Cambodia part 2 ~ Temples

Sep 5, 2014 | Continuous Lighting, Location | 3 comments

01. The magical Bayon temple in Angkor Thom is a highlight not to be missed on any tour of Cambodia.

01. The magical Bayon temple in Angkor Thom is a highlight not to be missed on any tour of Cambodia.

Touring Cambodia at the start of the rainy season was definitely the right thing to do. There are far less tourists to the point that just off the tourist trail there were none at all. Tours were often led by official guides following arrows that took in the main parts of the temples but from one side only. I chose to ignore the arrows and found myself in an identical symmetrical half of the temple but without any tourists. Perfect!

02. The best time of the day to visit was at 5pm when all the coach tours had gone and the sun was going down.

02. The best time of the day to visit was late afternoon from 4pm onwards when all the coach tours had gone and the sun was going down. The colours in the stone are wonderful. Verdigris and rust were the dominant tones.

03. The random state the fallen stones are left in adds to the charm of the sites.

03. The random state of the fallen stones add to the charm of the sites. The smoke from incense burners perfumes the air and is a welcome delight.

04. Empty vistas and outbuildings to explore. The lack of roped of areas was a plesent surprise. I often climbed the steep precarious steps to reach the buildings atop the mounds.

04. Empty vistas and outbuildings to explore. The lack of roped off areas was a pleasant surprise. On several occasions I climbed the steep precarious steps to reach the buildings. The quiet side of the temples were great places to soak up the atmosphere and drama of the ancient history.

05. A few visitors remain by the pond that is famously used to capture the classic sunrise shot of Angkor Wat. Unfortunately the front of the temple is in netted scaffolding at this time.

05. A few visitors remain by the pond that is famously used to capture the classic sunrise reflection shot of Angkor Wat. Unfortunately the front of the temple is in netted scaffolding at this time so that shot is not an option.

06. The carving is sublime. Very deep reliefs in the older temples and finer shallow work in Bayon and Angkor Wat. I particularly like the battle friezes depicting the Elephants,

06. The carving is sublime. Very deep reliefs in the older temples and finer shallow work in Bayon and Angkor Wat. I particularly like the battle friezes depicting the elephants and prisoners bound in ropes. It reminds me very much of the carvings at Karnak in Egypt. Feet are always carved sideways for instance while faces are in all directions.

07. The temples can be enjoyed whatever the weather. The colours are rich and intense in the warm rain.

07. The temples can be enjoyed whatever the weather. The carvings are visually rich and intense in the warm rain. Tunnels lead off everywhere so it’s a great place for a spot of hide and seek :)

An example of deep carving

08. Top Right: An lovely example of moss covered deep carving I found in one of the more overgrown temple ruins. Bottom: Columns often had Greek and Roman influence with pedestals and capitals plus the classical expanding waist contour to the columns themselves. These temples were built a 1000 years after the peak of the Roman empire, 4000 years after the pyramids of Egypt and at about the same time as our 13 Norman Cathedrals in England. I often think more highly of temples abroad but the ones we have closer to home in Europe can match any others I’ve seen for stonemasonry, carving and art.

10. Ta Prohm or Angelina's temple as it is now know is the most dramatic.

09. Ta Prohm or Angelina’s temple as it is affectionately now known is perhaps the most dramatic. Made famous by the Tomb Raider film and game. The charm that this temple possesses comes from the jungle that was allowed to take hold in the ruins. It is largely cleared now leaving just a few of the big trees among the structures and piles of rubble. I was reading in the local paper that the plan is to remove the trees starting some time next year and reconstruct the temple. Apparently the trees are a health and safety risk. After this restoration the magic for me will be largely gone.

Camera: Fuji X-T1, 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm zoom lenses

My next post from Cambodia is the first of several featuring the portrait shoot sessions that I ran in some of the most fabulous urbex environments I’ve ever seen.  If you would like to join me on an extended 12 day tour and experience Cambodia in 2015 email Blaise or Linda at Essential Explorations to be put on the information list and we will keep you up to date with the details of what will be my last tour of this fabulous country. Also in the planning stages for 2015 are tours of Cuba and Burma. Email Blaise or Linda about those too.

3 Comments

Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.