Friday, August 21, 2009

Cambodia Part 2: Inside Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

The land area occupied by the main Angkor Wat temple measures 1,300 meters north-south, and 1,500 meters east-west. The whole area of Angkor however, which includes other equally ancient and beautiful temples like Bayon, is much, much larger. Here, I have posted pictures and information of only the main temple, which is Angkor Wat. I will talk about Bayon and other surrounding temples in my other subsequent post later on.

A person entering the main Angkor Wat temple first approaches an entrance causeway that takes him or her across the 200 meter wide moat. On the opposite shore is an entrance pavilion measuring 230 meters north-south. Its central bays have three passages that elephants could fit through for royal processions. Past the entrance gate is a long causeway that runs for over 300 meters, decorated with mythical dragon or naga. The actual temple sits on a sandstone plinth a meter above the ground.

This is the 300 meters long causeway.

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This is the compound around the long causeway and part of the temple exterior.

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Locals and tourists
thronging along the 300 meters long causeway coming into the main temple.

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Views through the carved stone balustrades that surround the perimeters of the temple.

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This is one of the 'libraries' on the west side.
The steps are really steep. Easy to get up, but like me, you'll probably tremble trying to get down.

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To the east of the west gate of the first enclosure is a series of four rooms arranged in a cruciform. Each room is surrounded by a continuous gallery and has a sunken floor where ponds used to be. This is one of the rooms in the western cruciform.

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Spectacular stone masonry carved in place can be found all around the walls of a
continuous gallery that runs along the outside face of the temple wall.

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The inner face is decorated with 700 meters of continuous bas reliefs of "Apsaras" or heavenly nymphs or female spirits of the clouds and waters in Hindu mythology. "Apsaras" are believed to have supernatural powers, of great beauty and elegance and who are proficient in the art of dancing. "Apsaras" remain an integral part of Cambodian civilization.

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Hope you have enjoyed the journey into Angkor Wat. Look out for more on Bayon, Ta Phrom and other sides of Cambodia in my future posts.


Mary said...

Your photos are amazing. You've created a marvelous travel journal for yourself and others to enjoy.

tohar said...

wow, great photos
in indonesia, we named tample as 'candi', like candi borobudur, candi mendut, have you ever visit indonesia?

petite nyonya said...

Hi *Mary*, thank you for visiting this travel blog of mine. This journal helps keep my memories of my travels 'fresh' :D

Hi *tohar*, thanks for visiting too. I haven't been to Borobudur although I would like to someday. It's rich with history.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Brings back memories of our visit to Siem Reap too. It's true, just to pen a few lines help to keep memories alive before it fades one day.