Siem Reap 2015 || Preah Khan

First things first, I just had to say that Tumblr has made writing this post very very annoying. I used to scan my head for words while writing a blog post but as it is my third attempt to write this one down, I have now known this by heart. It is a bit frustrating that the previous attempts to save this have led me to an error message, but you know what they say, third time’s the charm.

I woke up on my first day of the tour a bit late (9 AM), and I’m blaming my bed in Cambana d’Angkor Suites because it is too sleep-inducing. Haha! I had my complimentary breakfast at the restaurant downstairs in preparation for the long day ahead.

My lens got foggy because of moisture and shit (I really don’t know how to explain this).

I paid $40 for a 3-day pass to the Angkor Archaeological Park. It is valid for a week and I highly suggest that if you have a week in Siem Reap, you space out your temple visits. There are so many things you can do and sights to see in Siem Reap besides Angkor Wat. Unfortunately, I only had three days to explore. Oh well, a reason to come back then!

I did the Grand Circuit and my first stop was Preah Khan. I entered via the Fourth Enclosure West Gopura. Take note that none of the photos I’m posting for this trip have been post processed – and yes, it really looked this way. Amazing, isn’t it?

I was listening in on one of the tour guides from another tour group, and he told the people that some of the heads have been chopped off either by thieves who sell it to collectors, or when the Hindus occupied this Buddhist temple. Hmm..

See that man in green in the photo below? He approached me while I was taking photos and proceeded to tell me which angles to take it so it looks like a postcard photo. I thanked him and started walking away, but he followed me to ask me for $5 for his “tip”. I politely declined, and yet he followed, saying that for $5 he will tour me around Preah Khan as well. I completely ignored him and was about to start brisk walking when another man popped out from the trees to tell me he can do it for $4. The first man then lowered his asking price to $3. I nope-d the hell out of there and kept on walking. Ugh.

Entering the Third Enclosure (I am basing this from the photo I took of the map)

Jayavarman VII, a king from the Khmer Empire,  dedicated the temple of Preah Khan to his father, Dharanindra, in 1191.

The amount of detail that went into making this fascinates me. Actual people had to make this by hand in the 12th century!

The antechamber connected to the central shrine for Vishnu. (I learn so much from other people’s tour guides, I would have probably gotten a very knowledgeable one if I had someone else to share the cost with haha)

I have a crappy photo of where Vishnu’s shrine once was erected, but.. it’s crap so here’s another photo for you guys (of something that’s not Vishnu’s shrine lol).

Preah Khan is one of the few monuments to have kept its original name. The founding stele is written entirely in Sanskrit with the name of the temple expressed as Jayasri, meaning “sacred sword”.

More than a single temple, the monument was in its time a real city with a whole population divided according to their functions. Oh, the things you can do with 56 hectares. My original home is being renovated? I’ll live in my huge temple city.

I am honestly not well informed which of the images are Buddhist or Hindu, and this temple has housed both images.

Some of the statues were destroyed.

Some of the niches are empty.. so maybe they were destroyed or removed?

The Hall of Dancers.

The temple was also a site of Buddhist studies with its retinue of spiritual masters and their disciples. During the Middle Period, a stupa was erected in place of Lokesvara in the central sanctuary, symbolizing Buddhism in all its forms. The holes used to hold bronze plates which of course became victim to temple looters.

There are several stand-alone places like this one that may have been small shrines (I have no guide, just an eavesdropper!).

Third Enclosure East Gopura with a giant cotton tree that grew on the architecture itself.

House of Fire

 

Fourth Enclosure East Gopura. There are so many kids who will hound you chanting “$1, please! For my education!”. I don’t know if living in a third world country myself has made me wary of beggars. Some of the kids will try to sell you overpriced postcards/magnets/scarfs/and other merchandise. Do not ask to take a photo of them and not buy anything because they might throw mud at you. I saw it happen firsthand with an elderly male tourist who asked them to pose for a photo for free.

East exit.. so I had to make my way back where the tuktuk was waiting.

So yay, my first temple post! I have too many photos in this post but I will try to keep it to a minimum for the remaining ones. 🙂

 

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