Photo Gallery & Impressions 27 - Cambodia - Day 2 PM

Angkor Wat (Cambodia's national symbol)  

The famous Angkor Wat is the largest monument in the Angkor group; it is about 500 acres in total size and dates from the 1113-50 time period.  It is sometimes listed as one of the "Wonders of the World," but that gets complicated with many different "lists" starting with the Greeks around the 2nd century BC.  Historians often disagree as to what sites should be placed on which list, but Angkor Wat often appears on lists of "Forgotten Wonders" or "Modern Wonders" of the world.  In 1992, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declared the monument, and the whole city of Angkor, a World Heritage Site.  We took about 120 photos in this temple complex; we selected just 17 to present here.  While maybe seeming trite, we must agree with our tour book author who states, "Even though Angkor Wat is the most photographed Khmer monument, nothing approaches the actual experience of seeing this temple."

(The backgrounds for our Cambodia photo albums are from the Angkor Wat bas-reliefs.)

We start the afternoon tour of Angkor Wat by crossing the long stone causeway across the wide moat. Restoration work is underway on the causeway & the bank near the distant "entry tower" complex

After going through the entry tower, we are inside the huge outer laterite wall. On the walkway toward the main temple, seen here in the background, Sopheak takes this great photo to document this special time.

Approaching here from the northwest we can see 4 of the 5 prominent towers that are said to represent the peaks of Mount Meru of the cosmic world. We will enter the outer covered gallery at this corner. 

Of the several architectural levels of this temple, the first features galleries depicting stories, myths and legends important to the ancient Khmer culture.

Peg studies details of this carving as they are being explained by Sopheak, a vast fund of information about the symbolism and significance of the figures. These carvings are 7 feet top to bottom.

These bas-relief galleries cover 12,900 square feet around the entire perimeter & depict Indian epics, sacred myths & battle scenes of Hindu legend including the Ramayana.  

After climbing the stairway to this 2nd terrace, Peg is then faced with an additional climb up the steep, worn steps to the next level, the third & top level.

The dizzying view from this level reveals another world.  A monk goes about his business reminding us that this once Hindu structure, in time became a Buddhist temple. (circa 16th century)

At the uppermost level, the platform supports the 5 towers, the tallest as tall as the cathedral of Notre Dame.  The tall middle & 4 corner towers form the most prominent features of Angkor Wat.

At this height, Keith wonders why this particular column is round while most others are square. We are now 131 feet above the 2nd level.

This large upper level has covered galleries & 4 paved open courts.  Historically, only the king and high priest was allowed at this level.

There was a compelling desire to simply contemplate the elegant massiveness & the humbling grandeur of this place.

Now back to reality & the 70 degree angle of the narrow steps leading down. They say no one has fallen..?

Because of the descending sun and consequent light change, Sopheak wanted to take this photo looking up from the 2nd level.

Keith tries to capture the sun on the upper towers in this slant of light while other tourists watch the late afternoon sun.

This parting shot captures the five towers as well as the reflection under a gray sky ... and we reflect that we were up inside this massive structure just a few minutes previously.  

And one more parting photo of Sopheak & Peg on the walkway with the much photographed Angkor temple changing its color from gray to brown tones as the sun sinks.

As part of the tour, we capped off this special day with a fine meal at Jasmine Angkor Restaurant, followed by a traditional Cambodian dance performance - concluding with photo ops for the many tourists.

Day 1       Day 2 AM      Day 2 PM       Day 3 AM       Day 3 PM       Trans. Sampler

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