Temples of AngkorMonday, June 30, 2008
The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings - palaces, public buildings, and houses - were built of wood and are long since decayed and gone.
At the temple of Phnom Bakheng there are 108 surrounding towers. The number 108, considered sacred in both Hindu and Buddhist cosmologies, is the sum of 72 plus 36 (36 being ½ of 72). The number 72 is a primary number in the sequence of numbers linked to the earth’s axial precession, which causes the apparent alteration in the position of the constellations over the period of 25,920 years, or one degree every 72 years. Another mysterious fact about the Angkor complex is its location 72 degrees of longitude east of the Pyramids of Giza. The temples of Bakong, Prah Ko and Prei Monli at Roluos, south of the main Angkor complex, are situated in relation to each other in such a way that they mirror the three stars in the Corona Borealis as they appeared at dawn on the spring equinox in 10,500 BC. It is interesting to note that the Corona Borealis would not have been visible from these temples during the 10th and 11th centuries when they were constructed.
Angkor Wat, built during the early years of the 12th century by Suryavaram II, honors the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology. Consisting of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mt. Meru, its five inter-nested rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean. The short dimensions of the vast compound are precisely aligned along a north-south axis, while the east-west axis has been deliberately diverted 0.75 degrees south of east and north of west, seemingly in order to give observers a three day anticipation of the spring equinox.
In Siem Reap, you will see some car with no car registration number.???
Our 1st stop was the South Gate of Angkor Thom.
Mythic statues line the causeway over a moat leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom, literally called “Great City.” The images represent a Hindu myth of creation called the Churning of the Sea of Milk.
On one side of the causeway, fifty-four guardian deities (called “devas”) pull the head of a mythical serpent or “naga.”
On the other side, fifty-four images of demon gods (called “asuras”) push the tail of the serpent.
The whipping motion of the serpent’s body was said to churn the ocean and recreate the cosmos anew. The dancing female deities (each known as an “apsaras”) were the first beings to emerge from the sea of creation.
If you are lazy to walk, you can take the elephant ride @ US$20.00/ride.
Four faces, looking toward the cardinal directions, are carved on the sides of fifty-four standing towers at Bayon Temple. The preservation of many of the towers, however, is poor so it is difficult to know exactly how all the towers were carved. Over 200 giant smiling faces remain, but there may once have been between one and two hundred towers, each with four faces. These structures are known as “face towers.”
Lots of local selling Guide Book and handicrafts.
Next post......The Bayon Temple.