Ta Phrom is, with Angkor Wat and the Bayon, one the most-celebrated temples of Angkor, definitely a must-see site as part of the trilogy above. If Angkor Wat impresses by the grandeur of its architecture, and the Bayon does it by its enigmatic symbolism, Ta Phrom impresses by its romantic atmosphere due to the astonishing merger of nature and...more
Broadly known as "The temple of the face-towers", the Bayon is one of the most enigmatic and astonishing Angkor monuments, rivaling in greatness with Angkor Wat. While Angkor Wat impresses with its majesty and geometrical perfection, the Bayon does it with its feeling of mysterious and fantastic. Built by the Khmer at the peak of their civilization...more
Angkor Wat is the biggest religious building in the world. It is bigger than any other temple in Asia, the Great Pyramid in Egypt or St. Peter’s in Rome. It is the grandest of all Khmer temples and, in its heydays, the complex was a city in its own right.Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century at the peak of the Khmer empire’s wealth and power....more
Style and Dedication:One of the earlier temples, Banteay Samre was originally a Hindu sanctuary and followed the same architectural style as Angkor Wat, albeit obviously on a smaller scaleBuilder:Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early to mid 12th century (although this is essentially a guesstimate, no actual indication of a date was...more
Style and Dedication:Ta Prohm was built as a Mahayana Buddhism temple and university and as such is another one of the 'flat temples', with 5 retaining walls encircling a central sanctuary. Some of the structures have collapsed due to erosion/vegetation, but the layout is still fairly clear.Builder:Jayavarman VII, in late 12th/early 13th...more
Style and Dedication:The temple is a Mahayana Buddhism sanctuary, but with smaller shrines to Hindu deities around the main sanctuary as well (for a total of over 400 gods and goddesses). Rectangular galleries, courtyards and corridors around the main sanctuary make this a pleasant place to wander around.Builder:Jayavarman VII, in late 12th...more
Style and Dedication:One of the temples that was built as a Mahayana Buddhism temple/monastery straight away, the building is in the Bayon style with Angkor Wat influences (or vice versa, but personally I saw more of Bayon in it)Builder:Jayavarman VII, in late 12th-early 13th centuryDescription:As a Buddhist monastery, it was built on ground level...more
Style and Dedication:As with many temples in Angkor area, the main deity here is the Hindu god Shiva, but it also honours the parents of the king. Style is similar to that of Pre Rup, and it is also a Mount Meru rappresentation.Builder:King Rajendravarman, in the 10th centuryDescription:Built primarily in sandstone and brick, the temple has two...more
Style & Dedication:Bakong represents the first application of the temple-mountain architectural formula on a grand scale, and featured all the same elements that have later come to characterise te temple mountain style (i.e., moats surrounding the pyramid).Builder:Started by Indravarman I, Bakong was the work of a number of kings, with the top...more
Builder:Kavindrarimathana, who was a minister during the reign of Rajendravarman II. It did not survive in its original shape though, having been modified by one of the most prolific builders - Jayavarman VII.Description:Not a temple this time around, but a reservoir of water with landings and some beautiful statues of nagas, garudas and a couple...more
Style and Dedication:Temple-mountain, representation of Mount Meru, which was surrounded by a moat representing an ocean. The principal deity of the temple is Shiva.Builder:Rajendravarman, around year 960 ADDescription:As with Ta Keo, there are five towers on the on the top level of the pyramid temple, one at the centre of the platform and one in...more
Style and Dedication:Temple-mountain in Khleang style, representation of Mount Meru, which was surrounded by a moat representing an ocean. The principal deity of the temple is Shiva.Builder:Jayavarman V, around year 1000 CEDescription:The temple, possibly the first to be built entirely of sandstone by Khmers, remains unfinished without much in the...more
Walking through the the compound of Banteay Kdei, we followed the dirt path that led us towards the east gate. Looking pass the gate was a elongated structure known as Sra Srang - an artificial lake that would have been a lovely place to relax during the era of Jayavarman VII.more
Smack in between Ta Prohm and Sras Srang, Banteay Kdei is one of the more derelict temples in the Angkor region. Many stones lay around, and also, the stones forming the walkway are may not have been properly laid.But this temple is a true temple of "As it is". This may have been how it was found. So it feels rather special to walk through the...more
