Angkor Vat means, in Khmer: “the capital that became a Buddhist monastery”. The temples of Angkor are a blend between Hinduism and Buddhism. The faces carved out everywhere? I am not sure whether they represent Brahma or Buddha. Or one then the other. A good example of Asian capacity of “Fusion”.
The jungle reclaims the ruins everywhere.
The divine dancers, the Apsaras, dance eternally. On the walls. Part of Hinduism, the Apsaras are mentioned since the Rig-Veda. Now I understand those dancers in Angkor are really “Devata”. Who cares? I like Apsaras better.
You can find your divine dancers on rice paper anywhere, in Siem Reap, or down the stairs of the temples.
I know of no other place like Angkor. Maybe Borobudur (which I haven’t gone too. Yet). Angkor seems to me a combination of Versailles, the Louvre, the castles of the Loire, Notre-Dame-de-Paris and Chartres all in the same place. Add in Mont-Saint-Michel while we’re at it. In three or four days, I don’t think we covered more than half the site. I do intend to go back for a much longer period. Spend a whole day sitting on the elephant terrace, or a whole day in Le Bayon. To look at each of the Buddhas (Brahmas?) inside the temple. Close to 200? Walk a bit. Sit. Watch. Listen.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.” The lion is a “Myth-stery”. Originally confined to Africa, the middle-east and India, it has become a universal symbol. In Europe, or South-East Asia. Many of the lions in Angkor have been nearly destroyed by time and the weather. Some are being restored. See the leg on the left?
The museum at Siem Reap holds fantastic pieces. There is a room of the thousand buddhas. (No pix allowed). Use your eyes to keep the memory.
Prasat Kravan is different from Angkor Vat, Angkor Tom or Bayon, where huge stones are used to create immense sculptures and buildings. This small site is made of bricks. A different rendering.
Buddha again. Om mani…
As you walk along the paths of Angkor, you start wondering whether the trees are not the true “heroes” of the story.
Prasat Kravan again. Very well restored.
Heroes… Hmm. Maybe we urgently need new heroes? Are the lions heroes? Or the Nagas?
Skip a few thousand klicks. Many hours in plane. This is Xochicalco. (For Janet). Xochicalco (the house of flowers in Nahuatl) was built around 650AD, then sacked and abandoned around the 9th century, about the time Angkor was being built.
Apsaras (or Devatas if you so please). A study in B&W, Angkor, 2018.
Study in colours. Altar to my Lord Buddha, Angkor Thom.
The lion came back! National museum, Siem Reap. (Pronounce “raip”)
Lions howling at the moon. Wot? Lions don’t do that? It’s them wolves? So?
I fell at the end of the stairs of that particular temple. Tore my ankle a bit. Scratched a bit of skin. Fortunately, it was the one before last temple that day. I hopped my way along the rest of the ruins.
Same temple. Pre Rup, I think. Veeery steep stairs.
A day in Angkor. Whenever you go, do that. Sit somewhere. Anywhere. And take the place in. Traveller # not available. I think she “hopped” directly from Woodstock in 1969. I need to check the manifest.
Ta Prohm. This place is well known, by the tree growing directly on top of the gallery. The locals call it: “Tomb raider”. Part of the Lara Croft/Angelina Jolie was shot there. Unfortunately so many people come to see and “pix” along, barriers have been put all around. Hard to get a decent shot. I wonder if you can stay the night? Hang a hammock to a pair of trees? There might be mosquitoes.
The last temple of the trip: Ta Som. Beautiful trees taking over the ruins. Or maybe, Buddha called them?
Glorious light on one of the gates to Bayon. Like I said: stay a day at a time in each temple. Just one temple. See how the light changes.
Thank you ever so much for flying Equinoxio Airways, the “last” airline still operating through time and space. Last news, we just got a 7.5 earthquake in Mexico this morning. Quite impressive. Seems there are only minor damages. Hopefully. Peace be with you. 🙏🏻