The Angkor Wat

I’ll bet that the Angkor Wat appears on as many bucket lists as the Eiffel Tower. It is more mysterious, and more precarious, too, since the surrounding jungle seems to be encroaching from every side. Moreover, the temple is disintegrating, so there’s an increasingly strong hint that you’d better see it now before pollution, jungle, over-exposure to tourists combine to destroy it altogether.

There are remarkable elements still. The 2200 bas relief statues of Apsaras, the bare-breasted dancing girls, adorn every available space. The frieze showing the tug of war known as the Churning of the Sea of Milk extends for some two-thirds of a mile around the perimeter of the main building. The social symmetry of the main facade’s gates allows the central gate for the king, the two adjoining gates for Mandarins and generals, and two outer gates for commoners.

The complex was begun as a Hindu shrine to Vishnu in the first half of the 12th century. Later it became a Buddhist temple (and remains so today).

Shall we just turn to pictures?

End of Days

End of Days

Reflected Clouds

Reflected Clouds

Night Falling

Night Falling

Charioteers

Charioteers

Yet More Dancers

Yet More Dancers

Swallowed by the Jungle

Swallowed by the Jungle

An Inner Courtyard

An Inner Courtyard

Limber Ankles

Limber Ankles

From the Top

From the Top

The Jungle Creeps Closer

The Jungle Creeps Closer

Conquering the Stairs

Conquering the Stairs

Ascendancy of Religion

Ascendancy of Religion

More Apsaras

More Apsaras

The Monkey King Enters the Fray

The Monkey King Enters the Fray

The Handsome Devil Asura

The Handsome Devil Asura

Smugness of the Monobrow

Smugness of the Monobrow

Digging in their Heels

Digging in their Heels

One Wall of the Long Relief

One Wall of the Long Relief

Deva with the Snake's Head

Deva with the Snake’s Head

Churning of the Sea of Milk

Churning of the Sea of Milk

Joyful Dancers

Joyful Dancers

Find the Waldo with the Wandering Eyes

Find the Waldo with the Wandering Eyes

Apsaras

Apsaras

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