May 29, 2014

Postcards from Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat silhouette One of the few things I was willing to wake up at an ungodly hour for was to watch the sun rise over Cambodia's greatest treasure: Angkor Wat, the City of Temples. 
 sunrise reflection of Angkor Wat First a Hindu then a Buddhist temple complex, Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II.  
 Angkor Wat It is the largest religious monument in the world and its perfect symmetry is a wonder to behold.
 one of the outer galleries of Angkor Wat The main temple of Angkor Wat is composed of three rectangular galleries, each higher than the next.
 relief on the wall of Angkor Wat's galleries Every inch of the walls of each gallery is covered in elaborate bas-relief scenes from Hindu mythology and literature.
 steps to the highest terrace of Angkor Wat Angkor Wat's Temple Mountain, its central and uppermost sanctuary, is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods in Hindu mythology.
 view from the highest terrace of Angkor Wat From the uppermost terrace, one can see across the lower galleries to the bridge which crosses the moat around Angkor Wat, and all the way to the outer wall.
 Buddha sitting on a Naga at Angkor Wat The image of Buddha in the uppermost sanctuary depicts him seated on the coils of a Naga. Legend says that Buddha was so deep in meditation, he did not notice the storm that began raging around him. So the Naga coiled itself under Buddha to raise him from the muddy waters and bent its seven heads (one of which is broken here) over him to protect him from the rain. Of all the temples in the Angkor district of Siem Reap, only Angkor Wat was never abandoned and it is still an active Buddhist temple today.


Lowell said...

Well, it would be hard to beat this in terms of grandeur and symmetry. Love those first pictures, too, and thanx for getting up early to take them!

William Kendall said...

A majestic place, Hilda. You capture its beauty wonderfully.

Barbara Farr said...

Great shots, Hilda. I'm glad you decided to get up for the sunrise.

Photo Cache said...

a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that's what this is. great shots.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Surely this is a site well worth seeing.