Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Angkor Wat and the magical temples...

Arising at 4am was not too bad for me, in a strange way reminded me of when your going on holiday and you wake up super early and head to the airport in darkness. It holds a great sense of excitement to me and this was the feeling I engulfed during my tuk tuk ride to the famous 'Angkor Wat'. Once, we arrived we listened to a local girl who mentioned to head inside towards the temple and go left by the lake, as this would be the best position to admire sunrise. Lots of people gather, quietly anticipating the rise of the sun and a feeling of excitement grows amongst the crowd. We enjoyed listening to the traditional music being played as the sky turned a mixture of inspiring colours, everything from blues, yellows and pinks, it was beautiful. 

Once, the darkened sky had lifted, we headed over to the young girls shack and enjoyed a interesting cup of tea and spent some time chatting and getting to know the locals there. The young girl mentioned that she rises at 4am and works to sell bracelets to tourists here at the temple, then she heads to school for 7am and studies all day, then in the evening returns to work selling items until 10pm when she goes to sleep. This lovely young lady was only 12 years old and her sister had the same routine and she was much younger. 

We headed back over to our spot by the lake and finally the magnificent sun rises and greets the temples with warmth and fascination. The sunshine steadily rises and makes the landscape appear even more beautiful and interesting than it already is. After spending some time admiring the sunrise, we headed out to explore the vast temple of Angkor Wat, the huge stone work and carvings that fill the temples with tales, stories, myths and astounding history. I instantly feel relaxed here walking around the temple itself, there is a natural calmness that crawls the walls and all I do is wander and admire the wealth of beauty this place has to offer. After spending time here, we headed over to Angkor Thom, this is a grand collection of temples all located in a sort temple city, called the 'Grand City'. The temple is being restored but the presence and wonder it holds is enchanting. The stones have huge carved faces that surround every angle of the temple and the intricate carvings all tell a story of the kingdom. When reflecting on history, the Khmer empire was huge, when at one time in history this place had over one million people living and working there when a distant London only inhabited 50,000 people. By mid-morning, we ventured to the Ta Prohm, this is a famous temple that once featured in the film Tomb Raider. It has a magical feeling as you enter through the ruins, lots of gigantic trees reign through the temple, roots powering through the rubble and almost becoming a part of the structure itself. The tree's have a sense of power and this is something you feel quickly as you explore the temple, the calmness of nature is both inside and outside of this temple. 

We finally wandered around the Grand Palace area and here you have a sense of the vast size of the structures they constructed hundreds upon hundreds of years ago. It is inspiring in the aspects of architecture and almost mystical in the sense of its history and presence. After a day of exploring these fantastic temples, we head back to Siem Reap to reflect on the beauty we have adored through the day and to happily take a well earned nap. 

Admiring the sky, awaiting sunrise...

Local girl (BoMoi) who had some tea with us at sunrise, plus the cutest dog in the world!

Watching the sun appear behind the tower

Enjoying the sunshine's reflection on the lake

Enjoying the morning sun, as we set off to explore the temples

Roaming through Angkor Wat

The vast size and architecture is inspiring

Exploring the dark and mysterious corridors

At Bayon Temple, greeted by hundreds of these carved faces

Chilling in the shade under a gigantic tree (these are some roots!)

Exploring the Ta Prohm temple, engulfed by amazing trees

The famous scene within Ta Prohm Temple...Tree & Temple

Enjoying wandering in and out of the temple

Self-picture taken as we rest by a tree in the temple

A lovely end to our day, exploring the magical temples

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