Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yet Another Temple

This post is part of the AtoZChallenge, which I'm doing on my recent trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

I know, I know. You're getting sick of the temples, right? Yes, you - the imaginary you who has stuck with me all the way through to the twenty-fifth post. 

I promise you - this is the last one. This ends tomorrow.

I was looking through my photos just now to decide which temple to write about under 'Yet Another Temple'. Despite the fact that I've written about so many temples over the past month, I still have about half a dozen left - Baphuon, Chao Say Tevoda, Thommanon, Ta Keo, Banteah Kdei, Pre Rup and Ta Som. Of these, Chao Say Tevoda, Thommanon and Ta Som are comparatively smaller temples. I didn't like Ta Keo because the Chinese seem to be reconstructing the temple rather than restoring it. Banteah Kdei is large and beautiful, but is too similar to Ta Prohm

I was inclined to write about Pre Rup, because it's so beautiful. I mean, just look at the photo below. Is it beautiful or is it beautiful? We visited it first thing in the morning on Day 2, and the way that the sandstone absorbed the rays of the rising sun was (and is) jaw-dropping. 

Pre Rup Temple
But this post is not going to be about Pre Rup. When I was looking through the photos, I found the Baphuon temple calling out to me. Somehow, I feel like I have some unfinished business with this temple. I don't know if I'll ever go back to Cambodia and finish whatever that business is, but there it is.

The thing I remember most about Baphuon is the heat. We got there around noon, after visiting Angkor Wat and Bayon. The sun was beating down on us like it personally hated us. We walked in with our heads down, barely daring to look up because of the heat and the glare. 

Baphuon is hardly a sight to soothe the sore eyes and weary limbs of the tired tourist. It's a steep pyramid that rises up to the heavens, drawing the eye ever upward to the top. Its worn steps would probably be dangerous, but the authorities have built wooden staircases with railings, which make it easier to climb. 

It's also a good thing that the temple has multiple levels at which to rest, because my husband and I just collapsed in the galleries on one of the upper levels. Aside - the central portion of the temple, which ends in a sort of peak, reminded me of that scene in Apocalypto where they cut heads off and throw them down the stairs. 

The temple is surrounded by tall trees and small ponds. After the visit, I sat on one of the stones underneath the trees, just enjoying the cool shade and the breeze. 

• • •


I.L. Wolf said...

I just came to you through the A to Z list, so this is my first temple :) It's beautiful, but in a haunting kind of way. It has a mixed kind of energy you can feel through the screen.

One more day to go!


DR said...

I.L. Wolf: Just what I was trying to convey - yay! :)

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