Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two More Temples (Siem Reap #4)

On our third day in Siem Reap, we finished our Temple Tour.  We could have spent a week or more going from temple to temple to temple, but that's not our idea of a great time.  We chose a few highlights and concentrated on those. 

First, we saw Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom means "Great City", and it was the 9 square kilometer capital city of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century.  At the city gate, we found an interesting mode of transportation:
 ...And the ever present junk for sale.  Taking this picture brought about eight pesky salespeople running to see what size t-shirt I needed.

All along the bridge across the mote, these faces line the walk.  AK and I had fun studying them, and she especially liked the ones missing noses (and that one in particular that seems upset about his missing snoot).  You can see where some have been restored, but many of them seem to be original. 

At the city gate:

 The gate itself wasn't the only thing to see. As usual, the people watching was spectacular.

 Tuk tuks lined up waiting on their tourists to return.

At the center of Angkor Thom is Bayon Temple, which is known now in our family simply as "Faces".  Sometimes it's B3's favorite temple we visited, and it's always AK's.  It was built in the 12th or 13th century, and it's simply incredible.

And again, we pay someone's salary for a day by having our photo taken with the Apsara dancers.  All of their shows in town were too late for us to enjoy after a long day of touring, so we settled for this. 
 The carved murals are really incredible.  The detail is amazing.
 Bayon Temple is in various stages of restoration.  All of these stones are waiting to be reassembled.  I can only imagine how long it will take...

 I couldn't stop taking pictures of the faces. There are 216 of them, and they're all different. Bayon was so crowded and hot when we visited, and it was a little difficult to enjoy it. But, those faces were enough to make it worth it. I might actually have photos of over half of the 216. Not really, but my family likely thought so as they waited for me at every turn.

 This face is always fun to look at, too!

 At one spot, we found a face to have a little fun with.  The sun was in the absolutely wrong spot for this, but it was good for a laugh.

As we were leaving, I noticed this lady's handbag.  She was impeccably dressed, and she looked as if she had just stepped out of a limo instead of a tuk tuk.  So, her choice of accessories made me laugh.  B3 would love for me to have one, though.  Who doesn't need a bag with cement trucks and dump trucks and tractors?  

After leaving Angkor Thom, we continued on to Ta Prohm Temple.  If you've ever seen a Siem Reap Temple on an ad or in a movie, it's likely to have been Ta Prohm.  Our guide said that some even call it the Angelina Jolie Temple because her movie, Tomb Raider, prominently features Ta Prohm.  I suppose Angelina deserves a tiny bit of credit for encouraging a little bit of positive press and tourism in the area, but that's about it.  Anyway, Ta Prohm's claim to fame is that when the temple was rediscovered, the trees weren't cleared off of it like they were on the others we visited.  The roots still drip and drape over the walls.  

This temple has been adopted by the Indian Government to restore and protect it. It was fascinating to watch the men work with 21st century tools and 12th century methods to recreate some parts of the temple. 

 And, as usual, we were escorted by little salesmen as we walked back to our van.  Relentless!

this tuk tuk driver got bonus points.  If he had been our driver, I would have admired his ingenuity but hesitated to wake him. 

That concluded our Temple Tour in Siem Reap!

1 comment:

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