Today we explore the most celebrated cultural icon in Cambodia… Angkor Wat!
We started off with Angkor Thom (“Big City” in Khmer). Angkor Thom is a collection of temples with in what was once an ancient city. The Bayan temple was our first stop. As we approached we could begin to make out the Buddha faces that covered the 4 sides of ever tower. This temple was built by King Jayavarman VII in the 11th century AD. It was one of the first Buddhist temples in Cambodia and so, as has already been mentioned, it is adorned with the Buddha’s face. These faces created a serious photo opportunities (Kissing photos!)
Our Second major temple was Ta Phram. Some readers may recognize this temple from Angelia Jolie’s film “Tomb Raider”! This is often the favorite among volunteers because it has been overtaken by nature. Huge trees now grown all over the walls of the temple and create a truly wild experience.
The star of the show, of course, was Angkor Wat its self. We saved the best for last. we stopped for lunch on the far side of the moat that surrounds Angkor Wat, overlooking the monument as we ate. Once we entered the temple we learned about the the Hindu creation myth and the history of the ancient Khmer empire.