Angkor WatMarch 6, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ 🌙 81 °F
And now for the big one - we visited Angkor Wat this afternoon. Apparently it is the largest place of worship in the world. It certainly was very impressive, even after seeing the temples at Angkor Thom this morning. We entered Angkor Wat over the stone bridge across the 180m wide moat that goes all the way around the temple complex. We were explaining to Solana that the moat was made to protect the temple and she concluded from that that anyone bad who tried to get over would be pushed into the water to be eaten by crocodiles! You then walk along a long pathway that leads to the main temple complex, with the iconic view of Angkor Wat in front of you along the way. Once inside, we spent a couple of hours exploring. It was pretty busy inside but it quietened down a lot towards 5pm. Solana met a couple of other little girls around her own age, the first we think was Japanese and the 2nd, pictured here, we're pretty sure was Cambodian; the two of them attracted quite a crowd, all wanting photos of the cute little girls! Solana is loving the idea of Buddha and today she was asking questions about the offerings people had made to the statues in the temples; we told her about offerings and she wanted to make an offering herself. After talking about the different types of offerings (many of them here were sweets - bearing a remarkable resemblance to Werther's Originals!), she offered some money; a monk then offered her a blessing of luck with holy water and tied a red cotton bracelet around her wrist. It was lovely to see her interaction with him. As it got later, the light got even better and we managed to get some photos of Angkor Wat together with its reflection in a lake - seen here with us spoiling the artistic view!
As with many things, the photos don't really do it justice but it gives you a flavour of what we've seen anyway. All in all, it was very reminiscent of the days we spent in Central America 12 years ago, wandering around the Mayan and Aztec sites including Chichen Itza, Tikal and Copan - but here there are slightly fewer mosquitoes and definitely more tuk-tuks! It is also striking every time we see such ancient buildings, the similarities between different such sites in very different parts of the world, geographically distant and often built in different eras - e.g. the Mayan and Aztec temples of Central America, Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat, the ancient cities in Thailand, the pyramids in Egypt. It makes us wonder - did ancient civilisations have more contact with one another than we know, or did many different groups of people come up with similar ideas independently?.... We also saw a bit of wildlife around the temples today - including monkeys, lizards, myna birds, butterflies, frogs and parrots. Tomorrow we plan to visit some of the other temples in the area (to get our moneys worth from our $62 each tickets - they went up in price dramatically just last month, from only $40 per person!).Read more