Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cambodia - Preah Khan Temple, Siem Reap

Of all the temples I have visited in Siem Reap, this one is memorable becaue I consider it not only as photographer's paradise but touts' paradise as well.

I mentioned this because I was approached at the entrance by a group of locals volunteering as my tour guide. I refused and immediately left them thus they hurriedly approached another group of tourist.

However, once inside, I was again approached by a local wearing a cop uniform and it was my mistake or "luck" to entertain him. Maybe because I thought he was a cop and he was simply trying to assist me since I found it difficult to put up my tripod due to uneven ground. Sensing that I was there for photo shoots, he readily showed me those picturesque scenery that befit great shots even if you're a novice photographer. After taking me to those places he mentioned that tourist normally gives him money. I gladly handled him 5 USD since without his help I won't be able to make those great shots. Trust me, I have seen some similar shots on the net and popular posts or articles.

My favorite shots 

          sun-lighted stupa in the middle of the temple
hall of dancers, note the apsara dancers

artist at work

One would easily notice that not a great restoration job has been done on Preah Khan. The main task done here was to clear and preserve the place without posing any immediate danger. Adding glory to this ancient temple are giant trees and thick vegetation that grows among the ruins. Not to mention the architectural legacy of the ancient Khmer empire.

The main Buddhist sanctuary or monastery is surrounded by Hindu satellite temples. Hence, like other Angkor temples, you will find both Buddhist and Hindu influence on this temple.

Preah Khan was built in 12th century by a warrior king that united the fragmented Khmer Empire and commissioned both Preah Khan and Ta Prohm as monument of his rule. Though presently Preah Khan seems not as large as Angkor Wat, during its heyday, it was a city that encompassed 56 hectares where 100,000 farmers feed 15,000 monks, teachers and students.

So much with facts, I was lucky for having the time and resources to avail the 3-day unlimited temple pass. Otherwise, I would surely regret if I would not be able to visit such a great ancient temple in Angkor.

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