Slickdrums Chronicles

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Getting Intimate With The Angkor Temples! Pt. 1

We decided that we would visit the temples the following day (the day after we arrived) since we wanted to avoid the hot afternoon (I’ve read & heard that the weather was pretty hot). So that night, we booked the hotel’s tour services (car with driver + English tour guide) for the next day.

if you don’t mind a little inconvenience, you could save money by booking your own car (with driver) & getting a tour guide from the tourism office in town by yourself. This was some cost cutting advice from a driver (when we were having a drink one hot afternoon in Sisophon). The internet is readily available with lots of information on these services.

Angkor Wat

So, on Sunday, we started off at 8am. The driver & tour guide were already waiting for us. The guide, Mony, could speak English well enough. Since we were only planning a 1 day tour, Mony proposed to visit Angkor Wat first (the best well preserved temple of them all), then Angkor Thom and other smaller temples (opposite of the usual tour circuit), which suited us fine.

We were driven to the South Entrance of Angkor Wat where Mony assured us that not many tourist would be at. True enough, there were but only a few people with guides there. It was nice & quiet, without the throng of people about.

South Entrance of Angkor Wat The South Entrance of Angkor Wat from the outside

Angkor Wat is a structure that was initially built in the 12th century as a temple to the Hindu God Vishnu by the King Suryavarman II.  It was later converted as a Buddhist temple by King Srindravarman in the late 13 century.

Walls made of Lava stones Walls along the gate entrances made of Lava stones

Facing South Entrance from inside Me & Irene facing the South Entrance from inside

After walking through the South Entrance, we had to walk on a paved road (only done a few years back) towards the main structure of Angkor Wat.

The long road ahead The road to the main structure of Angkor Wat

The main building of Angkor Wat The splendid architecture of Angkor Wat!

At the end of the road, we saw the awesome main structure of Angkor Wat. Surrounding the main architecture was courtyard wall with a balustrade in the form of snake bodies surrounding the area. The heads were all broken over the years, but you could still see some resemblance.

Entering the 1st Level grounds, we walked past the restoration being done on a section of the 2nd Level by the French team, and walked up to the 2nd level. The natural stone steps were replaced with wooden steps due to degradation.

Going up to the 2nd Level Mony leading us up along the wooden staircase to the 2nd level

From inside the 2nd level chamber Peering through the window of the 2nd Level chamber

The 2nd Level is a chamber surrounding the 3rd Level grounds. Along part of the chamber, we saw some small old Buddha statues, some without hands or heads. One was a complete new statue commissioned by the Government.

Grounds at 3rd Level  Corner pillar & chamber of 2nd Level & grounds surrounding the 3rd Level structure

The third level is the central temple area where the staircases are made steep, suppose to illustrate the difficulty in meeting their gods. However, the staircase for the King is made less steep as he supposed to be a demi-god (or just the fact that he’s king, and that’s that!).

The 3rd Level Main Temple The incredible size of the 3rd Level main temple

 

Coming up next – More of Angkor Wat in Getting Intimate With The Angkor Temples! Pt.2

2 comments:

Nov 24, 2009, 4:59:00 PM samuel tan said...

The last picture shows how 'small' you are :)

Nov 24, 2009, 5:21:00 PM Slickdrums said...

Yeah, it is such a contrast!! I only realized after I saw the pic.. couldn't even find myself.. was too small :-)

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