Angkor Wat – once again

Sunday, 16 April 2017

IMG_3512 - Angkor Wat 3 day pass - 540Photographer © Tony/Maureen Wheeler & Richard I'Anson / Lonely Planet Images▲ It’s been 25 years since my first visit to Angkor Wat and things have certainly changed. For one thing you didn’t pay US$62 for a three day pass to visit the Angkor ruins back in 1992.

◄ On that occasion there were probably more straggling Pathet Lao troublemakers than tourists at Angkor Wat. When we visited Preah Khan you can see the armed guard Maureen (in blue on the left) and I had to take with us.

IMG_3128 - apsaras, Hall of Dancers, Preah Khan - 540▲ Visiting Preah Khan on this trip I particularly wanted to see the Hall of Dancers. Today we have a Robert Powell original based on the apsaras who dance across the door lintels.

IMG_3135 - Preah Khan, Angkor Wat - 540▲ Preah Khan also has those hallmarks of an interesting Angkor temple, wonderful bas reliefs and, at some temples, an ongoing wrestling match with the jungle vegetation.

IMG_2991 - The Bayon - 540▲ Of course I went back to the Bayon and, of course, those enigmatic faces are as enigmatic as ever.

IMG_3090 - Churning the Ocean of Milk, bas relief - Angkor Wat - 540▲ At Angkor Wat itself restoration of the bas relief illustrating the Hindu legend of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk was completed in 2012 and looks simply wonderful. Demons and gods compete in a tug-of-war with the serpent Vasuki, coiled around Mt Mandala, which churns the sea and extracts the elixir of immortality.

IMG_3083 - dancing apsaras, Churning the Ocean of Milk, bas relief - Angkor Wat - 540▲ Overhead apsaras dance encouragement, much as they danced in Preah Khan’s Hall of Dancers.

Photographer © Tony/Maureen Wheeler & Richard I'Anson / Lonely Planet Images▲ In 1992 I stood by one of the elephants at the East Mebon temple.

IMG_5251 - elephants, East Mebon, Angkok Wat - 540▲ And I returned for a selfie with those same elephants in 2017, although today they’re on a terrace whereas my 1992 photo seems to show them at ground level?

IMG_3058 - floating village of Chong Kneas - 540▲ As well as sunrise at Angkor Wat on this trip I also caught sunset at the floating village of Chong Kneas.