Temple Running In Angkor Wat

June 23, 2013 Cambodia 7 Comments 24,377 Views

Temple Running Through Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

She smiles seductively, her mouth is opened just a little bit; her hair is pinned-up to a crown; a precious cloth runs down her arms; a very short piece of fabric covers her hips. The Aspara dancer is an intriguing figure, which you’ll come across in almost every temple of Angkor Wat.

An Aspara dancer at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
An Aspara dancer at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

For most westerners, Angkor Wat induces an image of a lone European explorer hacking his way through the thick jungle of Cambodia when he by chance stumbling across the lost ruins of Angkor… Ruins, which turned out to become a wonder of the ancient world. To be frank, I was no different. Before I visited Angkor for the first time in 2007, I also thought that Henri Mouhot – a French naturalist – re-discovered these temples.

But this is just an urban myth; When Henri Mouhot came across the temples in 1860, Angkor was run-down, succumbing to nature and being in a serious state of disrepair, yet it was never lost as many people think… The location of all Angkor sites, which are on the tourist itinerary today, was always known to the Khmer and other westerners have been there before. Mouhot himself never claimed that he was the one to discover it, yet somehow he became associated with it.

Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world. It’s the crowning achievement of the classical Khmer Empire, which once ruled most of Southeast Asia.

Personally I think it’s one of these sights every tourist and/or traveller should have seen at least once in their lifetime. Angkor’s many temples will capture you immediately – the area is truly magical and the atmosphere one of a kind.

The Obvious:

Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat is the main temple and largest monument of the Angkor group, as well as the best preserved. It’s truly an architectural masterpiece. The main tower represents the mountain “Meru”, which is the centre of the universe for Hindus & Buddhists. The best time to visit is just before sunset, when the sunlight directly hits the temple structure.

Style: Angkor Wat
Reign: Suryavarman II

The main temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The main temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The main temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The main temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Ta Prohm.

Ta Phrom is definitely one of the most unique temples in Angkor. Unlike most temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found. Trees growing out of the ruins give you the impression that the jungle is taking over.

Style: Bayon
Reign: Jayavarman VII, enlarged by Indravarman II

Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Prohm temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon.

Bayon is one of the most enigmatic and powerful religious constructions. Today the temple is best known for the gigantic face sculptures that adorn its 37 surviving towers, facing in four directions on each tower.

Style: Bayon
Reign: Jayavarman VII to Jayavarman VIII

Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Bayon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

The Less Obvious:

Ta Som.

In spite of its ruinous state, Ta Som temple has a captivating beauty like very few of the Angkor temples. This comes from its remote location and the merge of nature with the temple. It’s located away from the crowds, and with continually growing plants and trees which makes visitors more curious to explore every dark corner of the temple.

Style: Bayon
Reign: Jayavarman VII

Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.^
Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Ta Som temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan.

Preah Khan is one of the largest Angkor temples, measuring 700 meters by 800 meters. It’s immense, beautiful and full of surprises. Definitely allow yourself that bit of extra time to see more than you’d expect in the first place.

Style: Bayon
Reign: Jayavarman VII

Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Preah Khan temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon.

The lovely temple of Mebon is a pyramid of receding terraces. The sculpture at the East Mebon include two-meter-high free-standing stone elephants at corners of the first and second tiers.

Style: Pre Rup
Reign: Rajendravarman II

East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
East Mebon temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Banteay Kdei.

Banteay Kdei has not really been restored (yet they are working on it right now) and therefore allows the visitor to experience what it may have looked like originally.

Style: Angkor Wat/Bayon
Reign: Jayavarman VII

Banteay Kdei temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Banteay Kdei temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Banteay Kdei temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Banteay Kdei temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Appreciate this Story?

Go tell your friends by sharing or tweeting it.

This Story is Tagged With:


7 Comments

Join the Discussion

“Temple Running Through Angkor Wat, Cambodia.”

  1. Nisa

    Thanks so much Jean, we really appreciate your lovely words about our photography!

  2. Hey Veronica!
    Yup, I always get itchy feet when looking at all the photos from Angkor. Hope you get a chance to visit this magical place some time as well!
    Best, Nisa

  3. Nisa

    Hi Mike!
    Every time I’m there I visit new temples…or the old ones have evolved because the jungle is taking over and therefore it looks different each time…can’t wait to visit again.
    Will read through your article too – thanks for sharing.
    Best, Nisa

Leave a Comment