Posts tagged “Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Black and White

I had so many pictures to share from Angkor Wat, I decided to do a separate post with the black & white shots. Click here (or just look at the previous post!) to see the color photos.

The main entrance

I think this was the west portico just inside the main entrance.

Stone window with lathe-turned balusters

Part of the 800 meters of bas-relief carvings detailing battles and epic events, completed from the 12th to 16th centuries

Outside wall of the central temple.

Detail of the central tower

On the moat surrounding Angkor Wat

Stay tuned for more photos and reflections from Cambodia in the coming weeks!


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!


Back Home Again in Indiana

Hello all!

Just wanted to post quickly and let you know I made it safely back to Indy yesterday evening after 30 straight hours of travel from Singapore.  I’ve never been so excited to sleep in my own bed as I was last night!

Now I have some unpacking, photo-editing, and family visiting to do, but I will leave you with a sneak peek of what is to come…

A view inside Angkor Wat

A Muslim fishing village outside Phnom Penh

The Silver Pagoda at the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

I hope to post a review of my adventures through photos over the next couple months.  My friends and cousin were amazing hosts and I saw some beautiful sights in Southeast Asia and while seeing some of the sad realities of what’s happened in Cambodia, I also saw some really encouraging things happening.  Stop back on the blog if you can.  Have a great week!


Update from Cambodia

Hello again!  I’m finally getting a chance to sit down at a computer and thought I’d send a reflection your way via this blog.

I continue to have a really great time seeing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hopeful here in Cambodia.  It’s been an slightly overwhelming time with so much to take in in the short week I’ve been here, but really great overall.

Instead of giving you the play by play on all I’ve seen and done, I’m just going to share some fun tidbits along with some other thoughts on my brief time here.  Please note that I realize that I’ve only been here one week and I am a clueless American.  Being someone who loves to experience new cultures and knowing that our culture is equally foreign and strange to those who visit it, I hope these comments do not offend anyone and the non-expert source will be considered while reading.

  • Gas bottles are sold on the side of the road in old Coca Cola and other clear pop bottles, but they also have regular gas stations.  I rode a moto up a mountain to a temple and cave and the guy had to stop for gas. He  filled it up with a coke bottle of gas and we were on our way in about 10 seconds!
  • They use US dollars here and their bills for small change (no coins).  I’m a pretty big fan of not exchanging money and knowing how much things are.
  • Walking around a foreign country with a pregnant friend has its advantages:  when people stop, stare, and talk about us, I can just assume that they’re talking about the pregnant foreigner and not me.  🙂
  • It’s REALLY hot and humid here
  • People wear pajama sets as normal clothes here…  and you can wear flipflops with everything.  This is my kind of place!
  • Angkor Wat is actually a temple complex of many temples built in the 12th century and covering tons of land.  We explored three temples and barely scratched the surface.
  • Khmer is not a tonal language (I thought it was since Thai is tonal.  I was wrong).
  • Siem Reap, Battambang, and Phnom Penh have many NGO projects that are helping provide livelihoods for Khmer people.
  • It’s been a privelege to get to see some of those projects in action.
  • The Green Mango Cafe & Bakery in Battambang not only helps train young women in culinary arts, but it also has really good food… I had the fried pickles everyday I was there.
  • Today I went to the workshops of the Daughters’ Project and byTavi (www.bytavi.com), two sewing projects of the Center for Global Impact(www.centerforglobalimpact.org).  It was so great to see the place where my ID holder and my mom’s purse was made (Buy their stuff, it’s great!).
  • Seeing projects like this and seeing women learning about God’s word has been an experience that has left me encouraged and hopeful for further progress in this country.
  • A cultural thing that people do here is to get their picture taken at these studios… basically Khmer glamour shots.  Since it’s super cheap, I decided to jump in to said cultural experience.  Let’s just say that fake hair, fake eyelashes, and a tiara were involved in this process.  One of the funniest experiences I’ve had in a very long time.
  • Tonight my friends had teachers from their Khmer language school over for dinner.  I had a great time talking with three of the young women (in English) about teaching a language and their perspective on refugees as they asked me about the refugees at my school.
  • When your main purpose in being in a country is to take pictures to document it, I’ve discovered that you end up without many pictures of yourself due to your big fancy camera being too big and fancy to give to other people for self pics.  However, due to the climate’s effect on my outer appearance, I think that I’m ok with this fact.  The Khmer glamour shot is the best I’ve looked all trip, so maybe that’s all I need to prove I was here.  🙂
  • Have I mentioned that it’s REALLY hot and humid here?

If you made it through the list, thanks for allowing me to share a few pieces of my experience.  Tomorrow is going to be a tough and heavy day as I visit the Killing Fields and S21 museum to learn about some of Cambodia’s darker Khmer Rouge history.  Tough stuff that I’m not sure how to take in, but I’m thankful that it’s something people are willing to learn from today in hopes that history will not repeat itself.

Thanks again for reading.  Until next time…

jenni