14 October 2008

Bayon, the first of our temple fest

In the beginning, we have this misconception that the temples are situated far away from town. I guess distances varies depending on which of the countless temples do you wish to see. Savong actually helped us draw up a plan on the must-see temples and from there we started our 2-day temple mission.
Our 1st temple on our 2nd day in Siem Reap is the Bayon Temple, the spiritual centre of Angkor Thom, which is roughly 20-30mins away from the city centre. We entered through the south gate of Angkor Thom (known as the Great City). I absolutely love this entrance (yellow star on map). As we reach the causeway towards this gate, we saw giant faces standing to the left and to the right of the causeway. It's a "wow" sight passing them as they stand tall with that cold smile and that picturesque moat as a background. I love love love the simplicity and the surreal emptiness about it. I couldnt get a decent shot in a moving car and soon gave up thinking i will exit through this gate, but we did not so no pics =\ I also conveniently left Jasmain's lonely planet guidebook in Brunei so i didnt know what they signify at that time. There are actually 54 statues on each side of the causeway, 54 gods to the left and 54 demons to the right taken from a story illustrated in the Angkor Wat.

.At the visitor's entrance.

.(R): I love TimChin's pose.

As we enter this temple, i have this overwhelming feeling of being on an archeological exploration. I wonder how the boys felt that instance especially with those hats on. This temple holds ground to 54 towers, each with 4 faces of the Avalokiteshavra, gazing in 4 cardinal directions and smiling down at you. You will feel like you're surrounded by a supreme being of power, of peace, and of great compassion. Avalokiteshvara is the Buddha of Compassion, better known as Quan Yin to the Chinese. But there's also another theory that the faces are made to resemble the King himself, Jayavarman VII, which is also said to be credible because he was a devoted Buddhist that shares similiarity with the Buddha in the depth of his compassion for his subjects.

My favourites here are no doubts the faces, the apsara carvings, the doorways and towers for stunning pictures. Ultimately what is amazing about this temple and the others we've seen are the crazy stackings, shapings and carvings of gigantic stones one on top of another making up every single bit of the temple. Just how on earth did they manage that in the 12th century?

By mid noon, we were nearly fried crispy. It was HOT HOT HOT, and i cannot be any more grateful for purchasing a mini-fan despite Boon2's mocking. That battery-powered wind and the purring of its plastic flaps is like magic,... however you can always settle for dettol wipes... give it a wipe on your face, on your neck, and perhaps under your shirt too, to cool down.

.(C) Boon2 lugging our tripod around which helps if you want group photos without bothering others, though setting it up can be quite a pain. And Steven, i am still upset my WA and Zoom lens didnt arrive on time~! ='(. (R) Insanely steep stairs that we had to buttcrawl down.
If you have the time and interest, you can let a lonely planet guide take you through the stories of the 1.2 km bas-reliefs found around the temple. To me instead, the beauty of Bayon lies on the mystical smile of the Buddha's face.

.Group photo usually involves me setting up the timer and running to the scene, but it was physically impossible for me to run and climb that stairs in 10 secs! Huuhuuhuu. What we thought was a cool tree house turned out to be platform for you to get onto an elephant. Duuhh.
.The Bayon is currently being restored by a Japanese team.
.One of my favourite shot of Bayon Temple.

Our next stop, Ta Phrom, in search for that Tomb Raider tree.


Zing... on October 22, 2008 at 12:07 AM said...

HAA.. your photos very comical! I luv them!

the spool artist on October 22, 2008 at 12:40 PM said...

i really love seeing cambodia through your eyes! you guys really had a blast, i can tell...

Anonymous said...

I like the last group photo, u look very sexy in there! haha! and the picture of eric holding ct's hand while going up the staircase is very sweet!

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