Today we had an early start (5am) as we wanted to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. We arrived at the temple around 5:30, there are officials waiting to see your pass (the officials want to see your pass before every temple). Once they have seen the pass it feels like a mad dash for the tuk tuks to be the first to arrive at Angkor Wat. So now it is 5:45 we arrive at the entrance and the first thing you hear is “sir you want buy torch?” Can you believe this early in the morning they are still selling!! Not just the adults but the children as well!
Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early Dravidian Architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” in Khmer; Angkor, meaning “city” or “capital city”, is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara (नगर). Wat is the Khmer word for “temple grounds”, derived from the Pali word “vatta” (वत्त). Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founder.
Before this sign appeared people were told that the temple was closed due to being a religious day for Buddha but for USD$5.00 you can have a police escort to see the temple! There were no police in sight!!
Section which is closed for today
Angkor Thom ( literally: “Great City”), located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by king Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman’s state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north.Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII’s empire, and was the centre of his massive building programme. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride. (Higham, 121)Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however. Yasodharapura, dating from three centuries earlier, was centred slightly further northwest, and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas, which was incorporated into the Royal Palace. The Khmers did not draw any clear distinctions between Angkor Thom and Yashodharapura: even in the fourteenth century an inscription used the earlier name. (Higham 138) The name of Angkor Thom — great city — was in use from the 16th century. Faces on Prasat Bayon. The last temple known to have been constructed in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha, which was dedicated in 1295. Thereafter the existing structures continued to be modified from time to time, but any new creations were in perishable materials and have not survived. In the following centuries Angkor Thom remained the capital of a kingdom in decline until it was abandoned some time prior to 1609, when an early western visitor wrote of an uninhabited city, “as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato” which some thought to have been built by the Roman emperor Trajan. (Higham 140) It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000-150,000 people.
On the days you see the sunrise you can ask the hotel to pack you breakfast. This is usually complimentary.
Gursewa with his small breakfast!
You can have your picture taken with this group…..for a price!
Even after I diagnosed Sangeet with dengue fever she was a trooper and made it the top of the temple, whist I sat at the bottom!
Fancy a elephant ride?
Between us we had four cameras the batteries had died on all four!
Bakong is the first temple mountain of sandstone constructed by rulers of the Khmer empire at Angkor near modern Siem Reap in Cambodia. In the final decades of the 9th century AD, it served as the official state temple of King Indravarman I in the ancient city of Hariharalaya, located in an area that today is called Roluos.In 802 AD, the first king of Angkor Jayavarman II declared the sovereignty of Cambodia. After ups and downs, he established his capital at Hariharalaya. Few decades later, his successors constructed Bakong in stages as the first temple mountain of sandstone at Angkor. The inscription on its stele (classified K.826) says that in 881 King Indravarman I dedicated the temple to the god Shiva and consecrated its central religious image, a lingam whose name Sri Indresvara was a combination of the king’s own and the suffix “-esvara” which stood for Shiva (“Iśvara”). According to George Coedes, the devarāja cult consisted in the idea of divine kingship as a legitimacy of royal power, but later authors stated that it doesn’t necessarily involve the cult of physical persona of the ruler himself.Bakong enjoyed its status as the state temple of Angkor for only a few years, but later additions from the 12th or 13th centuries testify that it was not abandoned. Toward the end of the 9th century, Indravarman’s son and successor Yasovarman I moved the capital from Hariharalaya to the area north of Siem Reap now known as Angkor, where he founded the new city of Yasodharapura around a new temple mountain called Bakheng.
Bakong is definitely amazing, very quite and not to be missed
(Taken with the ipad)
From the road to the top takes about twenty minutes.
Plenty of cob webs along the edge of the path
The temples have been amazing and worth seeing, I would recommend perhaps taking a car instead of a tuk tuk. A tuk tuk tires you out as it does not give you any rest from the heat whereas a car’s air conditioning will give you some relief…..not much. Also maybe worth taking a days rest between each temple trip just so you appreciate and are refreshed for every day trip to the temples. We saw the smaller temples first so we appreciated each one the final day we built up to the big temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. In my opionon if we did it the other way around, we would not have appreciated the smaller temples. If you are thinking about a guide, please use a reliable company somebody who is fluent in your language and knows their history of the temples. We overheard some guides giving incorrect information.
As we had an early start we had finished viewing the temple by 3:30 we headed back to Peace Cafe to celebrate Gursewa turning 40 today.
Saying bye to our tuk tuk driver
Sangeet had somehow found a birthday card also arranged for the cake to have a candle!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GURSEWA HOPE YOU HAD A FANTASTIC DAY!
In the evening I went to the laundry for the usual washing of clothes. Here you hand in the clothes and pick it up later. I chose the three hour express service which cost USD $3.00. You can tell when I need to visit the laundry especially when I am wearing a long sleeve black top in 32 degrees C and 80% humidity!
We extended the stay until Sunday which we booked through asiarooms.com they gave us a great deal.
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It was an absolute pleasure and a privilage to travel in Cambodia with you both. Thank you so much for making my birthday really special – I definately won’t forget my 40th!
Hope we can catch up soon, G.