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Angkor wat

From late October 2012 to mid January 2013, my wife Carina and I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia and Western Australia, our main incentive being to celebrate the 60th birthday of my old class mate and good friend Melvyn Tuckey who lives with his family in Mandurah, WA, but also to explore the world heritage site of Angkor and to find out what Cambodia as a country would be like.
This image (with me in the foreground) represents the temple of the temples itself, Angkor wat, built by the Khmer king Suryav- arman II in the early 12th century.





Bayon

Angkor Thom was an enduring capital of the Khmer empire in ancient times. It covers an area of about 9 square kilometers but is now largely overgrown with rain forest apart from around the Prasat Bayon and facing up a bit towards the northern wall.


Bayon

Carina and I spent a couple of days scrutinizing this part of Angkor while also strolling through the rain forest where cicadas hidden up in the tree crowns kept going off in a continuous ear blasting shriek that sounded almost like high pitched air raid sirens.
Also high up among the branches hung spiders in huge, sticky cobwebs,  all of them waiting for a meal on wings

Apsaras
LISTEN to the cicadas and jungle birds of Ta Phrom!



Bayon

Living Apsaras of today, eager to invite you to a photo session
where you will be made part of the great Angkorean secret.


Ta prohm

Before we got here, we anticipated rumors about Ta Prohm being one of the most fascinating places in Angkor, which it really is!  Not least on that first blissful night when we quite unexpectedly discovered that every single tourist and guardsman had cleared out of there, so that we were left all alone among the darkling woods and with jungle birds calling out like pieces of a surreal woodwind orchestra from all around.



Ta prohm

Ta Prohm, founded by King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university in the late 12th to early 13th centuries, has remained in about the same condition as when it was first discovered, which is why there are lots of huge trees with their clinging roots growing out of the walls and spiraling up from the roof, this making the entire site appealingly photogenic but also helping to capture ones imagination in a most wonderful way, as if lost in an adventure with Baloo, Bagheera and King Luis in that old novel called the Jungle book!


Eastern Baray

The water expanse of the Eastern Baray reaching
out as far as the eye can see.


Terrace of the Leper king

There is a 'terrace of the Leper king' which leads into a labyrinth of narrow alleys with lots of sculpted figures littering the walls, some of which look rather quaint and at times even frightening.



LISTEN to more sounds from the jungle temple of Ta Prohm!
 


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Angkor wat

Angkor wat is simply mind-blowing, both for its stunning Hindu architecture and for the numerous, highly intricate bas-reliefs and devatas lining its lower walls among many other things. But above all, it's the atmosphere and solemnity of the place that almost makes time stand still!


Bayon

The Bayon  temple, hiding within the enclosure of Angkor Thom, is quite spectacular with multitudes of stone carved faces gazing serenely out into the wilderness, almost as if we had gotten ourselves into some mystical Donald Duck episode by Carl Barks himself!




 Elephants  are  frequently employed in taking tourists
 for a ride around Bayon and its surroundings.


Bayon

Kindly, the rock faces smile into the distance while
reflecting on days gone by when Angkor ruled
both near and far.


Bayon angels

    The Swedish couple now finally initiated and blessed by
     the ancient spirits of Angkor Thom!


Ta Prohm

Because we had arrived so late in the evening, now that every- thing was closed and deserted, we decided to have yet a rendezvous with Ta Prohm on the following day, which would inevitably cost us an extra entry fee as our three day tickets had just expired.  But the day after, we made it back with our tuk tuk driver and did this temple area all over again.


lichens

Part of the Angkor experience, as one of my Australian acquaintances says, is the crumbling features of  these ancient temples, such as here where lichens contort the texture of this old stone wall, hence covering it with flamboyant colors ranging from rusty red to bright tints of  green and blue.




  Lichens gradually taking over old craftsmanship.


The leper king

This site was devoted to the Hindu god of Yama, the god of death. So it's not so strange that it does get a bit spooky when strolling among all those dancing and prancing characters, some of which have moss and lichens growing on them, which is where the thesis of leper comes in, of mold and decay.


In front of Taj Mahal
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