Angkor Wat

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
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Trip End Aug 14, 2009


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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Angkor Wat - 7th July

The next morning we took our Tuk-Tuk to the most breathtaking of all the temples in Cambodia, perhaps the world - Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat means "Temple that is a city", not surprising, as it is the largest religious structure in the world – eat your heart out, Notre Dame. The temple is surrounded by a 190m wide moat measuring 1.5km by 1.3km. Apart from the defensive properties, the moat serves to keep the foundations damp without which the sand would dry out, causing the temple to collapse. The construction involved 300,000 workers & 6,000 elephants from a city population of over a million (this was when London was a small town of a mere 50,000).

The amount of detail work involved in carving the 1km Bas-relief on the walls surrounding the temple is hard to imagine. While you admire the exquisite detail of the roof carving, you can see the water damage done by poor restoration work where they used concrete, which blocked up the drainage gullies.

The Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas used to contain hundreds of Buddhas but most were destroyed or looted during the Khmer Rouge war. This is where Lara Croft was healed by a passing Monk. We saw a monk in the gallery who gave me a two finger evil eye – I don't think he wanted his photo taken. I hasn't affected me though, apart from a nasty little rash under my . . .


They won't let you climb up to the top of the temple, so it was difficult to get an overall view of the temple – you get a better impression from the model that we saw in Phnom Penh.

As we left I got a shot of the temple reflected in the lake, one of the most popular postcard shots.

After Angkor Wat we took in a few more temples, Preah Khan, East Melbon & Ta Som (another with trees growing up through the walls). There is a tree that has nearly destroyed the gate. It looks like one of the trees from Lord of the Rings, you expect it to start walking any minute.

We felt "all templed out" after that & were pleased to Tuk-Tuk back to town for a beer & lie down.
You can have too much culture !
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