A step back in time – Ancient Temples
The main focus of the last three days in Siem Reap is the series of ancient ruins of temples built long ago. Angkor contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire. After the fall of the empire the Angkor temples were abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle for centuries. Literally hundreds of major temple complexes dot the countryside, spread over an area of some four hundred square kilometers. We toured two yesterday and two today. Some of our crew did a school as well yesterday. Our half day tour started at Angkor Thom. There is a lot of walking up and down stone stairways to get to the top.
At the bottom we saw a family of monkeys that came out of the trees. They were not at all worried about the thousands of tourists that were surrounding them. Then it was on to the Bayon Temple which included the Terrace of the leper king and the elephant terrace. It got hot on the tour and a shower was a welcome relief when we got back.
This morning the majority of our group did the sunrise tour to Angkor Wat. We were loading the bus before 5 a.m. and walked via flashlights to the base of the temple to wait for the sun to rise. We were not alone .
Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved. It is an architectural masterpiece built by King Suryavarman II. It took over 30 years to construct and is oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief’s and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world and is considered the 7th wonder of the world.It is supposed to be a miniature replica of the world. Its five towers correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall corresponds to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat the oceans beyond.