Sunday, November 10, 2013

Province of Siem Reap, Cambodia

The towering ruins of the ancient temples of Angkor - mostly made of sandstone and blocks of solidified molten lava, are architectural marvels. Built by the ancient rulers of Khmer Empire nearly a thousand years ago, I get the feeling that there was great religious confusion at specific periods in their history. That is evident from the idols and Bass-Reliefs depicted within the massive walls of these temples - some depict Hindu Gods while some pay homage to the Buddha.

But one thing is unfailingly consistent - here too good old Buddha looks as different as he does everywhere else in the Buddhist world. It is strange but no two countries depict the Buddha with the same physical appearance - not even in Bhutan and Tibet.

The photos below are not all that great - the reason is that I shot them with a borrowed camera belonging to a friend - a touristy variety. I couldn’t take my own since I had to hand carry 38 packets of homemade Bhutanese potato chips for a friend in Singapore - the Singaporeans are absolutely nuts over Bhutanese homemade potato chips.

The first lot of photographs are that of the temple ruins:

The following are what is called the Smiling Faces of Buddha:

The Bass-Reliefs on the temple walls are phenomenal - they depict Hindu Mythology such as the Churning of the Milk of Ocean, the Battle of Lanka etc.

Siam Reap is home to the largest freshwater lake in South Asia called the Tonle Sap - its surface area grows to a stupendous 16,000 square KMs. The floating village built on this lake is a great tourist attraction. Even the school in this village is built in the lake and the students commute by boat.

I visited a silk factory. The notice board on the wall was interesting - it should give you an idea as to why silk cost so much.

The photo below shows the statue of Yama, the Lord of Death. To me there is nothing deathly about the look of the man.

This is the first time I saw a real “Stretch Limo” - I felt it was longer than a full bodied truck!

The photos below show the ancient textile weave of Cambodia. They look so much like our own. Infact, I suspect that they could be ours and not Cambodian - I know two experts and I intend to cross-check with them to see if they could be ours.

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