See sun set.
There are few popular places to see sunset in Siem reap such as Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup temple and boat ride on Tonle sap.The most popular one is Phnom Bakheng.After consider well if I should join the sunset over there .I decided not to join, with some reasons..1.There will be too many people gathering around which I prefer to avoid.If there’s less people than this ..of course I’d love to see sunset over there ,but after seeing picture of crowded from some other website I’m sure that I won’t make any effeort to go.2.There’s some regulation about the arrival time ..not later than 5.30 pm and huge groups of tourists have to queue up at the makeshift stairs for their way up and not much room at the top either,so I can imagine that it won’t be much pleasant.I prefer to see sunset my style…a little private,quiet and good view..at least some thing nature ...woods,mountains or water.I didn’t have many days for sunset in Siem Reap so I plan that the day I visited the Angkor Temples by bicycle should be the day,and I saw from the map that on the way back from small circuit I’ll pass the moat of Angkor Wat so that will be my sunset spot.After visited Ta Prohm temple I rode straight to the spot and it was just.. in time.There’s no body there at the moment,I chose a place that can see reflection of the sun on the water .It’s really serene moment .After a while ,there’s few locals stop their vehicle to take picture as well ,one family with bicycle also join ,sitting not far from me.Prepare mosquito repellant ,if you’d like to be there as well.Pewww… after such a long hot day …sitting there was very good..a little breezing…umm…I was happy that I decided to see sunset here than those of the popular places.I waited until it’s quite dark then continue riding back to the hotel. I prepare some torch for bicycle from home for safety riding in the dark.But if you prefer not to ride in the dark ,you just leave the spot when the sun disappear under the tree tops ,then you ‘ll have dim light just enough to arrive town at the very perfect time before completely dark.
(part 3) To visit Ta Prohm ..It’s small area so if there are too many tour groups at the same time,it'll be too crowded.,so if you need more peaceful moment ,come very early in the morning or late afternoon,take time to explore each corner.I myself didn’t explore the site thoroughly.I did mostly the surrounding of the site but not much details of the carving on the walls.I missed an interesting carving ..which is the one that look like Stegosaur.I’d love to see that one the most..look like I have to go back there again.
The central sanctuary is in the middle but the size is not that big ,even smaller than that of the two satellite temples.
This temple was the last temple of the day and from here I was heading to see sunset somewhere along the road.
(Part 2) There are 2 dominant species of trees that growing around the ruins. 1.Silk-cotton tree(Ceiba pentandra) is the larger one ,distinguish by its thick,pale brown roots with knobbly texture.2.Fig (Ficus gibbosa) is smaller ,with a greater mass of thinner,smoother grey roots.The plants take hold in a crevice usually where birds had deposited the seeds,the roots extend downwards to the soil,the roots grow thicker between rocks and gradually wedge open the blocks.Eventually,the tree become a support for the building but when it dies,the loosened blocks collapse,in this case the trees are the cause of destruction,that’s why we’ll see some of big trees are being supported in order not to collapsed.
We’ll see classic views of Ta Prohm ,of silk cotton tree and strangler fig rising over the buildings.I saw more of silk cotton trees that made the site look very impressive .To distinguish silk cotton tree from Fig tree…silk cotton tree has bigger root and some has shape like a giant anaconda ,it’s trunk is also very big and can reach the height of 25 meter or more.There are many types of Fig ..the specie here is Ficus Gibbosa which grow mainly in Asia.The root of fig is smaller than silk cotton tree and has mass aerial root growing downward.I think I have only one picture of Fig ..the last picture
(Part 1) From Ta Keo ,it’s about 1.3 km. further east to Ta Prohm.I arrived Ta Prohm very late afternoon ,sun still shine very strong towards the west entrance of Ta Prohm.Traditionally .. visits began on the west side but now that the east of the temple has been cleared and the road approach to it is easy . Many tour groups that visitting the place ,enter the site from the west gate and leave from the east gate ,but.. some did the other way round.I parked my bicycle right at the west entrance gate and walked in from there.There’s ticket check point ,just show the Angkor pass.We walked through the forest for about 300m. to the site.
Ta Prohm was built in late 12th to 13th centuries in Bayon style.It’s one of the major temples of Jayavarman VII.I like this temple very much because of it’s pureness image.It’s the effort of archaeologists from Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient that chose this site to be left in its natural state and it’s one of the best example of how most of Angkor looked on its discovery in the 19th century.This is an inspired decision and involved a lot of work to prevent further collapse(pic 5) and enough clearing of vegetation to allow entry.The trees that have grown interwined amoung the ruins make Ta Prohm atmosphere look romantic and mystical ..,make me have similar impression to Beng Mealea.
