Magical, Mystery Tour

What can I say? Angkor Wat was just magical. I don’t know how to do justice to the experience. The difficulty stems from the size and scope of the ruins – Angkor Wat is just one temple among many in the area – and from the feeling of a living presence of history.

The actual temple named Angkor Wat is the largest in Siem Reap and somehow the one that was still most alive (at least of the five that we visited). I don’t know – maybe it was because it was the one with the most tourists? Or maybe it was because it still seemed to be used as a temple by some of the locals? In any case, it was also interesting because there was a feeling of peacefulness that pervaded the place. It really was quite remarkable.

Originally, it had been dedicated to the Hindu gods, namely Vishnu, but Jayavarman VII, considered Angkor’s greatest king, rebuilt and rededicated it to Buddhism.

Jayavarman VII also had another temple built, Ta Prohm, this one to house the remains of his mother on her death. I mention it because it is an absolutely stunning place. The jungle has literally grown up around and through the temple. I would love to show you photographs, but my camera battery died before we reached Ta Prohm.

The temple is also famous for having been used as the backdrop of one of the Tomb Raider films, and I’m not surprised as it really does feel like you’ve stepped onto a movie set.

I highly, highly recommend a visit to Angkor Wat. It should be on the same list as Petra and Maccu Piccu.

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~ by Samer on August 21, 2007.

2 Responses to “Magical, Mystery Tour”

  1. Hey, tomb raider! Wow, I wish I was there with you guys. Ta Prohm is my favorite temple and Lara Croft is my other name. Darn, I was hoping for pictures to see if the place has changed since I visited the temple ruins in 2003. Anyway, glad you had a great time! 😛

  2. Our tour guide, Syden, told a great story about Ta Prohm. He spent 3 years as a Buddhist monk, and in the year prior to that, spent the time learning from the monks. Apparently, his first visit entailed accompanying a couple of monks to the ruins while they meditated there. It was 1995, and there were no tourists at the time. In fact, it was almost completely deserted, and apparently, dark and completely frightening to the young man. He kept himself wedged between the two monks. According to him, they were kept safe by their magical power, but as he had no magical power, he depended on them to keep him safe.

    Ta Prohm is one of those places where you get the feeling that you shouldn’t mess around. History lives there, and I can just imagine what it must’ve been like for the poor fellow!

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