Siem Reap and Angkor of Cambodia (II)(吴哥窟-柬埔寨)

Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world.  It occupies an area approximately 402 acres. This temple was built by King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Kingdom in the early 12th century dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu.  Later, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, it was transformed into a Buddhist temple.  

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Approaching Angkor Wat Temple Area, one can feel the grandness of this place just like during the 12th century.
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Inside the main temple is even more spectacular. The four towers of each corner and the highest center tower (43 meters high) represents Mt. Meru which is believed to be the center of the universe by Buddhism and Hinduism. Cambodians are very proud of this temple building which even found a place on the Cambodian flag.
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Entrances to the temple grounds. The main entrance was for the royals and the side entrances were for the animals and entourages
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This used to be the library.
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This used to be the bathing area before entering the temple.
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Carvings of Aspara dancers on the walls and decorative roofs surround the temple buildings
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The walls of the corridor depicting battle stories
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The top of the towers was the actual place where the praying practice occurs. The King needs to climb all the way to the top on hands and knees. Only the one with the handrails and re-enforced steps were opened for tourist.

Another temple in the area of Angkor is Banteay Srei.  This temple was first built in the 10th century by not of the royals but by the king’s counselor a scholar and philanthropist.  The temple used to be in the center of a Khmer village.  Therefore it is of the same size and height as the other Khmer dwellings.  The temple was dedicated to the Hindu God, “Shiva”.20180216_143456

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The temple was mainly built of red sandstones with elaborate decorative cravings as well as many cravings of devatas. So its modern name became Banteay Srei, meaning “Citadel of Women or Beauty”.

The temple not just suffered from natural erosion but also from looting and pilfering for its beautiful pieces. Attempts were being made to restore with as many of the original pieces as possible and made replicas of many pieces of artworks so that the original may be put in the National Museum for safekeeping.

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close view of the temple and elaborate decorative cravings

Note:  In Cambodia, one can survive on fruits.  They are not just healthy and delicious.  They are also pleasing to the eyes.

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Siem Reap and Angkor of Cambodia (I)(吴哥城-柬埔寨)

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Greeting dance,  Apsara Dancer
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Greeting dance -Apsara dancer
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Royal Residence

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An ornate Buddhist temple.

Siem Reap is a resort city of Cambodia, a gateway to Angkor, an important and largest UNESCO archeological site.  Angkor used to be the capital of the Khmer Kingdom during the 9th to 14th century.  The 400 sq. kilometers of Angkor area consists of monuments, temples,  residence, with features of different ancient urban plans, such as water reservoirs, hydraulic structures as basins, dykes, canals, and communication routes,  as well as its architectural and artistic significance, that can attest to an ancient civilization for several centuries unique to Southeast Asia.

Angkor Thom was the last capital of Khmer Kingdom built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century.

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Enter Angkor Thom via the causeway across the Siem Reap River and under the South Gate(Victory Gate)
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One may also take an elephant ride to Angkor Thom. Aligned on both side of the causeway is a seven-headed Naga which is a celestial being with a snakelike body and human head. Riding on it are Devas along the left side of the causeway and Asuras along the right side of the causeway.

Bayon, the state temple of Angkor Thom, situated in the center of Angkor Thom.  It was first built by King  Jayavarman VII the first Mahayana Buddhism King, in the 12th century and late 13th century.  Bayon was first built as a Mahayana Buddhism Temple but later it was modified to accommodate Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism.  Most notable are the serene faces on top of all the pointed towers.

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The temple does not seem to have its own walls or moats to define its area. It is only surrounded by enclosures of three layer of galleries. Center tower rises 43 meters above ground.
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All towers have these faces carved on top, up to approximately 400. It has been said that these faces are of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara or even King Jayavarman VII himself. People also noted that the most sincere smile is the picture of the lower right.
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decorative carvings on the towers
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Carvings on the columns and walls of the galleries are dancers and stories of life during the Khmer Kingdom.
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Within Angkor Thom is a Terrace of Elephants. The structures on it had all been degraded by nature except the platform which was used for the King to greet the returning victorious army.
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Another terrace used to have statues of animals and the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac animals. Unfortunately, they have been looted.
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Ta Prohm was a monastery in Angkor Thom. It is the only place that was better preserved. In 1992 it was included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
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Ta Prohm is much left to how it was found. The only work is to prop it up at certain places. It is also the best-preserved structure of this area due to the nature of the forest trees that had grown around it. There are 2 types of trees that cause the coverage. The large ones are of silk-cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) or thitpok Tetrameles nudiflora and the smaller ones are of strangler fig (Ficus gibbosa).[12] or gold apple (Diospyros decandra).