Ta Keo Temple
Ta Keo temple is one of the temple along the Small circuit of visitting Angkor temples.I didn't have time to explore this temple cuz almost end of the day and my aim was to visit another "must see" one in my list which is "Ta Prohm" and it should be the last one of the day so I just took a picture of Ta Keo that can do by the road side .Anyway I would like to share some information about this temple for you .Ta Keo temple was built around late 10th to early 11th century ,in "Khlaeng" style in the reign of king Jayavarman V who succeeded his father ..Rajendravarman II (builder of Pre Rup and East Mebon) Ta Keo stands out for being the first of these great undertakings to be built entirely of sandstone..,but its appearance is all the more massive for being incomplete.Indeed...the temple carving had only just begun when worked stopped.The temple is surrounded by moats,the outer banks measure 244 m. east -west /195m. north-south.,faced with steps of laterite and sandstone.The pyramid rises 14m.from the second terrace in 3 tiers,it's total height above the ground is 21.35 m..The pyramid is crowned by 5 towers,the central one being larger and on a higher platform than others according to the tradition plan.
This picture was taken from the west side of the temple,now is under restoration,ride further the road turn left and you'll see another view from it's south side.
After visitting Thommanon Temple,it's a pity that I have to skip visitting Chao Say Tevada which is right opposited to each other.I continue riding further east for about 160 m. and happen to see this thing on the left side of the road .At first I just rode past it but I turned around cuz thinking that it's very interesting but still don't know what was it.Now I found some infomation for you.It's called "Spean Thma" means "Stone bridge".It was built in "post Bayon" style around 15-16th century.It is one of the few Khmer Empire era bridges to have survived to nowadays.It was built on the former path of the Siem Reap River between Angkor Thom and the Eastern Baray and it was probably rebuilt after the Khmer period, as it includes many reused sandstone blocks.The 14 narrow arches are 1.10 m wide.The builders here used exactly the same method for spanning space as in the temples,that is,narrow corbelled arches.This necessitated a bridge that was twice as wide as the river in order to achieve sufficient passage for the water to flow through.Even so this later proved insufficient and ,since it was built,the canalised river has changed course to go round the bridge.
Several other bridges on the same model are visible ,for example... in the Angkor site (Spean Memai) and at several locations of the former empire. On the road from Angkor to Beng Mealea but I missed it..,the Spean Praptos is one of the longest with 25 arches.May be next time when I have chance to go back to Sien Reap again ,I'll find out how it looks like.
I continued riding along Victory way towards east only about 400m from the Victory Gate.There are 2 temples,one on the left side of the road which is Thommanon and another on the right side of the road whicj is Chao Sai Teveda.There are many temples in my list that I wanted to visit but the time was running out before sunset..so I have to choose.I quickly take a glimpse of Thommanon but I didn't walk inside the building.There were almost no visittors at the moment,so I have quite a peaceful moment there.This temple was built in Angkor Wat style in the reign of Suryavarman II,however, there is some disagreement as to the precise date it was built. Some believe that the distinctive carvings of females, known as devatas indicate that they were built during the reign of Jayavarman VI (1080–1113 AD).It was completely restored in 1960s by the French archaeologists by adding concrete ceiling in order to create the correct interior space.It's has typical layout of a single=towered temple of the period.The east facing sanctuary is topped with a tower and connected by a short corridor ,or an "antarala"(Antarala is a small antechamber or foyer between the garbhagriha (shrine) and the mandapa) The three make a central unit,set in an 60x45 m.enclosure.Gopuras on the east and west give access to the enclosure.There's no trace of North and South gopuras but the gaps in the wall show that they were intended.The enclosure was surrounded by a moat but now dry.There's a single "library" in the south -east corner.
The time I visitted this temple ,there was preparation of a party in front of the west gopura as you can see in pic 4.I guess that it'll be a wedding party.
There are many shops selling souvenirs and some snack and drinks near the road side so if you are with bicycle,no need to worry about the food and drink along the ride.There are enough of them.
Angkor Thom or the "Great city" lies on the west bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap, about a quarter of a mile from the river. The city walls, 8 m high and flanked by a moat, are each 3 km long, enclosing an area of 9 km². The walls are of laterite buttressed by earth, with a parapet on the top. There are gates at each of the cardinal points, from which roads lead to the Bayon at the centre of the city. As the Bayon itself has no wall or moat of its own, those of the city are interpreted by archaeologists as representing the mountains and oceans surrounding the Bayon's Mount Meru.Another gate,the Victory Gate,the one in the picture,is 500 m north of the east gate; the Victory Way runs parallel to the east road to the Victory Square and the Royal Palace north of the Bayon.
