Sunday, January 22, 2012

Angkor Wat Under Wraps


My first impression of Angkor Wat was one of total disappointment. I happened to visit the site when it was undergoing restoration work on the front terrace. I could have cried. But there wasn't much I could do about it. So I concentrated on the other features of the temple and there was much to see and learn.


This is one of the long galleries that wrap around the temple. It faces west with a view of the library and causeway. Behind these columns is a wall decorated with bas reliefs. There are some beautifully carved vignettes like the mother playing with her child. It's best to spend a little more time here with a guide who can point out some of the most interesting bas reliefs and give you background information about them to better appreciate this incredible visual library.


We wound up at the back of the temple where we had a full view of the two rear towers. Ankor Wat, like all other temples in Cambodia, were built up (on a height) to emulate Mount Meru, the legendary home of Hindu deities. Wooden stairs have been added for visitors to climb up to the temple as some of the original ones are partially eroded.


I saved the best for last. I did get a decent photo of Angkor Wat from the front. From this angle, the wraps are nowhere to be seen.


It's best to contact the official tourism office of Cambodia when planning your trip to Siem Reap to check if any of the temples or landmarks you wish to see are open to the public and/or are undergoing restoration.  http://tourismcambodia.org/.

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Images by Charie

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