Cambodia: Angkor Wat

I am so excited to finally be able to start posting photos from my adventures in Southeast Asia in June and July of this year.  I should probably start by explaining how I got to go on the trip, why I chose Cambodia, and why I’ll be doing so many blog posts about it.

Angkor Wat: Central Temple Hallway

This past February (on my birthday, no less), I found out I received a Teacher Creativity Fellowship from the Lilly Endowment to pursue my proposed project.  After hearing about Cambodia from my friends who are living and working there and doing a book study about the problem of human trafficking with the book Not for Sale by David Batstone, I had a great desire to learn more about the country.  I also wanted to see what the organization my friends are working with, Center for Global Impact,  was doing to help with the problems prevalent in the country.  So, I proposed to study photography and go to Cambodia over the summer to capture Light in the Darkness:  Beauty and Trauma in Cambodia.  Through these blog posts of photos that I took in Cambodia, I hope to share a piece of my experience and some information that will show both the beauty and trauma that I saw in Cambodia.  It is my hope that these posts will show both the needs that are present, as well as the hopeful and productive things occurring in the beautiful country of Cambodia.

I’ll begin with my first day there, which was spent outside of Siem Reap visiting the ancient temples of Angkor Wat.  My friends Katy and Alan were gracious enough to endure a very hot day exploring this area and brought their friend, Ryana, along for the fun too.  There was so much to see and I know we only touched the surface.  This post is dedicated to the mother of all the temples, Angkor Wat.  The grandeur and scale of these constructions are difficult to show on a screen like this, considering the manpower, hours, and labor that must have gone into this back in the 12th century.  Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument.  It was built between 1113 and 1150, with many additions built later.  It was built to represent a microcosm of the Hindu universe with the five peaks symbolizing Mount Meru, though over the years more Buddhist symbolism was added to the sites which you will also see in some photos.  Click here to see an aerial photo of the area… it really helps you to see the magnitude of it!

The view from outside the moat and the sandstone causeway

The Main Entrance

Looking to the left in the main entrance gate

Angkor Wat Temple in the distance after crossing the moat with the libraries to the left and right along the path

I think this is the Library, but don’t quote me on that. 🙂

The central temple view from the pool

A little monkey outside the central temple entrance

An example of one of the intricate carvings all over the temple

The roofed section covering help to cover the 800 meter long series of bas-relief carvings that go the whole way around the temple.

One of numerous aspara (heavenly nymphs) carvings found all over the temple

Working our way up to the towers…

Laterite blocks were used for much of the structure, but were hidden and covered with stucco before being painted.

This is a lathe-turned baluster (so says the Ancient Angkor book that I bought!).

Originally built as a Hindu temple, it now holds many Buddhist shrines scattered throughout the temple.

At one of the Buddhist shrines

Central tower of the central temple- Rising 55 meters above the ground

Looking out to the main entrance facing west (note the big yellow balloon in the distance)

Weathering over time and vandalism from the time of the Khmer Rouge have left many artifacts damaged.

The way back down. The original flight was steep to symbolize the difficult task of reaching the kingdom of the gods.

Looking out at the retaining wall and a view of the sightseeing yellow balloon in the distance.

More lathe-turned balusters in the stone windows

A monkey under the dragon as we left the temple

Booths set up outside the modern day wat with food and souvenirs and very eager sellers. 🙂

Another view of the food and souvenir sellers with the modern day wat (temple) in the background

Between the central temple and the outer wall

Part of the 190 meter-wide moat that goes around the complex, measuring 1.5 km by 1.3 km. Note the little girl’s outfit: a pajama set (a trend I would love to see catch on in the U.S.) 🙂

With my wonderful friends, Alan and Katy, who endured a very hot morning in Cambodian heat so I could explore the Angkor temples.

A picturesque spot to rest. 🙂

I still can’t believe I was there!

I hope to be more consistent in my photos posts from this trip in the coming months.  Look here for some of my previous posts with observations from my time in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.  Thanks for checking in!  Feel free to leave some comments, observations, questions below!

6 responses

  1. MOM

    Your dad thinks having Mansells all over your report would be prejudiced, so he has no comment. I continue to be amazed at your ability to capture beauty with the camera. WELL DONE!!!!

    September 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

  2. Pingback: Cambodia: Angkor Wat | Home Far Away From Home

  3. Rebekah T

    Amazing! Look forward to seeing more of your summer adventures soon. What an awesome opportunity. Love the photos so far:)

    September 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

  4. Pingback: Angkor Wat in Black and White « jenni mansell photography blog

  5. Oh wow, what a trip! I went to Thailand a few years ago, and this brings up so many of the same emotions I experienced there. Your pictures are beautiful and truly capture the emotion of the place. Well done!

    October 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

  6. Pingback: Katy, Alan, and Jonah: Visiting from Cambodia « jenni mansell photography blog

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