After visitted the Elephant Terrace I rode bicycle to the east along this road which is right in front of the middle staircase of Elephant terrace.It's good pleasant ride through the forest.It's about 1,500 m. from Elephant terrace to this Victory gate.
The second picture ,..as I mentioned before..that most of the heads of the statues of gods and asuras are missing ,this is the one at Victory Gate.The most restored and most complete one is at the south gate.
Leper King Terrace
This massive terrace,names after the 15th century sculpture that was discovered on top.This terrace stands independent of the other buildings that surrounds the Royal Square of Angkor Thom.It's probably dates to the reign of Jayavarman VIII.It was built in Bayon style, though its modern name derives from the sculpture discovered at the siteThe statue depicts the Hindu god "Yama", the god of death.The statue was called the "Leper King" because discolouration and moss growing on it was reminiscent of a person with leprosy, and also because it fit in with a Cambodian legend of an Angkorian king Yasovarman I who had leprosy.The name that the Cambodians know him by, however, is Dharmaraja as this is what was etched at the bottom of the original statue.The original is in the National Museum in Phnom Penh for saftey as even the cement copy one which replace it was decapitated! But in the picture 3 it's already has been repaired
The side of the terrace projects into the Royal square measure 25 m. but the corners are indentation,making it more like octagonal than square.The three outer faces of terrace..south,east and north are all carved in deep relief with mythological scenes.These are in 6 and 7 registers and feature dieties carrying swords,devatas and other figures,the lowest tier has nagas and marine creatures.The best relief is on the east facing extension wall immediately to the north of the terrace (pic 2)
I didn't have time to visit Phimeanakas thoroughly.I just had a quick look of it's east area.Phimeanakas was built in Khleang style and some parts are in Bakheng and Bayon style,built in the reign of Jayavarman V and Udayadityavarman I and Suuryavarman I onwards,which dated from 11th -end of 16th centyry.This royal palace was continued in use almost uninterruptedly.The area underwent many transformations and restorations.
The area that I visitted was right next to Elephant terrace ,it's the first group of Phimeanakas 's buldings,built by Suryavarman I,was surrounded by a moat of which some trace remain as you can see from pictures.
pic 1. You can see Phimeanakas at far end in the picture.
pic 2 .Standing on the platform ,and from that platform we can see Elephant Terrace next to this place.(pic 3)
pic.4 The first group of buildings ,same one as I was standing on pic 2,3.
After visitting the Bayon,many visittors went back to town but I continued with my bicycle further to Elephant Terrace,it’s only 200 m.further north.The Terrace of the Elephants is part of the walled city of Angkor Thom,looking over the Royal square ,used by king Jayavarma VII as a platform for royal reception pavilions and to view his victorious returning army. It was attached to the palace of Phimeanakas, of which only a few ruins remain. Most of the original structure was made of organic material and has long since disappeared. Most of what remains are the foundation platforms of the complex. The terrace is named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face.
The 350m-long Terrace runs north as far as the terrace of the Leper King.There are 5 projecting stairways symmetrically placed,three in the center and the other two at either end.The staircase is flanked by three-headed elephants with their 3 trunks pulling lotuses from the ground(pic 2,3 )There are only few fine carving lotus left ,they are enclosed by a small fence for the meaning of "don't touch" (pic 3) Beyond this ,the 3m-high wall is carved with one long continuious scene of elephants with their mahouts,in hunting scenes.The main central stairway is sculpted with life size lion- headed and garudas.(pic 4)
Angkor Thom (5) The Bayon.
The bas reliefs…The Bayon has 2 sets of bas reliefs,carved at different times.Those on the walls of the outer enclosure were carved earlier about the beginning of 13th century and the subject was about historical ,from battles with Chams to scenes of daily life .The inner bas reliefs cover the interrupted walls of the inner enclosure and were carved in the second half of 13th century when,under Jayavaraman Vlll ,the Bayon was converted to Hindu worship.Their subjects are from Hindu mythology.
