Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Carvings of Banyon in Angkor Thom

At the heart of Angkor Thom is the 12th-century Bayon, the mesmerising, if slightly mind-bending, state temple of Jayavarman VII. It epitomises the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 Gothic towers are decorated with 216 gargantuan smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, and it is adorned with 1.2km of extraordinary bas-reliefs incorporating more than 11,000 figures.

The basic structure of Bayon comprises a simple three levels, which correspond more or less to three distinct phases of building. This is because Jayavarman VII began construction of this temple at an advanced age, so he was never confident it would be completed. Each time one phase was completed, he moved on to the next. The first two levels are square and adorned with bas-reliefs. They lead up to a third, circular level, with the towers and their faces.

Ta Prohm

Despite 100% humidity and the dripping of sweat in the eyes, enjoying the amazing scenery.
 SM - 77
The temples are all black, grey and dull in colour, among them sit the monks dressed in vibrant orange.
Peppermint tea bag paper
 Built from 1186 and originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. It is one of the few temples in the Angkor region where an inscription provides information about the temple’s dependents and inhabitants. Almost 80,000 people were required to maintain or attend at the temple, among them more than 2700 officials and 615 dancers.

 Ta Prohm is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Many of the corridors are impassable, clogged with jumbled piles of delicately carved stone blocks dislodged by the roots of long-decayed trees. Bas-reliefs on bulging walls are carpeted with lichen, moss and creeping plants, and shrubs sprout from the roofs of monumental porches.

 The most popular of the many strangulating root formations is that on the inside of the easternmost gopura (entrance pavilion) of the central enclosure, nicknamed the Crocodile Tree. One of the most famous spots in Ta Prohm is the so-called ‘Tomb Raider tree’, where Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft picked a jasmine flower before falling through the earth into…

Monday, March 19, 2018

Angkor Wat Temple

Angkor Wat is an ancient city in Cambodia that was the center of the Khmer empire that once ruled most of Southeast Asia. This civilization went extinct, but not before building amazing temples and buildings that were reclaimed by the jungle for hundreds of years. Though this place is always packed with tourists, the area is still breathtaking to see. The most popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom, and Angkor Thom. 
 Crossing the rubber "dancing bridge" made up of flotation panels

 Built between roughly A.D. 1113 and 1150, and encompassing an area of about 500 acres (200 hectares), Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Its name means “temple city.”Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century, and statues of Buddha were added to its already rich artwork. 
Its 213-foot-tall (65 meters) central tower is surrounded by four smaller towers and a series of enclosure walls, a layout that recreates the image of Mount Meru, a legendary place in Hindu mythology that is said to lie beyond the Himalayas and be the home of the gods. 

 Balloon ride over the area.

Buddhist Shrine
 This morning we left at 5am to travel back to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise over the temple.

 After the sunrise, a champagne breakfast at the Monastery provided by catering school students.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hot Hot and more Hot.....
Went for a walk this morning, back around 10am as we have worked out that you try not to go out between 10am -2pm. Our few hours of break was spent in one of the pools.
 Outdoor salt lap pool
Part of the pool on our floor is under cover from the hot sun.
 Outdoor breakfast, very tranquil and peaceful.
You can reserve these hanging tables for meals.
 Beautiful lotus flower vases, at first I thought they were paper.

Siem Reap means "the defeat of Siam" and it was a little village when the French came across the Angkor in the 19th century. With Cambodian independence, Siem Reap began to grow and absorb the first wave of tourists, the first hotel opening it's door in 1932 and the temples of Angkor becoming one of Asia's leading attractions until present. 
 I found a quilt shop, beautiful hand stitched quilts and bags made by the community of Artisans.
(no photos allowed)
 I'm not quite ready to try fried scorpions....
 Pub Street, another name for street of restaurants.
Most of the city closes down during the day, we think due to the heat and comes alive at nighttime with streets and streets of markets. 
 The streets are full of these hire places for motorbikes and vespas, with my lack of balance...no I don't think so.

 We have not seen any animals except for this dog trying to cool itself in a mound of construction sand.
 One of many supermarkets. All prices are in US$, but you can pay in Cambodian currency.
US$10 =40,000 Riel
 Early start to the morning for these tuk-tuk drivers.
Everywhere you go they ask if you want to go for an hour's ride of sightseeing for US$3.
You say no, and they leave it at that, no bothering you....everything is done with a smile and the utmost politeness.

 Dial up food.
This monk had the right idea for shade. You see them walk along the street, stand outside a shop and bow, they are receiving their morning contributions to their meals and living.

SM 76
Lotus flower, with a limited amount of fabric and threads, I am making do with what I have, a challenge.