Until the day before arriving in Siem Reap, little did I know that I would be seeing far more temples than merely Angkor Wat. Although dilapidated and damaged, Unesco has done a wonderful job of preserving these temples.
The first temple we saw was Bayan, constructed in the 11th century. Cambodia, historically, followed the Hindu religion. There were these fierce monkey statues on guard on parallel sides of the gorgeous river flowing near Bayan.
All of these temples were burnt or had bullets in them. Gorgeous temples constructed to worship God were all destroyed or damaged in the name of God. Bayan was attacked by a separate sect of Hindu religion. This will be a theme of many of muses throughout these temples, and immediately though of a profound quote by Aldous Huxley on history.
“By remembering what history is– the record of human beings have been impelled to do by their ignorance and the enormous bumptiousness that makes them canonize their ignorance as a political or a religious dogma.”
Although damaged and dilapidated I found these buildings so gorgeous and genuinely wish I had more than 45 minutes of each. Clock time never felt so fast!!
The next temple we visited was Ba Phun, constructed to pay respects to Shiva. Many of the heads or pillars would have 3,5,7 or 9 sides or angles. Each representing something different.
Three represented the three main Hindu Gods, Rama the creator, Vishnu the protector, and Shive the destroyer. Five represents the different elements, fire, ice, wind, earth, and air. Seven represents the days in the week (I could be wrong. And nine represents the nine planets in our solar system.
Afterwards we visited the Tomb Raider temple Ta Phrom, originally called Rajavihara. Did my best to get some decent shots, but the place was swarming with tourists. If you plan on visiting Siem Reap, I recommend to do so when the tourists are here. The temperatures in low season, just before rainy season reach 100 Farenheit with humidity. Not a chance in hell would I do that even if it meant some extra space.
And finally Angkor Wat, which literally translates to City of temples. Angkor Wat is dedicated to Vishnu, the protector. The original name of the temple was called Baramak Vishnu Loka which translates to world of Vishnu. When the Khmer people converted to Buddhism they replaced Vishnu’s head with the head of Buddha, but you can still see the many arms of Vishnu on the statue.
The most profound story I was told during this tour, was that of Karma, the God of love, and his attack on Shiva the destroyer. Karma tried to shoot an arrow at Shiva when she was meditating, but unable to rattle such stillness, Shiva destroyed Karma.
I can’t tell you the history on the rest of these, but hope you enjoy them nonetheless!
And finally some shots of Angkor Wat!!
Would like to thank God for introducing me to Rama, Shiva, and Vishnu. There are now new open doors in my inner mansion that have been unlocked as I continue as a student of spirituality.
Until next time