Several of you have urged me to put up pictures from Angkor Wat in spite of my initial reluctance. I took 287 photos and as you know it takes a while to sort them out. Also to do a post is a daunting task since this amazing place illicits so much energy on so many subjects such as history, art ,religion, architecture and personal feelings. It is one of the Wonders of the World on par with the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids in Egypt.
That being said, it is important to understand that Angkor Wat is actually the name of the largest ruins in the area known as Angkor, sanskrit for city,which is 390 sq miles in size, making it the largest pre-industrial city in the world. It contains over a thousand remains of early structures. Wat means temple and Anghor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II, ruler of the Khmer Empire in the 12th Century as the royal temple and eventually his mousoleum It took 30 years to complete, employing 10,000 workers, hundreds of artisans, and 6,000 elephants. It is a Hindu temple but later Buddhist features were added
My photos don't even come close to conveying its size. Within its outer wall and surrounded by a 2.2 mile long moat, a football field and a half wide, all dug out by hand, are the temple grounds and a three-tiered temple adorned by towers in the shape of lotus blossoms situated on 203 acres. The above photos include a few of the over two thousand different carvings on the main buildings outer walls. If some of the pictures appear to convey a cold bleak building, it is important to remember that much of the structures were also built with perishable materials like wood especially the roofs. The jewels are gone and many of the statues were damaged or destroyed by conquerors and pillagers.
The next photos are from the East entrance to Angkor and to a second temple, Angkor Tom, which the king built 30 years after Angkor Wat.
The last photos shows that forest has buried many old palaces and dwellings. This ancient world falls to the march of nature.
I am leaving shortly on the river cruise portion of my journey down the Mekong River through Cambodia to Viet Nam. I won't have connectivity but I will be thinking of you and will post as soon as I can.