunrise over Angkor Wat. We decided to avoid that, as we preferred to go when there were less tourists around, not more.

The entrance to the western gallery of Angkor Wat, on the right of the shot you can see a bullet hole left behind after a shoot out between Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese forces as the Vietnamese pushed the Khmer Rouge west towards the Thai border.

Three Apsara depicted dancing on the walls of the western gallery of Angkor Wat.

The northwest corner of the five central towers of Angkor Wat, symbolizing the five peaked Mount Meru, mythical home of the gods in both Buddhist and Hindu lore.

The view from the upper gallery of Angkor Wat, looking out over the western gallery, down the Terrace of Honor that leads between the North and South Libraries to the horizon. This upper level is the most revered portion of Angkor Wat, where dress standards are more strictly enforced. This is where you will need your shoulders and knees covered and your head uncovered.

The central sanctuary tower of Angkor Wat, this is one the sun rises over on the Equinox.

Cambodia is still a deeply religious country and you will come across monks anywhere, all wearing those beautiful bright orange robes. I personally just love this shot, this part of Angkor Wat is quieter, harder to get to and a great spot for reflection, we all took time to take in the enormity of this site and it's history.

Mel, Mikah and Lori after climbing back down from the upper gallery at Angkor Wat. There are some pretty steep climbs in these temples, even after they've had new steps installed over the top to protect the originals and make them a little easier for tourists and pilgrims to climb. Here Mikah's having a little giggle and wondering if I'm going to trip myself up scooting backwards across the lava stone floor.

A passage way at Angkor Wat, with Sanskrit writing carved into the columns.

The five central sanctuary towers of Angkor Wat, seen from the north east. In the foreground is the northern of two reflecting pools, maintenance crews are taking advantage of the lower water levels at this time to perform some upkeep on the pools.

And that's a wrap for Angkor Wat this time around for us, this was our first visit, and I'm sure we will be back again. Like many of the great wonders of the world, this place draws you back to explore it more. Over several hundred metres of intricately carved walls telling epic tales from Hindu mythology and so much more detail we barely discovered deserve another look.

For now, however, Sophorns' air conditioned van awaits.

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