Saturday, December 20, 2008

Angkor Wat

Our last stop for the day, and what can I say...
Simply amazing!

At the apex of Khmer political and military dominance in the region,
Suryavarman II constructed Angkor Wat in the form of a massive
'temple-mountain' dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu.

After lunch...

Funny, but I don't have a picture of my lunch?
It was some of the tastiest chicken I've ever had,
and I offered a taste to Sonny, but in his mind he
heard "eat this ALL"....well he ate it alright! :\

After lunch we were off to Ta Prhom, or as the locals
liked to call it the "Laura Croft temple."
Ta Prohm was originally constructed as a Buddhist monastery
and was enormously wealthy in its time, boasting control over 3000 villages,
thousands of support staff and vast stores of jewels and gold.
It is now a sprawling complex that is overgrown with
massive fig and silk-cotton trees, but it's still freakin cool!

Temple Hop!

Our first day of temple hopping started out
with a short elephant ride!
You'd think it would be really comfy
to ride an elephant, but in the back of my mind
I felt kinda bad for the big guy, and couldn't
relax on our ride.
Sonny on the other hand looks like a king riding his!

Angkor Thom is a walled and moated royal city,
and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire.
There are five entrances (gates) to the city, one for each cardinal point,
and each gate is crowned with 4 giant faces.

We started at Bayon temple,
which was built by King Jayavarman VII between
the late 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century.
This is the only temple in the complex to be built primarily
as a Mahayana Buddhist temple.
However, under the reign of Jayavarman VIII in the
mid-13th century the temple was converted to Hinduism.
At the top of each of the 54 towers, are the four faces
of Avalokitesvara (Lokitesvara).
In total there are 216 repetitions.

We then walked over to Baphuon and Phimeanakas.
Legend has it the golden tower that crowned the temple of Phimeanakas
was inhabited by a serpent, which would transform into a woman.
The kings of Angkor were required to make love with the
serpent every night, lest disaster befall him or the kingdom.