Angkor Wat- a cultural wonder of the world

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Dec 16, 2006

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

AMAZING!! Angkor is one of those places in life I think everyone should experience- but then again, I might not have the best recommended taste for most people!!
Bascially there are a bunch of old rocks and the worlds biggest and most complex jig-zaw puzzle imaginable!! The temples were built in the 3rd-4th centuries. Mainly by the king but also by many high ranking people in the community. They served as an offering to their Buddha in order to earn merit and to have a place for their ashes to be shed- the templesare magnificent- they were lost over time as they became over grown by the lush surrounding forests- but once rediscovered they have become archiologists dream. Angkor Wat is the largest temple and the one that has been restored the most- it is surrounded by a moat and is a huge maze. We went for sunset to see the specatcular colors glaring through the structures- but it was cloudy and overcast that night- which, in the end was cooler to me because thats how I pictured it to look- no color -no life to it-just some ruins of an ancient marvel that had been lost and forgotten about............ as the sounds of clouds were pounding closer and lightening was getting brighter, security closed the temple til the next morning..........somehow (possibly all those years at Phish concerts taught me how to get myself to where I needed to be) and furthermore, got me a private escort from a security guard through the temple with no one in there! The rain was pounding and the thunder was crashing inside the temple at this point- exactly how I pictured it- the guard and I walked up the steep stairs (I mean almost a 90 degree angle- straight up!!) and dodged in and out of the rooms, around the huge pillars, and up and over the steps- Besides the sounds of nature it was silent inside! NO screaming tour guides in all language explaining the history- just me and the guard (who spoke no english!)I have no idea how they built this place- but apparently-they put all the stone together as they wanted it first- then they planned the design of each area- and then the artists got to work- the beginning layers of details were clealy done by the apprentices and the fine intricate chizzled ztone work was done by the masters- but there was not a section left unmarked- every last area of the main temple has a design and a story- whether it be the Gods carrying the good of the world out of the ocean or statues of protectors defending the temple- there was nothign untouched- there were libraries and engineered dripping systems for collecting water and corridors for differnet ranks of people in the community-
Absolutly brilliant!!!
SO as I was the last person to walk out and Jason was waiting for me--- totally drenched he got a taste of being inside basically alone (well with me) the next morning as we arrived just as the sun was rising- certainly th highlight of the next day-avoiding the crowded busloads of Chinses and Japanese tourists is key to enjoying such a PLACE!!!!
WE continued walking through the biggest temples and the ones that have been most restored- another reason the temples are in such bad shape is that the Khmer Rouge,as I mentioned in the previous blog- came through in the early 70's and demolished a great deal of the work that had already be done as past of the restoration project- regressing the progress once againof this archiological master piece.
The last temple we visited that day was where Angelina Jolie shot the movie TOmb Raider and parts of Raiders of the Lost ARk were from there- this was my favorite temple becasue it has had some of the least amount of work done to it and the trees and plants have reclaimed their treeitory- mind you, these temples are about a kilometer (0.6 miles) long and wide- and thats considered a small temple.....the moss and grasses and clearly the trees have staked their claim- making this temple the most pristine and natural- and my most favorite of them all!
At this point in the day (9 hours of exploring and walking) Jason and I were beat and we had seen so many temples that we headed out!!!
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