2013年4月7日 星期日

Khmer (高棉) or Cambodia (柬埔寨)-3

Day 3  Stop 1 Ta Phrom Temple (塔普倫廟)

Cambodia was surprisingly hot. Temperatures during the day could easily rise to 40 degrees Celsius. Though protected by a cap and armed with a towel-type handkerchief and two bottles of distilled water, I nearly had a stroke. A quarter of an hour under the merciless sun and I would look like someone who had just come out from a shower with his shirt and trousers on. But the ruins at Ta Phrom and Angkor Wat were breathtakingly beautiful. There I saw an unending tug of war between the forces of human civilization and the forces of Nature. Both are equally formidable.

Entering Ta Phrom Temple

The entrance to another enclosure

A close up of one of the 4 faces

The entrance to the inner enclosure of the ancient temple. This temple was originally a Buddhist temple but many of its original sculptures had been removed by the Hindus after the death of King Jayavarman VII, leaving only very few bas-relief of Buddhist mythologies. There are three inner enclosures but many parts have collapsed and the greater part of the temple's 650,000 sq.metre grounds have been colonized by giant trees mainly the "strangler fig" or gold apple and silk-cotton or thitpok trees.. Part of the ruins were used in the film Indiana Jones. There are entrance gopuras (entrance pavillions) at each of its cardinal points but nowadays because of the condition of the buildings, access is restricted to just the east and west entrances. Its construction started in 1186 AD but there were some additions in the 13th century. Originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman VII. According to an inscription there, some 80,000 workers were involved in its construction, including some 2,700 officials. There are 5 rectangular enclosures and 3 of its inner enclosures have galleries. At one time, it had a library and there were satellite temples on the north and south sides of the 3rd enclosure. At its eastern side, there was once a Hall of Dancers between the 3rd and 4th entrances and also a House of Fire.

The entrance to the inner enclosure

Tree growing through the rubble

many of the structures have tumbled down

A giant tree growing in one of the enclosures

Tall trees everywhere at the temple

Another giant tree growing right in the middle of the enclosure

Another tree has taken over part of the walls

This tree has taken over another part of the temple

One of the central buildings in there

One of the entrances to the building with sculptures depicting various mythical tales.

Many of the bas reliefs have been eroded and other parts of the temple have fallen down

Some of the figures decorating the temple wall

The lower portion of the figure has fallen down

Ruins everywhere

A view of one of the towers from one of the corridors

A corner of one of the structures

Another corridor

The roof of the corridor are heavily eroded

Another part of the collapsed building

To prevent further collapse, some of the buildings have to be supported by wooden girders and beams

Some of the collapsed stone decorations from the top of the structures have fallen into the spaces between the different rooms or halls

We have to walk through the rubble in the courtyard

The temple walls are decorated with carvings and figurines.

Some are on the top of the columns

Some lower down

Many have been destroyed or damaged either by war or by natural erosion

But some are relatively intact

Here are two which have been better preserved

Some appear to have been done in sections and then later reassembled

Each statue has a slightly different facial expression and posture

Some of the galleries

More of the galleries. They look massive

The entrance is guarded by the face of the King facing each of the four directions of the Khmer kingdom

He is supported at the base by various gods. The king fancied himself the representative of the Buddha on earth

Day 3 stop 2 Temple for Pre Rup (變身塔)

