Saturday, May 28, 2011

Secret of the hidden temples

The temples that we are visiting over the next few days are considered, according to my guide book, the eighth wonder of the world. The basic history is that the temples were hidden in the jungle for hundreds of years and have been being restored since archaeologists first found them. While the Khmer Rouge was in power they destroyed all things related to academia and the arts so any restoration plans that had been created were destroyed. The teams of people working on reviving the different temples now are basically rebuilding based on what they think it might have looked like. What is still intact is really amazing and I’m so happy that I get to see it before any more damage is done to this historic gem.
We arrived at Angkor Wat around 5:30 am after a long TukTuk ride to see the sunrise. While we didn’t get to find the best spot to see the sunrise we did see the sun drench the grounds in gold as it came up behind the trees. I will say the energy around Angkor Wat was a little unsettling. It felt negative and just not as welcoming as I had expected. The carvings and structure were interesting to look at but overall it was not my favourite sight of the day.
The sun starting to cover the buildings

The moon was still out for most of the morning

 The next thing we saw was the South gate of Angkor Thom which was once a city with over a million people. The bridge leading to the gate features 54 gods on the left hand side and 54 demons of the right hand side. We of course saw this as a perfect photo opportunity.
Hanging out with some gods
We then visited The Bayon which has enormous towers decorated with 216 faces of Buddha. The faces however look more like the king that was in power at the time. This was my favorite place so far. The energy around it was amazing and I felt like a kid climbing around all of the rocks; in and out of the walkways and up and down the sometimes very steep steps. It was by far the most amazing thing that I have ever seen in my life. It was truly awesome and I know that I use that word a lot but this structure left me speechless. I really can’t wrap my head around how it was even built let alone intricately carved.
I really can’t even begin to describe what it looks like up close and it is definitely one of those you have to see it to believe it type things.

We also saw the Terrace of the ElephantsThe Terrace of the Leper  King and  Ta Prom which is the temple where the first Tomb Raider was filmed. All very cool and carved with amazing detail. On our way back to our guest house we saw some wild monkeys on the side of the road and our driver let us stop to feed them. That was like the cherry on top of an awesome day. I got to go right up to them and they took the lotus seeds right out of my hands. One of the adolescent males came up and let me pet him while he shoved as many seeds into his mouth as possible. There were two mamas with babies and one of the babies actually grabbed my finger when he reached for a seed. It was so great. I was on such a high riding home just being thankful for having such an amazing life. We still have more to see in the next few days and since I took over 175 photos today I’m sure my flickr album will be bursting soon.

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