Have you grown weary of all those posts on the temples of Angkor yet? Are they starting to look all the same? Perhaps you're suffering from "Temple Fatigue".... And yet, temple fatigue never really hit us. We found most temples interesting and unique, but I'll keep the rest of my posts on the various temples short and sweet. Our post lunch started with.....
Called the "Citadel of the Cells", Banteay Kdei was built in 1181.
Banteay Kdei has been used as a monastery at different points in time.
The most well known feature of Banteay Kdei is the "Hall of the Dancing Girls". Where all of the columns feature beautiful bas-reliefs of Girls doing the Apsara dance.
Banteay Kdei has been kept somewhat unrestored, making for some fascinating viewing.
Some of which is due to poor construction and low quality materials. In addition, no one really knows who this temple was dedicated to, adding to the mystery.
For us, Ta Prohm proved to be one of the more intriguing temples.
Built in 1186 by Jayavarman VII to honor his family, when the efforts to restore the temples of Angkor by the French began, the École française d'Extrême-Orient decided to leave Ta Prohm in it's natural state.
It's impossible not to gaze upon the giant Kapok (silk cotton tree) trees whose roots have have become one with Ta Prohm. Several of the trees have taken root on the ceilings and walls of Ta Prohm, giving the temple an air of mystery.
You see the roots of the Kapok trees snaking their way throughout Ta Prohm.
When FOY MrB checked out our photos of Ta Prohm, he immediately told me, "I've seen this as the set for Tomb Raider." And he was correct, Ta Prohm is easily the most recognizable of the temples used as a backdrop for the movie Tomb Raider.
When we returned from vacation I read an article that mentioned the the Archaeological Survey of India will soon begin to do some restoration work on Ta Prohm. To my relief all work is planned so that the trees are "not disturbed in any way."
As we approached Ta Keo, we quickly noticed something unusual. There was no ornamentation, and it remained undecorated.
At around 1000AD, construction of Ta Keo ceased, and it was abandoned. Legend has it, that Ta Keo was struck by lighting, which was seen as a bad omen.
The temple of Thommanon is well restored, and small enough to enjoy quickly.
But the thing we'll always remember the most about Thommanon is the poor fellow on the right. While his parents and siblings were enjoying themselves, he was having none of it. Yes, "temple fatigue" was rearing its ugly head. His parents and siblings viewed this with much good humor....his brother even made sure to catch some great shots with the camcorder. I'm sure the tired little guy will hear about this for many decades to come! "Remember the time we went to Angkor, and you had a tantrum....."
Jayavarman II is credited as being the founder of the Khmer Empire, and according to legend, the Preah Khan, or "sacred sword" is said to have symbolized his power. It is speculated that this was the home of the mighty sword, a copy of which said to still be hidden away at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.
Like Ta Prohm, Preah Khan is left in a rather unrestored state.
After Preah Khan, Narin asked us if we wanted to revisit any of the temples we had seen to end or day. We decided that The Bayon had been our favorite site, and making a more detailed exploration of the wonderful bas-reliefs would be a nice way to end our 2 day visit to Angkor.
Narin decided to take us through the lower East Gate of Angkor Thom, known as the "Gate of the Dead":
It is less restored, and much more peaceful than the famous South Gate.
We ended our day, taking in the bas-reliefs of the Bayon in greater detail.
Narin dropped us back at our hotel. We showered and headed out to dinner.
Siem Reap is an interesting town....during the day, it is very calm, and sleepy. During the evening, after everyone has returned from the temples, it is a bustling, and busy tourist mecca.
During the day this street:
Is transformed to this in the evening.....
Though these street stands are more directed at feeding the locals.
You'll find an interesting variety of food at these night markets.
Chinese style roasted and BBQ'd meats seemed popular.
With grilled items a very close second.
A very typical meal for the locals goes this way; you walk up to a stand full of pots. It is perfectly fine to peer into the pots. You decided what you want to eat, and your meal comes with whatever is chosen and rice.
On this evening, noodles seemed to be very popular.
These stands use packaged dry noodles that are cooked and kept to the side. When an order is placed, the noodles are stir fried, with bean sprouts, soy sauce, hot sauce, and maggi, and sometimes served with a fried egg on top. A very cheap meal.