Traditional Khmer music feels the air as you walk out the east gate of Ta Prohm. It adds to the unique experience of visiting these traditional temples. The team of musicians dish out lovely sounds to entertain tourists and what they hope for in this impoverished nation, is a small donation to get them going.These musicians are actually war...more
Within the premises of Ta Prohm is a chest thumping location called Prasat Kuthrum. My guide told me that people with problems and are heavy hearted would stop by this building to thump their chest.Firstly, one would have to have their backs to the wall. Then start thumping your chest and what you hear would be the unique reverberation. Loud but...more
Like other temples, the walls of Ta Prohm are adorned with various carvings - Devatas, Apsaras and Animals. One interesting animal, if you can find on the wall, is a carving of a stegosaur. With this, questions are abound. Were there stegosaurus during the time of the carving somewhere around the 12th and 13th century? Were there other animals that...more
There are so many temples to visit and many a times I do not recommend tour groups is because they would just ship you off from one destination to another. If you really want to experience the temple to the fullest, travel by yourself. Hire a guide if you think you want to hear more abou the temples. If not, a visitors' guide may be good enough.But...more
As what one can see when visiting the castles of Scotland, moats prove to be very effective form of protection against the enemies. It slows down the progress of the intruders and make it difficult for them to enter the compounds of the area once the main doors are closed.With the Khmer saying of "Where there's water, there's fish", I'd believe...more
Originally known as Rajavihara, Ta Prohm is a must-see after Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. King Jayavarman VII built this temple as a dedication to his mother. This locale was used as a monestary and also a university.In its heyday as listed in a Sanskrit inscription, the temple took about 80,000 people to maintain and it also came with priests and...more
The Angkor complex is quite far from Siem Reap hotels themselves, a – given the heat – the best way to get there is to hire a taxi. I've hired one for the duration of the stay, at about USD30 per day (plus the tip at the end). You can either arrange your own or have your hotel arrange one.
The complex itself is vast, and the easiest way to get around is, again, the rental taxi. The easiest if to hire the taxi for the day when arranging transportation from Siem Reap to the complex in the morning – or even your entire duration. Otherwise on the busier days it might be a challenge to find a taxi to take you between the more remote of the temples
The driver will wait for you at each of the temples and then take you to the following one. This would allow you to explore 3 to 5 temples a day, without over-stretching yourself. The driver can also advise you on when it's best to visit individual temples as at least mine was familiar with when the bigger groups would come and go.
You will often be surrounded by sweet and beseeching children, begging for you to buy things or to just give them money. They are lurking in the most unlikely places. Their English is great and its very difficult to say no.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
Bring lots of suntan lotion and calamine (in case you get a sunburn). Personally, I think it's better off to have a long sleeve cotton blouse and scarf (especially to cover the nape). Suntan lotion mixed with lots of sweat is not nose-friendly.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Also don't forget the wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. An unbrella will also come in handy for the occasional showers during the wet season. And drink plenty of water. Get a small towel to towel off the excess sweat too.
Style & Dedication:Stepped pyramid structure in brick, Ak Yum is probably the first example of the temple-mountain style. Inscriptions indicate that a temple dedicated to the Hindu ‘god of the depths’ was previously located on the same spot.Builder:First started in the second half of the 8th century, the temple was expanded during the reign of King...more
Builder:Built during the reign of Jayavarman VII.Description:Just north of Neak Pean, Krol Ko is a small temple with a single central tower surrounded by two walls. There are some interesting carvings with columns, apsaras and garudas, in particular along the enclosure wall. There are few tourists at Krol Ko, making it a refreshing break from the...more