Monday 6 February 2017

Angkor Thom: My Photo Gallery

Just a couple of kilometers from Angkor Wat lies an ancient city called Angkor Thom. Founded by King Jayavarman VII during the 12th century, Angkor Thom was the last capital city of the Khmer Empire. Though Angkor Wat may be the most famous temple complex in Siem Reap, it is not the only one and neither is it the oldest. There are hundreds other ancient temples and archaeological ruins within the province out of which a big number are found inside Angkor Thom. This square city which spans an area of approximately 9 sq km and fortified with high walls and a moat is home to some of the most formidable temples sites. To visit each and everyone of them in half a day is an impossibility. Unless one is very much into archaeology, I think it suffices just to see some of its best. 
There are 5 gates into Angkor Thom. We entered through the south gate which has an entrance wide enough just for one vehicle each time.
The causeway that leads to the gate are flanked by 54 'god' statues on the left and 54 'demons' statues on the right.
These are the 'god statues' with the moat in the background.

Bayon Temple
Bayon was built as a Buddhist temple and it is located right in the centre of Angkor Thom. The main features of this temple are its 54 towers, each with 4 smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha Of Compassion) facing 4 different directions. 
Like Angkor Wat, Bayon is a stone temple.

Bayon and all temples I visited in Angkor Thom are no longer functional temples. They have become Siem Reap's prized attractions drawing millions of tourists each year.
Outside Bayon Temple

The Terrace of the Elephants
The Terrace of the Elephants which stretches 350 meter was once upon a time viewing platforms for royal events. It is covered in bas-relief sculptures mainly of elephants alongside sculptures of others like, horses, lions, dancers, and warriors etc.
The carvings have obviously seen better days and could possibly fade into oblivion in decades to come.

Prasat Suor Prat
Just opposite The Terrace Of The Elephants are 12 towers called Prasat Suor Prat. They are spaced some distance from each other but their function remains unknown.

Thommanon Temple &
Chau Say Tevoda Temple
Thommanon Temple is just a small temple and apparently not so popular as there was hardly any visitors around. This temple is adopted by Le Méridien Hotel as a regular venue for dinner and performance. Seen here are candles that would be lighted when the dinner starts. Tables and chairs were already set nearby.
Thommanon Temple
Directly opposite Thommanon Temple, on the other side of the road is another small temple called Chau Say Tevoda. This temple was built in the mid-12th century as a Hindu temple and is in ruin. It is not a popular site as there was hardly any visitor too.
Chau Say Tevoda

Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm was a monastery built by Jayavarman VII as a residence for his mother and it is a Must-See in Angkor Thom. Not only is the setting in its most natural state, it is also the site where the Hollywood movie 'Tomb Raider' was filmed. Ta Prohm has become synonymous with the jungle of gigantic trees that have consumed it.

The huge trees with roots that wrap around the monuments have somewhat added a special character to this place.

Ta Prohm spreads over a vast area and one can easily get lost inside.

Among the bas relief seen are carvings of dinosaurs which goes to say these creatures did exist during the era of this temple complex.

The temple used to be adorned with precious stones but these have been looted by the early explorers. What's left are holes in walls and ceilings.
Tomb Raider, an action packed adventure movie starring Angelina Jolie was filmed in Ta Prohm. I was told there is an 'Angelina Jolie' ancient carving in Ta Prohm and it was identified as the one on the left hand side of the image above. I really LOL when I saw it as true enough, it is the only 'apsara' with Angelina's distinctive attribute as compared with others.

Pre Rup
Pre Rub was the last temple I visited in Angkor Thom. This temple dated back to 961 (10th century) which means it is older than Angkor Wat. It was built as a Hindu temple by King Rajendraman II and is a popular site to watch sunrise or sunset. 
A lot of climbing is required to get to the topmost platform of this multi-tiered temple but the climb is quite worthwhile as you get a good vista of the lower tiers and the surrounding land below.
Other than the stone towers, the temple is made mostly of brick and rusty-red laterite which glow beautifully when the evening sun shines on it

Like many others we have come to watch the sunset but I realised the view of the sunset pales in comparison with the view of the actual temple which emits a very radiant glow.
Just an ordinary sunset view...
... but a spectacular golden glow from the temple monument.

Related Posts:
7.Things To Do In Phnom Penh: Part II
8.Things To Do In Phnom Penh: Part III

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