Preah Khan - Sacred Sword

Trip Start Nov 18, 2009
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5
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Trip End Nov 27, 2009


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Flag of Cambodia  , KH.16,
Monday, November 23, 2009

Our first stop: Preah Khan: Temple of the Sacred Sword... think Sword in the Stone.  There is an opening on top of a pyramid where the sacred sword once resided.  It was built by Jayavarman VII in 1191 and may have served as his temporary residence while Angkor Thom was being built.

During our first visit to a temple, I was in awe.  The stonework and architecture is impressive.  We walked down the ancient stone road through grand entrance archways and into a secret garden.  Rows of stone warriors escorted us along the way, though many of their heads have long since disappeared or was destroyed and modern replicas were left in its place.  Near the moat (really a tranquil lake), a little girl smiled at me.  She was so picture perfect I had to snap a few shots of her.  For the photos, I gave her a pen.  Of course she didn't know what do to with it, but she was happy nonetheless
(every girl loves a present).  Once through the archways, I was even more in awe.  Little did I know it was a feeling I was going to have often.

The buildings are remarkable... the air smelled ancient.  As we walked its remarkably kept grounds and climbed its massive stone steps, I was too excited to really appreciate its splendor.  What was around the next corner?  I couldn't help myself but to rush on.  If I had to do it again, I'd spend more time at each ledge and crevice.

Soon, we were walking within it's walls, through the hallways that were really empty corridors as many of the temples no longer have roofs (those were built from wood).  It wasn't until we walked in that we started seeing the stone carvings that Cambodia temples are famous for... and yes, they are every bit as extraordinary as I imagined.  I can't even draw half the things they carved, much less create these figures in 3D.  Somewhere along the way, I came across a teenage kid drawing what looked like a tree and fallen stones.  Looking up, I see what he is drawing, and I am again impressed.  It was so realistic, so accurate, that I wondered how many times he has drawn this scene.  A little further down, I see a guy drawing a figure high up on the wall.  His artistic skills are not quite as good, and since the object of his art is so far away, I believe he leaves some details to his imagination.
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