walk a-musing

Friday, September 15, 2006

Angkor - Part 3

Next is the 'Ta Phrom' temple. This is the one which has been left to nature, trees growing all over it and around it.
Massive trees draping their fat roots down over the walls, reminiscent of pythons, crumbling walls and collapsed doorways. There weren’t too many people when we went. It was evening time, with long shadows, and quiet, and V wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible. Must have felt eerie. I would have liked to sit quietly and absorb the atmosphere, but no way. (Some of the photos which would have showed the atmosphere better, had us in their center, and hence I havn't posted them here.) A fantastic place. Again, I tried to imagine the first people who 'rediscovered' this place....how they might have felt.

There were many other temples, in various stages of ruin. One temple, with one part dedicated to Shiva, another part to Vishnu and another to ancestor worship.
There was one tiny temple with beautiful brick sculptures of Vishnu and Lakshmi.

There were a few hilltop temples which were wonderful at sunset.
There was one which was in the middle of a pond, except that there is no water now.

If history fascinates you and it is not clear, written, history and leaves room for a lot of speculation, WOW, this is a wonderful place. Who were these kings, why do they all have Indian names, how many were actually Indians, and how much of it was Indian influence on local people, why did they build such astounding temples and why did they finally abandon them? How could the people in the region have forgotten all about them within 200/300 years? (The first records talk of a king of Cambodia 'discovering' these temples in the 15th century, when the temples were built between 8th and 12th Century). All along history, people have been re-rediscovering them, but it took this French guy with influence among the British who finally got the world's attention on it. The books talk of 'Sanskrit' engraved on temple walls, but to us it didn’t look like Sanskrit. It looked like a combination of south Indian scripts and Sanskrit. What was this language? Perhaps there are known answers to many of these questions, but I still havnt found them. Most intriguing.

Other things about Cambodia: Naturally, the country side and vegetation reminds us much of India. And watching all the people, one wonders at the life in the same place 2 or 3 decades ago, during the Polpot era. You see very few old people. All taken care of by Polpot. The population is very young. All shops seem to be managed by really young girls.
Something that disgusted me: The trafficking. It is sickening. There are ads every where saying 'abuse children here, go to jail in your own' and such. There was a place selling tiny brass figures of Hindu gods, and among them were various obscene figures. It is really shocking.
Something that impressed me: The little children. They do most of the selling in the streets,: scarves, bangles, small artifacts... In spite of all the poverty, they seem to be so cheerful and happy. There was a little girl in one temple who brought a little paper to me and I thought she was trying to sell me something and I said I didn’t want it. She indicated that she wanted to give it to me and when I took it she smiled and ran away. She had drawn a flower and leaf on it! I felt so ashamed and also sad that I couldn’t give her anything in return.
Something that inspired me: I saw so many elderly people, many of them rickety, from all over the world come to see the temples . They braved the sun, the heat, and climbed hillocks to see a pretty sight. With walking sticks or someone for support they were walking all around the temples and admiring them. Really impressive.



  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger PRIDERA said…

    Thanks for taking through this wonderful journey Anu. The picture posted with the tree at the entrance of the temple is just amazing !
    I am not sure how many people are aware of this place ... marketing really helps in getting visitors and tourists ... something Cambodia can capitalise on and improve their economy.

  • At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Rajani said…

    Fascinating! One thing that struck me was the lovely names of the places/temples..They sound so musical...
    Hey, I'd like to leave a msg for Pridera, if it's ok here..Her blog doesn't allow for non-bloggers(like me) to leave comments. Any specific reason...?

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dont know if ur aware, but u've got a few of us here - on the other side of the globe visiting ur blog regularly! Must say, adding this on my favs list has been worth it! Pics r beautiful...u've inspired me to blog again! Have looked up a name too:)

  • At 11:31 PM, Blogger Anu said…

    Pridera, Yes, isn't that doorway lovely? The other side has the face of a Buddha and looks even more striking. But since the sun was on this side, the photos from the other side did not turn out very well.
    True, not many people are aware. Since the country is still recovering and the countryside is full of landmines, they have not been able to capitalise on other possible tourist spots. Only the really keen make a trip just to see Angkor.

    rajani, Haha, dont they? If you like, here are a few more names of temples which I hadn't mentioned: Preah Roop, Prasat Kravan, Preah Khan, Neak Pean....;)
    If Pridera does not notice your message I will leave a comment on her blog on your behalf and she can reply.

