Angkor Wat


Ok, I'm in Cambodia, and that means I have to see Angkor Wat, right?  Now Angkor Wat gets more than 2 million visitors a year, and it's a safe bet that they--and millions of others who will never be able to visit--don't consider it a burden or obligation.

So a little confession here.  I'm kind of ruined out, templed out.  I mean, I visited Petra, Machu Picchu, Monte Alban, Jerash, numerous Anasazi sites in the American Southwest, and a few more I've forgotten the names of.  They're all fascinating in their way.  But look, most of them are ruins because the people left them (well, yes, some under great duress).  Doesn't that tell you something?

All right, after that insipid, unconvincing disclaimer, let me re-affirm that the Angkor complex of structures (which includes Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Banteay Srei, and many others) is pretty damn impressive



From the air you see the wide moat that surrounds it



And the actual approach to it is striking--seen here with my guide, BonLy

Step back a bit and take in the panorama (which I stitched together as a poor man's wide angle shot)





One difficulty with doing a piece on Angkor Wat (i.e., the Angkor complex of temples and structures) is that it's so vast--structurally, historically, functionally.  A few photos will not begin to do it justice.  And since there's so much written about it on 3dub, I won't attempt an exposition.

So just a few snippets

(Actually, I'm doing this piece only to please my cousin Ryan, who loves the Angkor stuff)




Angkor Wat is Cambodia's most prized monument, an integral part of the national psyche


Angkor Wat was built in the 12th and 13th centuries

By comparison, the Chaco Canyon ruins in the American Southwest date from 900 to 1150




You pass by some guardians




Climb a tower



And survey the landscape that it dominates




Bayon is another temple in the Angkor complex



with quite impressive detailed glyphs carved in the walls



telling stories, extolling heroes




and many, many Buddha faces




Some ancient, some recent



and some being worshipped by visitors




not always reverently



We passed this cluster of buildings


If two people had a legal quarrel, they'd each be put in one cell

Whoever didn't contract disease or infirmity was deemed innocent



It takes days to visit all the Angkor sites.  I don't have that kind of patience or perseverence



I did enjoy Banteay Srei, however, a much more modest temple 




with much elaborately detailed carvings in the stone



And along the approach to Banteay Srei, music by survivors of land mine explosions




here a graphic reminder of the price paid

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