The Dalai Lama said “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before”. So I did.
ANGKOR: A Short History
It goes like this. Angkor literally means the “Capital City” or “Holy City” of the Khmer Empire. This existed in the area of what is now Cambodia way back around the 9th and 15th centuries A.D. That’s a long time ago.
All the temples in the Angkor Archeological Park are monuments built by some power hungry kings with a complex and names a mile long like Indravarman I, II and III, his son Yasovarman I, Rajendravarman, Suryavarman I and II. Actually, it was King Suryavarman II who had the Angkor Wat built as his official state temple and burial ground.
It was smooth sailing for the Khmers until a usurper, with an even longer name, Tribhuvanadityavarman seized the kingdom and messed it up. Everybody hated him because hey, nobody likes bullies. There was an uprising and the usurper died, because all bad guys lose in the end. The kingdom returned to the Khmers when another king took control and saved the day.
FYI, all the temples were Hindu until the legendary Khmer hero king, Jayavarman VII, broke like 400 years of tradition by making Buddhism as the official religion. He also spearheaded the massive monument-building frenzy of the empire in honor of every member of his family. Hundreds of temples were built in less than 40 years which just proves that aliens built the temples.
I mean how can these super massive temples be built in a short period with no tools and just villagers lifting these heavy blocks (which are all perfectly the same in size) to create 4-storey structures? Answer me! Tour guides said that elephants dragged the rectangle stone blocks from the next mountain, which was like barely visible from on top of the temple, the mountains are that far. So unless the elephants were mammoths on steriods, how!?!?! AND villagers volunteered to work on the temples alongside slaves. Now that’s dedication.
My point is…that was one helluva an amazing experience. Something I won’t soon forget.
New places to explore, new cultures to discover, new experiences to last a lifetime.
See if you can count how many times I’ve defaced some temple relics. But then again, common touristy photos are so boring. Siem Reap, you have not seen the last of me!
HOW TO TEMPLE RUN: Ask your hotel for tour assistance. Choose from either a Tuktuk $11/day – 4 people or air-conditioned van $22/day – 5 t0 8 people. You can opt to ride a bike to the archeological park (good luck!). Each person has to get the personalized Angkor Pass Photo ID card $20 – 1 day, $40 – 3 days at the Ticket Office. If you don’t want to pay anything, you can choose to just do a temple drive-by.
HOW TO GET HERE: Check this post for more info on Siem Reap https://jeepneystop.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/a-lil-sumthin-siem-reap/
And now….PICTURES!!! Enjoy.
DAY 1 – Pre Rup, East Mebon, Preah Khan and Ta Som
DAY 2: Bayon Temple, Ta Phrom, Angkor Thom Complex, Terraces of the Elephants
FYI. Ta Phrom is where Angelina Jolie and Team shot Tomb Raider. You’ll be amazed at the Banyan Trees growing right on the temple itself.