    Anonymous, That is really a pleasure to know! But why not leave your name? Anyway, when you start the blog and leave a comment here, I will surely drop by.

  • At 3:41 AM, Blogger Raj said…

    Lovely posts- all three parts. And great photos. If you do find the answers to the questions you have asked in the last part, do share with the rest of us. Intirguing- this ancient link between India and a land across the ocean.

  • At 3:41 AM, Blogger Raj said…

    Lovely posts- all three parts. And great photos. If you do find the answers to the questions you have asked in the last part, do share with the rest of us. Intirguing- this ancient link between India and a land across the ocean.

  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger PRIDERA said…

    thanks Rajani for visiting my blog.
    I have changed the settings, hopefully you are able to post the comments now.

  • At 4:00 PM, Blogger Bhargav said…

    Thanks Anu for the wonderful pictures. The bas relieves are something I haven't seen before. Not that my experience with architecture is really good. One thing I observed was, that the bas relieves are on inlaid bricks and not on single solid pieces of rocks. Are such relieves found elsewhere?
    The pictures depict a journey, the journey of the temple towards becoming one with nature - which we call ruins.

  • At 4:30 PM, Anonymous disha said…

    beautiful, I just learnt a lot :D and tells me that the world hasnt shrunk even all that recently. There is much more than meets the digital eye

  • At 9:10 PM, Blogger Swathi said…

    lovely, i was touched by that lille girl's drawing.

  • At 1:13 AM, Blogger Anu said…

    raj, Thanks. I will soon compile what I have read about the history of ancient Indian influence on Cambodia and write a post.

    bhargav, The bas reliefs are not on brick, but on blocks of stone, but the blocks are not huge and may appear like bricks. Only one temple is made of brick and the bas relief of Lakshmi that I have posted is from that temple.
    A journey, yes - thats an intersting way to look at it!

    disha, Haha, India seems to have been a leader of globalisation in those days!

    Swathi, Yes, that was really touching. Replying to your comment on part 1, I feel these are not just temples, but a great fascinating mystery.

  • At 2:11 PM, Blogger starry nights said…

    Anu..thank you for sharing this journey.really beautiful. I love the pic of the sunset.the temples are so beautiful.I have to read part 1 &2.

  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous priya said…

    Nice pictures and I just admired the one with many branches which walked half way entering the temple.

  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger Anu said…

    Lalitha, I see you have gone through part 1 and 2 as well. Good to know you liked it!

    Priya, Welcome, Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger kaunquest said…

    Wow! Amazing pictures!

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger nevermind said…

    Wow! Like you said, imagine how the first person who 'rediscovered' the place must have felt. And about the mysteries of histories unwritten, there's always something so irresistibly intriguing about that,isn't there?

  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous chandni said…

    lovely pictures and post!

  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger Shruthi said…

    Anu, I could read all three posts at last! Absolutely wonderful! You could send the rest of the pics to me, you know ;)
    Like Raj says, if you could compile the history and facts and all that, and put it up as a post, that would be just great!
    More such posts, please! Demandu!

  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger Vikas said…

    good pic and post.World tour on PC;)

  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Emma said…

    That was really wonderful - gave us a fascinating insight into the temples. Lovely pictures as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anu, Came to your blog thru Shruti's. Wonderful post and very nice pictures.

  • At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Kamini said…

    Your friend RajK (of the dopaise blog) alerted me to your blog, and I really enjoyed reading your Angkor posts and looking at the pictures. My family and I visited Cambodia last year, and I've put up my write-up and pictures, too, if you'd like to drop by and visit my blog. Thanks for the memories!

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