Cambodia, Angkor Thom: Angkor Wat in the Morning
The road going through the jungle was still veiled into the darkness. WE met nobody. It was somewhat of mystery to see crowds gathering in front of Angkor Wat. They had been waiting, as we did, for the sunrise.
Angkor Wat is the largest and the most preserved temple in the area. It covers an area of approx. one square kilometer. Originaly, this used to be a Hindu temple, later it became a Buddhist one. Unlike other temples, this one faces the west and is surrounded by an outer wall. Along this wall there runs almost two hundred meters wide water moat.
We walked across a massive bridge made of sandstone blocks. Then we walked through the main gate and find a place to sit to have good view over the temple during the sunrise.
Soon, the sun started climbing up the sky and appeared above the 70-meter main tower. The main tower is in the shape of lotus flower. It is surrounded by lesser towers which makes beautiful panorama. At this moment, tourists didn't annoy us for almost everybody silently observed this divine phenomenna.
Soon we moved on from the entrance gate. We walked down about half-a-kilometer long sidewalk to the temple's entrance. The entrance consists of three high tiers. These are decorated by beautiful bas-reliefs displaying victorious battles of the royal troops, heaven, hell, and legends about gods. It is interesting that some of those are not finished. Some figures have their eyes missing, for instance.
The entire compound is huge. Yet in the morning, the number of places you can see is getting narrower. Local guards make some extra money by letting you go before the opning hour. In exchange for money, of course.
Still it was a great experience to visit Anghor Wat, the ancient temple. Regardless the heat, high admission rate, and omnipresent tourist crowds this was an extraordinary experience. We enjoyed our stay at Siem Reap. However, we saw only a fraction of what is around.
Text and photos: Hana Bašová
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