Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Angkor Wat

Let's go to Angkor Wat today, away from depressing news of the day into the jungles of Cambodia. This complex of more than 100 temples was built in the early 12th century by Suryavaram II to honor the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology. The temple with the tree growing out of it is explained below:

Unlike other temples at Angkor, Ta Prohm has been left as it was found, preserved as an example of what a tropical forest will do to an architectural monument when the protective hands of humans are withdrawn. Ta Prohm's walls, roofs, chambers and courtyards have been sufficiently repaired to stop further deterioration, and the inner sanctuary has been cleared of bushes and thick undergrowth, but the temple has been left in the stranglehold of trees. Having planted themselves centuries ago, the tree's serpentine roots pry apart the ancient stones and their immense trunks straddle the once bustling Buddhist temple.

Angkor Wat is now bustling with tourists, who are urged to arrive early if they want to take photos without people in them.

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