Also, it took me close to 12 hours (spread over 3 days) to put together this mammoth post, including sifting through tons of photos of the temples. I do the short write-ups accompanying photos of temples. do justice to bring you insights into the temple!
Angkor archaeological park
The most popular tourists circuits are small circuit and big circuit.
Small circuit - Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng (optional), Bayon, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Prasat Kravan (optional)
Big circuit - Small circuit + Preag Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som, East Mebon, Pre rup
Hungry for more? - you could head to Banteay Srei, 23 miles off Angkor complex.
|Map from www.peggyphotos.com|
After buying the entry pass, the first temple complex is Angkor Wat. Like the temple itself, the entry is grand with a long bridge over a moat.
|First look of Angkor temple complex|
|Naga carving adoring the bridge to Angkor Wat|
|Doorway to Angkor|
|Buddhist monks still come here to Pray|
Angkor Wat was originally a hindu and later a Buddhist temple. It is the largest temple in the entire complex and is a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The temple rests next to a moat and its central towers resemble a lotus.
|Beyond this lies Angkor!|
|Famed and Framed - Angkor in the distance!|
|A Magical sunrise|
|Intense orange accents|
|Sun rising behind Angkor|
|Gopurams inside Angkor temple forming lotus shape|
|Walking the walk|
|A smaller temple in Angkor compund|
|As tourists look at Angkor, Angkor looks back!|
(entrance, pathway and moat)
|An enthusiastic photographer!|
|The vastness of the complex! Put on your walking shoes!|
(Note the hot air balloon on top left! If you got money....)
|At the centre of Angkor|
|Other temples in the Angkor complex|
|First of the many headless figures I'd witness that day|
|People balance stones and make a wish. So did I!|
|Buddhist shrine inside Angkor complex|
|Buddhist temple inside Angkor complex|
|Young monks practicing music|
|And I return once again late evening!|
|Look who's horsing around|
|So beautiful, I want to keep clicking photos!|
|The sunset brings with it the purple and pink hues!|
|Farewell to the sun....|
[big & small circuit]
|Note the sparse crowd!|
|Eager tourists being briefed by their guide just outside Bayon|
|Restoration work in full swing|
|Bayon, in all its glory!|
|Recognize the face?|
|A group of better preserved faces|
|Let me click a selfie!|
|Painted on the canvas of sky!|
|The beautiful carving and the beauty with her map!|
|Basking in the sun as we take a breather at Bayon|
|....and the demon|
|A symbol of patience and solitude|
I met a couple of sweet kids, who surprisingly recognized that I was from India. They even mentioned that Indian come to Angkor in large numbers!
|Cute kids recognizing us as Indian|
|Main entrace - but the light was bad|
|Inside the temple|
|The imitation games|
|Make a wish, take a chance, make a change......and break away....|
|The trees add such character to the ruins!|
|Inside the temple!|
|The wrong exit!|
Also, the water at the lake was supposedly used for cure illnesses. No wonder out tuk-tuk referred to Neak Pean as a hospital and not a temple!
|Bridging the gap|
|Stunning and how!! This panaroma doesn't do justice to the location|
|A lonely boat|
|Now you see us!|
The decorative elephant and lion statues are symbolic of East Mebon. The central enclosure contains chamber for the linga!
The architecture resembles hindu temples and I felt absolutely at home here!
|Tourists struggling to climb and up down Pre-rup|
The similarities in construction are notable. However, Pre rup definitely is the better preserved and grander of the two! It even offers amazing views of the Angkor archaeological park!
It also huge trees with big fat roots, at the far back of the temple. It is clear that the tree towers over the ruins of the temple and is a great photo-op.
|Such drama, I could die feasting my eyes on it!|
[big & small circuit]
After seeing so many temples, we neither had the excitement or the energy to see this temple. So we just sat back in our tuk tuk and admired the temple from a distance.
[big & small circuit]
Most popular sunset spot - this temple is set amidst lush forest and requires climbing steep stairs. We were supposed to witness a sunset from this temple but changed out mind and chose Angkor Wat again mainly to avoid crowds and another crazy climb to the summit of the temple!