The faces of Bayon in Angkor Thom represents the face of king Jayavarman
VII of the 12th century. They look down at the viewer wherever he is.. There are 216 of
these faces at the Bayon site. These wonderful enigmatic faces and the
history depicting reliefs around the grounds are the reason we picked
this site as one of three favorites and actually revisited it three days later.
may give you an idea of how the many faces appear as they look down at
you! (left) This picture is also a game: How many faces do you see in
(right) is one of the good guys that guard the city (of Angkor Thom)
from bad stuff! That's about how I understand it.
beautiful figure is repeated in a more shallow bas relief on the columns
around the temple. It was VERY surprising to us that visitors (including
guides) repeatedly touched the sandstone carvings. You can see that some
of the walking areas were protected, but in my humble opinion there
needed to be signs to tell people that they were NOT to touch the carved
walls. In most ancient sites they do that, and I remember that
especially in the tombs of Egypt you could NOT touch the murals.
Bas relief carvings surrounded the entire central temple. Many of these
sandstone carvings are of battle scenes. (right & left)
We were captivated by these carvings, and especially enjoyed the
depictions of everyday life.
and cockfighting is as old as the hills. Pretty interesting, don't you
everyday scenes include people carrying baskets on poles on their
shoulders, crocodiles, cormorants, turtles, fish of many types -
rabbits, trees and, is that picking nits?
the temples of Angkor were not destroyed during the Pol Pot civil war
they did not survive unscathed. Those holes around the carving on the
right are bullet holes. People would come here to hide from the vicious
terrace of the elephants was another amazing structure. (left)
the right is one of the tuk tuks we took around the area.
now that we're on the subject of beautiful female figures, I want to
show you another exquisite site referred by many as "The Jewel Khymer Art."
Its name is Banteay Srei. We thought that this fabulous Hindu temple was
beyond words. The delicate carvings at this site were breathtaking.
I am only hoping that my photos reflect some of that wonder. This image
on the right is the Hindu god of the sky, Indra, sitting on his three
headed elephant. These myths are beyond me as they are so foreign to our
culture. However, I do know that all the myths of the great religions
have a message to teach us.
kneeling figures with the head of a monkey or lion are guarding the main
temple. These are not actually original figures. Because of thievery the
originals are in the national museum for safe protection. Many original
statues have disappeared over the centuries. Banteay Srei was built in
~967AD. It is unique in it's size, design, materials and style. The pink
sandstone and delicate carvings give the entire site a feminine quality.
I go on I must insert the grandest and most sublime of the temples,
Angkor Wat, itself (right). This temple is the heart and soul of the
Cambodian people. It is a spectacular and inspired monument - replicated
in the reflecting pools below.
It is the holiest of the holies.
Wat (the city temple) was built in the early 12th century. It is the
best preserved as it was never left abandoned to the elements. It is a
stunning blend of symmetry and spirituality. Angkor Wat is symbolically
heaven on earth. I think we'd all agree that the lovely maidens to the
right are quite heavenly!
bulky and/or heavy objects on one's head is a normal way of carrying
things. Mostly we saw this practice performed by women. Perhaps it keeps
their hands free for other tasks such as child care. Don't know, but it
is seen around the world.
wonderful site was Ta Prohm. It was the desire of the archeologists to
leave this site as it would have appeared when the French first
"discovered" the ruins. Many Movies have been filmed at this location.
Strangler figs and kapok trees are intertwined among the ruins.
Prohm definitely has a mystery to it. One expect something weird to
happed while walking through these dark collapsing hallways!
about mysterious! (right)
site got to be a bit like a movie set - probably because it had served
as one before. It was not difficult to walk around and all the smaller
trees and undergrowth had been cleared away.
destructive power of these trees (over time) is phenomenal.
Just a little guy hanging out at the temple!
about one more temple? Scott's favorite: Beng Mealea, the most
mysterious - and the least restored.
easy to think that you're the first westerner to lay eyes on this place!
early French scholars thought highly of this temple for its architecture
and decoration. Religiously it was a blend of Vishnu, Shiva and Buddha.
last photo is yet another temple, but I have chosen it as a reminder (to
myself). I have often said to people that wish to visit the Los Angeles
Catholic Cathedral, "Remember, this Cathedral is not a museum, it is a
place of worship." So let us be respectful.