It's the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction.It's where the dead bodies are turned whilst being cremated as the funeral service went on. Pre Rup's extensive laterite and brick give it a pleasing reddish tone that is heightened by early morning and late afternoon sunlight. The temple has a square lay-out and two perimeter walls. The outer enclosure is a platform bounded by a laterite wall, 117 meters N-S by 127 meters E-W. A laterite causeway gives entry from the east. The four gopuras are cross-shaped, having a central brick section (consisting of three rooms flanked by two independent passageways) and a sandstone vestibule on both sides. To either side inside the eastern gate is a group of three towers aligned north to south. One of the towers appears to have never been built or to have been dismantled later, however they are later additions, probably by Jayavarman V. Further ahead, through another gate, libraries lie to either side of the walkway on the second platform. Just before the entrance there is a stone "cistern", but scholars believe it was a basement for a Nandi bronze statue rather than being used for cremation . There is a stone cistern at the base of the three-tiered pyramid, measuring 50 m at its base, rises in three steep tiers a dozen metres in height to a 35 m square platform at the summit. The lowest tier is symmetrically surrounded by 12 small shrines. At the top, five towers are arranged in a quincunx, one at each corner of the square and one in the center. Deities carved as bas-reliefs stand guard at either side of the central tower’s eastern door; its other doors are false doors. The southwest tower once contained a statue of Lakshmi, the northwest tower a statue of Uma, the southeast tower a statue of Vishnu and the northeast tower a statue of Shiva. The last one has an inscription on door jambs that dates from Jayavarman VI and is the only proof of his reign at Angkor. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, and it is probably located on a former shivaite ashram, built by Yasovarman I in the previous century.

An overall view of the temple from one of its sides where we entered

The temple was built in three tiers each higher than the other

The steps are guarded by lion gods.

A view of its various structures

As in the other temples, many of its walls and structures have collapsed.

The three middle towers

A view of the entrance from the middle tier

A lion guarding the step

A veiw of the left hand side of temple from the third tier

One of the rebuilt doors

its highest tower

The towers have all got openings for sunlight

This is the "cistern" which some believe was used for cremation where the corpse of the dead was "turned" during the Buddhist ceremonies or sending the dead on their way to whatever place it was destined to go depending on whether the deceased had accumulated sufficient good "karma". 

Day 3 Stop 3 Banteay Srei (女皇廟)

We next visited another small temple called Banteay Srei, which has low walls surrounding peaked structures of deep red
sandstone. Banteay Srei  is so called ("Citadel of Women,") because the reliefs on
this temple are so delicate that they could only have been carved by the
hand of a woman. The well-preserved relief carvings on the central
buildings depict scenes from ancient Hindu tales.Completed in 967,
Banteay Srei was the only major temple at Angkor not built for the king;
instead it was constructed by one of king Rajendravarman's counsellors,
Yajnyavahara. The temple was primarily dedicated to Shiva (the southern
buildings and the central tower were devoted to him, but the northern
ones to Vishnu). it was further rebuilt and expanded in the 11th century
and came under the control of the king and was rededicated to Shiva and
has remained in use at least until the 14th century.Originally called
Tribhuvanamahesvara — "great lord of the threefold world" — named as
usual after the central image (in this case a Shaivite linga). The town
of Isvarapura was centred on the temple.

The entrance to the temple

The same entrance from the opposite direction

We've got to walk through a central path which passes through various enclosures

Another entrance to a further enclosure

There is a small pond to one side of the temple

My first glimpse of the inner sanctuary to the temple

This is the heart of the temple

A structure to one side of the temple

Another view of the same structure

Two of the statues guarding the steps up the temple

The intricate carvings on the façade

One of the carvings

Another finely carved relief

The women look voluptuous

Another relief showing a many fanged lion

Some of the buildings are overgrown by weeds

The top of one of the entrances being carefully reconstructed from fragments close to the entrance

Another view of the same

Day 3 Stop 4  Angkor Wat (小吳哥窟)

 Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early Dravidian Architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.Its modern name, Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer; Angkor, meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara. Wat is the Khmer word for "temple grounds", derived from the Pali word "vatta" . Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founder.  As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as "Varah Vishnu-lok" ( literally "Holy Vishnu Location", Old Khmer Cl. Sanskrit") after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished. In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few KMs to the north.In the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day. Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never completely abandoned, its preservation being due in part to the fact that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the jungle. It was first mentioned by a Portuguese monk called António da Madalena,who visited it in1586, saying that it "is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of." In the mid-19th century the temple was visited by the French naturalist and explorer, Henri Mouhot, who popularised the site in the West through the publication of travel notes, in which he wrote: "One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged."

