I happen to read something interesting when I was as young as 9 year old or so. The largest, biggest ‘Hindu Temple’ is nowhere in India, but it’s in Cambodia. Thus seed planted in my mind to visit that place in lifetime.
When my adventure team friends – Raj, Nikki and Jyo decided to venture out to explore South East Asia’s famous Angkorwat of Cambodia, it was the moment of dream realization to view that mega stricture I’ve heard about in childhood :)
It all began from October 2008. The most thrilling adventure, experience of a life time was about to begin with heavy backpacks and enough budget to survive a month long south east Asia backpacking.
we started off in our own Volvo Bus to Bangalore International Airport :)
It was a marathon Airport to Airport, nation to nation hopping memorable travel I’ve ever done ! The trail was – Bangalore to Singapore to Bangkok to Patong to Angkorwat of Cambodia ! The amazing journey criss-crossing Ocean and land.
Our first stop-over after Singapore was Bangkok. We shot some amazing photos in Thailand Palace, the water channel boat ride, etc. From there we rode to Patong;
A long train journey from Patong to the very borders of Cambodia. The journey was between evergreen Thai villages. This suppose to be the most beautiful train journey of the trip. What a sight it was ! A long train traversing between green cladded tiny villages. Friendly people, lonely houses, kids playing in verandas, neatly pressed uniform tucked teens, with their innocent smile and cuteness. I absolutely loved that journey.
I always wanted to see how the ambiance of my favorite Thai movie – My Girl (Fan chan) might be. The tiny village landscapes, amazingly simple houses, friendly people, small and lonely train stations were dream to remember now ! I felt I roamed around in the sets of Fan chan movie !
We reached a small village called Aranyaprathet; I was debating with Raj, this must be a once upon a time, Aranya pradesh or something :)
We suppose to enter Cambodia through -Aranyaprathet in the borders of Thailand.
From there we took a small auto tuk-tuk to Cambodia border & got our passport sealed and visa stamper made us cough-up extra bit as we were Indians(that was the explanation !).
It was a long-long car drive to City of Angkor. Next one week was amazing experience to feel ‘Hindu Culture’ so deeply bonded into fore corner Angkorwat temple town.
Angkor in Cambodia is a city of Hindu temple architecture in midst of deep forest land. It lies 5.5 km north of the modern town of Siem Reap.
Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city.
As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist.
There we realized that, It is not only the biggest ‘Hindu Temple’ it’s also world’s largest religious building. The discovery of this mammoth temple history is too adventurous and thrilling !
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “City Temple”. Once regarded as a barren land; now farmers are finding it difficult to do agriculture as water bodies are lushly filled. Kings of that era, has made finest irrigation and cleverly planned water bodies are serving the people even now !
Angkor was a massive city, although today much is lost. But the great temple remains more or less intact, and many other temples and buildings bear witness to the glories of that civilization.
We reached early in the morning. It was the sight to watch and wait for ! There was already a big crowd of tourists from all over the world to catch the majestic glimpse of world famous sun rise in the backdrop of mammoth Angkor Wat temple.
Given its size, and the carefully crafted consistency of design, the temple of Angkor should not be compared to other structures like the Aztec buildings of South America, the Acropolis of Athens, the Taj Mahal of India or the Gothic churches of Europe.
We must remember that AngkorWat is original and unique. There is no other building like it anywhere in the world. It is a part of the cultural heritage of all mankind and it remains a very special place.
We spent the whole day, circling the majestic temple and taking pictures interacting with tourists and guides. Angkor became powerful during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the 12th century.
Angkor Wat began as partly a temple to Vishnu as well as a place of worship for Mahayana Buddhists.
Angkorwat temple town is sadly called as ‘ruins of Angkorwat’. The master piece temple architecture’s are slowly getting ruined due to elapsing times.
UNESCO does a restoration work with the partnership of various nations like India, Japan & European nations.
One of the most intact piece of work inside Angkorwat temple is apsaras. You got to see it to adore it ! Due to the benevolent efforts of German Apsara Conservation Project, devatas (or apsaras) and other bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat look more lively and cute !
The Bayon is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak.
The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bass-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.
Tha Phrom, the temple totally maintained by Indian archeologists. This is also featured in Lara Craft’s ‘Tomb Rider’ movie. Tha Phrom has the trees growing out of temple walls.This is pretty famous photo I’ve seen in many places.
’South East Asia trip | 17 October 2008 to 05 November 2008′ Trip -