|Terrace of The Leper King|
Our days in Cambodia would take us to mountain temples and ancient ruins. The reason why they are called mountain temples was simple. They were constructed to resemble mountains! In fact, the highest peak is the sacred Mount Meru which is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes by Buddhists and Hindus. It was no easy feat to "run" from temples to temples, trekking through the ruins and conquering the temples by clambering the steep stairs and reaching the highest points. The killer was always the unforgiving hot and humid weather. During our visit, it ranged from 32 to 37 degree Celsius! At the the end of each day, we would try to recover by having a sumptuous meal and a good Khmer massage. The three of us have developed "temple out" syndrome and lost count of the temples that we have visited when we left Siem Reap. But none of us has regretted the decision to visit the recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|Horses grazing at The Terrace of The Elephants|
|Statue at the side entrance of Angkor Wat|
|Outer Complex of Angkor Wat|
|Bas Relief at Angkor Wat|
|Gallery of Bas Reliefs|
|Makeshift Stairs to inner keep of Angkor Wat|
|Monks at Angkor Wat|
The Bayon-The moment I set my eyes on the temple, I immediately fell in love of this marvelous architecture. From a distance, you could see the many imposing Buddhas faces smiling and seeming to welcome us to it's holy ground.As we entered into the temple complex, I was captivated by more Buddhas' faces looking at us from different angles. According to our tour guide-Sothorn, this was the first and last mountain temple dedicated to Buddhism in Angkor. The rest of the mountain temples were actually built in the name of Hinduism. As an avid photographer, my camera never stop clicking in the temple compound. I realized I took more photos in Bayon than any other temples in Siem Reap. No wonder it is easily the most popular tourists' site after Angkor Wat. It's really hard to imagine how the people then could construct a temple with such complexity with bare hands and basic tools.
|The Bayon 1|
|The Bayon 2|
|The Bayon 3|
|The Bayon 4|
Ta Prohm-This temple was made famous by Angeline Jodie for the show-The Tomb Raiders. I realized even without her, Ta Prohm should already been popular due to it's unique presence. Ta Prohm was called "The Jungle Temple" for good reason. Ancient trees with their massive roots have integrated as part of the temple structures. Those who have good imagination would immerse themselves as actors or actresses in Indiana Jones or Lord of the Rings adventures, where the ancient trees would suddenly come alive and use their roots to entwine and engulf those that dare ventured this deep to threaten the temple's treasure. During our visit, the place was under extensive renovation. Sadly, many of the trees have been removed (fully or partially) as their presence was slowly destroying the temple structure.
|Ta Prohm 1|
|Ta Prohm 2|
|Ta Prohm 3|
|Ta Prohm 4|
|Children at the Ruins|
I posed an interesting question to my traveling buddies-Bayee and Tet at the end of our journey. Would they come back to Siem Reap and explore the temples again? Their answers were affirmative "NO". One time experience was good enough was their main reason. What about myself? I would not say no if I have the opportunity to come back again. That will be the time that I really want to blend into the culture and everyday lives of the Cambodians. Of course, I will not forget about the temples. I hope I still have the strength and desire to conquer the mountain temples by then :-).
Related Posts: Prelude-Visit to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, After Thought-Visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia
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