Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Temples of Angkor (East Baray)


On our 3rd day in the afternoon, we checked out the temples of Angkor located near East Baray (8km north of Siem Reap).  After the last one here, we decided to go back and explore more of the grand Angkor Wat. :)

Prasat Kravan (The Cardamom Sanctuary)

Kravan is an unusual arrangement of five towers in a row on one terrace. They are built of brick; the lintels and columns are of sandstone.

Pre Rup (Turn/Change the Body)

The boldness of the architectural design of Pre Rup is superb and give the temple fine balance, scale and proportion. The temple is almost identical in style to the East Mebon, although it was built several yeas later. It is the last real 'temple-mountain ' Pre Rup was called the 'City of the East ' by Philippe Stern, a Frenchman who worked on the site.

The Cambodians have always regarded this temple as having funerary associations but reason is unknown. The name Prerup recalls one of the rituals of cremation in which the silhouette of the body of the deceased, outlined with its ashes, is successively represented according to different orientations, Some archaeologists believe that the large vat located at the base of the east stairway to the central area was used at cremations.

The East Mebon 

The East Mebon is a temple with five towers arranged like the numbers on a die atop a base with three tiers. The whole is surrounded by three enclosures. The towers represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru.

As mentioned in the note above, it was really difficult to tell the difference between Pre Rup and East Mebon when we visited, haha!

Ta Som (The Ancestor Som)

Ta Som is a single tower monument on one level surrounded by three enclosing walls with entry on the east and west carved with four faces, the face on the right of the east tower (facing the temple) has a beautiful smile. The entry towers are in the shape of a cross with a small room on each side connecting to a laterite wall.

Neak Pean (The Coiled Serpents)

Neak Pean is a large square man-made pond (70 meters, 230 feet each side) bordered by steps and surrounded by four smaller ponds. A small circular island with a stepped base of seven laterite tiers is in the center of the large square pond. Small elephants sculpted in the round originally stood on the four comers.

I personally enjoyed this long planked walkway to the temple.  Albeit an artificial island, I think the view is amazing and this is the highlight of the visit.  

It is also a bit disappointing what lies ahead after that 10 mins of walk. :P  The temple is cordoned off and here below is what we saw.  If you wanna see this temple ala-VIP style, check this other route.  But I wouldn't have it any other way. :P  Goin' through that way is too Lake Placid-ish for me. Haha!

Prasat Preah Khan (The Sacred Sword)

Preah Khan is a Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares served as the nucleus of a group that includes Neak Pean and Ta Som, located 4 kilometers long Jayatataka Baray—the last of the great reservoirs to be built in Angkor.

The thing about not having anything to consult prior to the temple visits is missing on some important details.  As I was checking on this temple, I noticed that most of the tourists took note of a certain structure in this temple which was missing in any of our cameras.  Or maybe we were already too tired at this point to ever notice it, LOL!  But I like this part of the temple

I have some other temples to cover.  Please wish me time to do it! ;-)

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