C A M B O D I A
Before we take a look at some photos of Angkor Wat, maybe a mini-history would be in order...
The people at Lonely Planet give a nice, succinct rundown on the place, and so we'll just infringe on their copyright (!) and quote it here:
Angkor Wat, with its soaring towers and extraordinary bas-reliefs, is considered by many to be one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. It was built by Suryavarman II reigned 1112-52) to honour Vishnu (with whom he, as god-king, was identified) and for use as his funerary temple. The central temple complex consists of three storeys, each of which encloses a square surrounded by intricately interlinked galleries. Rising 31m [102 feet] above the third level and 55m above the ground is the central tower, which gives the whole ensemble its sublime unity. The temple is surrounded by a vast moat, which forms a rectangle 1.5km by 1.3km....
Although we could go on with a lot of other background info, let's just leave it at that here.
If you're truly interested in further reading, be sure to check out some of the recommended websties about Angkor, and modern-day Cambodia, listed under LINKS near the bottom of the home page.
Also quite useful is Angkor by Dawn Rooney (Hong Kong: Odyssey Publications Ltd., 1999, ISBN 962-217-601-1), which is chock-full of information and wonderful photos.
Perhaps the most logical way to start this little photo tour of Angkor Wat would be with sunrise...
This was at around 6:30, and as you can see the pond gave a nice reflection of the place.
On the south side of the massive wat, these bas-reliefs flank a very nice window—actually nothing all that special here: you see so much of this gorgeous, detailed work all around. Still, it's hard not to be impressed.
Remember that bit above, quoted from Lonely Planet, about the third level and central tower? Well, here it is, along with a nearly-full moon still visible in the morning sky:
What was great about being up here: although there were other tourists clamoring all over the grounds, there was hardly anyone else up here on the third/top level. Very serene and quiet, which makes it sort of difficult to imagine just what the place must have been like with the original Khmer, way back in the 12th Century, clamoring all over up here!
Also up there on the third level:
It appears someone is up there working even today, sweeping off the dust and picking up any garbage left by careless visitors:
Another fine example of the bas-relief work evident at Angkor Wat:
There are literally thousands and thousands of beautiful bas-relief images carved into the walls at Angkor Wat, making it all a bit overwhelming at times. Better, perhaps, to focus in on just an image here or there, and appreciate the work that went into each.
Here's Karen, in front of Angkor Wat's western wall—the one you see first, as you enter the complex from the west)...
And one more of the fantastic bas-reliefs:
In the foreground below is a naga, or serpent, on the north side of Angkor Wat. This naga is in particularly good shape, especially considering its age.
We'll leave you here with a shot of ourselves (thanks to the timer on our camera), over on the eastern side of the complex—
Ok, we hope you've enjoyed this short photo-essay. And, as always, we also hope you'll have the time to see a little more of this site, whenever you can...
Thanks again for taking a peek!
(By the way, the textured background image here is of a wall at Angkor Wat.)
There have been visitors to this page since March, 2001, including you...