There are 8 sections of bas relief along the gallery of the third enclosure,each of them 35m. long and 3m. high.The bas reliefs from south gallery ,east section are probably the best known of the Bayon bas relief.It’s battle between Khmers and the Chams(The Cham people ]are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They are concentrated between the Kampong Cham Province in Cambodia and central Vietnam's Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Phan Thiet, Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang areas. )
1.The naval battle in the great lake.This picture is the Chams boat.Chams have wear short-sleeves tunics and helmets,carrying spear and pronged shields.
2.The Khmer warriors have close cropped hair and wear the usual loin-cloth and arrangement of ropes around their chests and necks.
3.The battle between Khmers and Chams continues on the lake and on land.There are so many historical carving around the wall that I didn’t show you all.You must see by yourself.Give yourself some time to watch them around, and it’s better to hire a local guide to explain the story.It’s tempting to see the entire outer bas reliefs of the Bayon as an historical sequence.At least the events relating to the Chams appear to begin here and to end round the corner at the north end of the east gallery.
4,5 The inner bas reliefs leave no long panel but are broken up into small sections,covering angles ,corners and the walls ,and even inside some of the small vestibules.The subjects are for the most part of Hindu mythology,events from Indian epics that had long been popular amoung the Khmer.These 2 pictures are the only example of them,there are many more beautiful pieces.
Angkor Thom (4) The Bayon.
Pic 1.This is one of my favorite photo of The Bayon.This face was carved very delicately,the skin is smooth compared to the stone around it.I feel that the face is so lively and can’t help to think that he’s smiling.Look at the eyes ...looks so real .. looking downwards in a very soft and kind way..like they are not stone.I even see the eye lid and eye lashes..!!
2,3,4.The upper terrace at the moment was very hot ,the heat was really tense .One good thing about the heat...the tour group won’t be long ,they just quickly take pictures and go,so if you can stand the heat a little bit, wait until each groups go away,then you’ll have the moment of peace and calm in such a place.It's better to come here very early morning or late afternoon.The shade of sun light will give you more beautiful picture.
You’ll see many face-towers surround the central massif tower.And fine devatas (deity) adorn the walls of central massif which is round in plan but infact ,originally there were 4 projecting porches at the cardinal points but later the angles were filled in with 4 more radiating chapels.There are walls connecting all and complete the circumference.
5.The south inner gallery ,with the central massif beyond.
Angkor Thom (3) The Bayon.
This State temple of Jayavarman Vll is one of the most mysterious and powerful religious construction in the world.The temple itself is composed of 2 galleried- enclosures.Dominating the whole arrangement of gallerries and terraces are the face-towers,some over the gopuras,others over the corner angles,and others free standing on the upper terrace but the number of faces are still dispute because many were added later.
1,2,4,5 .At the upper terrace ,you'll get wonderful view of faces-towers,which are shrines.There are many views of these faces,some in profile,some framed by doorway. I like the first picture the most.
3.When passing through the first gopura ,don't forget to notice the dancing apsaras ont the pillars.The pillares are 4.5 m .high and on the outer bas-relief gallery .The south section of the east gallery and the east section of south gallery are the most interesting.
Angkor Thom (2)
To enter the Bayon area,there are 5 gates ,all five gates are similar,but the south gate is the most extensively restored and is the most complete.Regulary use has helped to save the statues of the gods and asuras (demons) that lined its approach.Most of the heads at another gates have been stolen and only the north gate retains a number of complete figures.Two rows of the figures each carry the body of giant serpent ,a seven headed naga(but now damage) The figures on the left are gods while on the right are asuras.The use of naga balustrades lining the approach to temple and useually across a moat was common and it's beleived that the purpose was to link the world of men(outside) and world of gods (inside) You can see the gate itself is 23 m.high,has triple tower carved with 4 faces ,the first look of the Bayon.But the faces were added late than the main construction.
1.The south gate,it's very narrow that a tuk tuk can pass only one at a time even bicycle has to wait.You can see asuras are on the right.The city walls are 8m high.
2.The gods are on the left side of the bridge.
3.,4 The monkeys waiting for food from people along the passage to center of the Bayon.Some body may think that human should not spoil wild animal by feeding them but local here told me that we have to feed them because there are much less trees and food source for them.Of course the people here are very poor so all the fresh fruits and food are all picked and eaten by human so there's nothing left in the wild for monkeys.So everyday there are many kind people come to feed these monkeys.You'll see them almost all day but many start to come at late afternoon cuz it's a little cool down.But you must be careful not to leave your belongings without attention,cuz these monkeys are still naughty ,not as cute and tame as they seem,they may take anything away from you ,..food ,camera,sunglass...they are not that aggresive or dangerous.. but just watch out your things.
5.The Bayon ..south side.
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