on May 22, 2010
Angkor Thom, constructed during Buddhist King Jayavarman VII’s reign of 1181-1220 has a 26’ high walls extending 2 miles, 325’ wide moat, and 5 gateways. The southern gateway from which I came contained 54 gods and 54 demons. In the center is the Bayan Temple, consisting of three levels. The lower tier contains bas reliefs showing everyday life as well as Khmer battles whether they had been won or lost.Beyond Bayan, traveling north is the Elephant Terrace. Over 900 feet long, this wall with elephants carved all along the sides reminded me of The Great Wall of China. The width was more than sufficient for cars and was so imposing in the middle of such a forest area. Just past this is Terrace of the Leper King, a small wall with more animal carved along the sides and a statue believed to be King Yasorvarman who died of leprosy. Although the inscription on the actual state implies it is Yama, god of Death.South of Angkor Thom is Phnom Bakheng, a 5-tiered pyramid, where hoards of us flocked to see the sunset over Angkor Wat after climbing up a long dirt trail and then up the steep steps of the temple. The steps are so narrow that you have to take sideways steps up causing you to grasp at the steps above to keep your balance. This created a long procession of people climbing. Many of the tours are brought earlier by drivers because they know it will take time to reach the top.We all jockeyed for a good spot to see the sunset. I managed to get a few photos of the setting sun with spires on either side. I walked to the other side of the tier and was able to take photos of the full moon with a spire on one side. To see the sunset and a full moon at the same time was an amazing sight indeed.
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