This is where we got off our tourist coach

My first view of Angkor Wat from a distance

A closer view

Another view of the huge moat

Entering the monument

A long gallery

Another part of the temple

The entrance from the West

The entrance is guarded by the naga  (the sacred serpent)

The entrance to the main structure

The path leading to the main temple one side of the temple park

In the middle of some of the corridors we would sometimes find statues of Buddha

This is another of such Buddhas

Some of the figures of beautiful dancers on the  mural

Another one of the dancers

And another one. The Khmer appear to like curved lines

The figures at the side of one of the doors to the long corridor of the gallery. At least one of their arms would be curved.

The women all have ample rounded figures.

This figure adorns one of the outer walls, curiously turned half white half black by dirt.

Figures on the outer wall depicting war. How ferocious they look

The body posture are forceful yet graceful. 

A long corridor with mural about various battles

Another corridor full of carved murals

Ancient chariots. The horse does look a little like Han horses but more sturdy

Another chariot in the midst of chaos of battling soldiers.

The pillars in one of the corridors

Two of the lion gods

The front of the lower one is already broken

The temple grounds

In front of a temple are various columns waiting to be restored, replaced or rebuilt

Another view of the same temple

One of the sides of the main temple. Some restoration work is in progress

Some of the heads of statues awaiting restoration

One of the corridors looking out on to other temple structures

By the time we finished the tour, it was already near sunset

The tourists were making their way back where they came

One of the corridors at right angles to the main entrance

Sun set at the West entrance

Another view of the sunset

Sunset over the moat

Angkor Wat sunset taken from our coach window

5 則留言:

  1. Have you visited that section of the Angkor Wat with stone monuments and carvings showing the records of visits by ambassadors from olden day China (forgot what dynasty it was). It shows the kind of Chinese cultural influence on Cambodia during those days.
    Did you try the elephant ride?
    Angkor Wat sunset is spectacular. You should have climbed higher up to take a panoramic view.
    Thanks for sharing.
    [版主回覆04/08/2013 12:32:40]No. I was busy rushing around to do photography and didn't follow the guide. But I don't recall her explaining anything of that sort. She did mention however that the French rediscovered it from reading a chronicle of what there was in Angkor Wat in a Chinese history book. .Nor did I do the elephant ride. How could one take photographs from the swaying back of that giant mammal?
    I agree that Angkor Wat sunset is spectacular. To me, it's so whether from higher grounds or from low.

  2. I don't even know that Angkor Wat was not a Buddhist temple at first.
    Thanks for your information and beautiful pics.
    [版主回覆04/08/2013 19:25:17]The Khmers originally came from India. That's why there are temples there dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Shiva, the goddess of creation and destruction. Buddhism also originated from North India. Thus you find evidence of the Indian style of architecture and sculpture everywhere.

  3. 域 流亦詩 Louis Rick2013年4月8日 下午7:07

    [版主回覆04/08/2013 19:27:30]Angkor Wat is one of the wonders of ancient architecture. Many of the monuments are part of the UN world's cultural heritage.

  4. 留意看照片, 穿短褲涼鞋的不多見, 能嗎?
    夕照小吳哥窟, 很發思古幽情.
    [版主回覆04/09/2013 09:43:42]It's not advisable to wear short pants unless one's BO is naturally mosquito-repellent. The ruins do make one think. So does the sunset. Civilizations rose and fell, just like the sun.

  5. Thank you very much for your sharing and introduction! Looks like this is a trip to take when I have the time.
    [超哥回覆04/11/2013 16:00:15]Thank you very much for the tips. It will have to be after the rainy season then.
    [版主回覆04/11/2013 10:41:21]If you want to do so, it may be advisable to do that before the start of the wet season which starts some time in May and lasts until some time in November each year, according our tour guide.