Friday, March 20, 2009

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Finally we came to Angkor Wat, the main reason for my coming to Cambodia. We were now down to just four people; Max, Claire, Janice and me. Catherine and Nic were going on their own. Many on our biking tour had never heard of it, but having taught in a Springvale Primary School. (hi, all my readers at Heatherhill PS!), I had heard quite a bit about it.

We were met by our new guide, Him (pronounced "Herm"), who spoke excellent english and was full of knowledge.

Angkor was built in the 12th century as Cambodia's ancient capital, one of the man-made wonders of the world. The sheer size of the place is astounding, with it's two structures separated by a long path. The walls loom up 669ft to amazing roofing structures and towers, and tell stories of battles and love and deception. Researchers believe it represents Mt. Meru, home of the Hindu gods, but now it is used for Buddhist worship. The bas relief walls are intricately carved out of sandstone, and easy to follow the story. Much of it is in it's original glory, but a lot of restoration is being done. There are moats, pools, steps, even a library, and I kept asking the guide, "are you sure no one lived here?" I was assured that this was simply a temple, a place of worship, not a palace.
We spent two hours exploring Angkor Wat, hearing the history, and marvelling at the architecture, but the heat was getting to us, so we finally went back to our hotel.

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