Here’s a confession: I never knew Cambodia existed until I was 14!
I had to read ‘The Clay Marble’ for my literature lessons, and it was through this book that I ‘discovered’ Cambodia and her people.
Back then, the internet was not as friendly as it is now, but nonetheless, I did a simple Yahoo search for Cambodia, and lo and behold, I found images of Apsaras carved into the wall of a mysterious temple, and THAT mysterious temple happened to be Angkor Wat!
While there is a detailed account of the history of Angkor Wat, it is still a mystical, magical place for many like me. Every time my friends and I discussed about travels, Angkor Wat and the Apsaras kept popping up in my mind, and I knew I had to visit it.
So here I was with Jenny, at our last stop of the day: Angkor Wat.
It was finally happening.
Our tuk-tuk driver dropped us at an entry point and mumbled instructions to us before going off, leaving Jenny and I to figure out the rest of the way.
First picture is of the lake that surrounds the entire Angkor Wat complex, and the second picture is, well I really don’t know! But looks like a mini temple.
While figuring out which way to go, the answer became more obvious as Jenny and I walked further and got dwarfed by this magnificent view:
The back entrance of the Angkor Wat!
Standing right in front of me was the very temple that had captured my imagination 11 years ago…
After taking a few pictures and examining them on my camera, I realized that the pictures really do not do justice to the actual size of the Angkor Wat… I could go on for days and days about how MASSIVE this giant actually is!
Therefore, I tried my best to take close up shots that, somewhat, accurately portrays the size of this ancient monumental wonder.
One of the nicer pictures I took of the three towers together. Also, look at how tiny that guy looks!
I knew that not many people would believe me if I told them how gigantic this temple is, so to convince them, I took some sort of a before and after picture. I am quite a large human being, but at the foot of the main sanctum, I look like some kind of mini plastic toy!
I can’t emphasize anymore on how big and magical this temple is.. Really, one has to visit and experience the grandness of this mystical place themselves!
It was a pity that the main sanctums were closed for maintenance, so we couldn’t venture up, so Jenny and I left the main sanctum to explore the other parts of the temple (I probably pissed Jenny off with my countless WOWs and OOOOOOHs, lol!) and this is what we came across:
I believe this was never restored.. Look at all the intricate artwork and the paint that has remained intact!
An ancient Khmer inscription on a pillar, which looks astonishingly similar to Tamil; I could even guess a few of the letters! (Disclaimer: I am not claiming that these are Tamil inscriptions.)
Look at how steep the stairs are!
A beautiful postcard picture of the Angkor Wat. I love the reflection on the surface of the pond.
One of the most memorable things about Angkor Wat is not the temple itself (I have so many pictures of it now!) but of the beggar children at the entrance. After we were done with the sightseeing and it was time for us to leave, Jenny and I started walking towards the main entrance, when we were swarmed by an army of children either asking for money or trying to sell us keychains and postcards.
Most of the children left when Jenny and I showed no interest, but this particular boy held my hand and walked alongside me, and he couldn’t have been more than seven years old.
What surprised me about this boy was that he spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable and intelligent. When he asked me where I was from, I jokingly told him I was from India, and he impressed me by naming a list of major Indian cities and asked me which one I was from!
I was very touched, and made an exception for him: I bought a pack of postcards for a dollar. I regret not taking a picture with this gem of a child, and I really pray for the well-being of this boy and his family.
It was a VERY long walk from the temple to the main entrance, and lucky for us, we were done with sightseeing for the day because the sky suddenly turned dark!
This was the last picture I took for the day because rrrright after this, it started pouring cats and dogs! Jenny and I ran for our dear lives and right into the comfort of our tuk tuk, which our driver had enclosed with a zip up canvas so that we would not get wet.
It was probably THE most tiring day of our trip, and Jenny and I retired to our rooms for the day and met only for dinner afterwards.
(To be continued…)