“…of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of.”

 

AngkorWatMonkeys16
Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys12
Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys7
Angkor Wat

As we made our way back to the western side of the Angkor Wat complex, we started to encounter many more people. Most of those who gathered to watch the sunrise had finally made their way into the temple and were filling the central courtyards. It was much more peaceful when we had the place to ourselves. We were there on a Buddha day, so the steps up to one of the central “mountains” in the center was closed. Calling them steps is generous – it’s like a stone ladder without spaces between the rungs. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed not to make the trek to the top.

AngkorWatSunrise26
Angkor Wat – sadly this section as closed when we were there
AngkorWatMonkeys9
Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys10
Carving at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys13
Sweeping at Angkor Wat

In the central temple, you can see a throne of sorts the king would have used, and today there are a series of Buddhas with their attendant accessories near that space. The bright oranges and yellows so ubiquitous in Thailand and Cambodia are a sharp contrast against the gray stone. Even the Buddhas that have been beheaded by time or invaders are treated with the utmost respect and draped in golden cloth. There was a very young monk there sweeping on our first trip through the area – it’s not uncommon for young orphans or troublemakers to be entered into the temple. It provides structure and education, and the boys can disrobe when they become adults if the monastic life is not for them. I don’t know if this boy falls into either category, but I would guess he’s in his early teens. When we came through the second time on our way out, we saw an older monk who was giving blessings symbolized by a red band he tied on the people’s wrists for a dollar or two.

AngkorWatSunrise4
A young monk sweeps up at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys22
Buddhist monk at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys2
Buddha at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys24
Buddhas at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys1
Buddhas at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys25
Detail of the Buddha’s altar at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys26
Detail of the Buddha’s altar at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys14
Detail of the Buddha’s altar at Angkor Wat

While exploring one of the side temples, we spotted monkeys climbing on some of the scaffolding. They were playing with each other and making a ton of noise. It was fun to watch them, but as we came out of the main temple a few minutes later, we encountered more. It’s like they heard all the people in the temple and wanted to see what was what. One of them was particularly photogenic and posed for me for quite a few shots. As I mentioned in my first Angkor Wat post, the idea that these guys were hiding in the dark temple when we came through the first time is not a comforting one. But it’s clear that they’re very used to humans, so it’s all good.

AngkorWatMonkeys6
Monkeys at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys5
Monkeys at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys4
Monkey at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys19
Monkey at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys21
Monkey at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys20
Monkey at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys23
Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys3
Carving at Angkor Wat

Check back tomorrow for my final post about Angkor Wat.

Title quote: António da Madalena, a Portuguese monk, who was also the first European to record seeing Angkor Wat, in 1586

AngkorWatMonkeys15
Carving at Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys18
Angkor Wat
AngkorWatMonkeys17
Angkor Wat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s