Day 12

Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
Trip End Feb 26, 2013

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sour Sdey!

Today we visited Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple complex and religious monument in the world. It was absolutely breathtaking. We left the hotel around 8:30 a.m. to head to the temple and it was already pretty crowded. Luckily, we had already gotten our passes yesterday, so we were able to enter right away. 

Angkor Wat is a huge temple surrounded by a huge man-made moat. The name, Angkor Wat means Temple City. The temple was built in the early 12th century by king Suryavarman II. It has an outer wall that is 2.2 miles long, which is surrounded by the moat. There are three levels of the temple which you can climb, each on becoming steeper as you ascend, indicating the higher levels were more exclusive. One other interesting fact about the temple is that it is oriented west, rather than each like most temples. This has led many to believe that the king Suryavarman who built the temple, intended it to serve as his funerary temple. 

When we arrived at Angkor Wat we entered through one of the main gates. It was very crowded on the grounds; there were quite a few tourists. We spent about 2 hours walking around the grounds with our tour guide. He was very engaging and had a lot of knowledge to share about the temple. One of my favorite parts of the temple was the decoration. The inner walls of the outer gallery bear a series of large-scale scenes that depict episodes from the Hindu epics. The one that interested me the most was the depiction of heaven and hell. 

After Angkor Wat, we headed back to the hotel for lunch. I decided that I wanted to try some local vendors food and convinced Dad to come with me. We walked down the street for a little while and finally decided on a place. It was really good food and I think Dad enjoyed it too. Many of the traditional dishes here are rice or noodles with some sort of meat. Its been very good so far. 

This afternoon Dad and I opted to visit another temple named Banteaysrei. Banteaysrei is a 10th century Cambodian temple that was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It is also known as the "citadel of women". The temples are carved in beautiful red sandstone and many have beautifully preserved carvings covering every surface. The unique part about the red sandstone is that it can be carved like wood, so the carvings are very detailed. This temple is also much smaller than Angkor Wat and I enjoyed it more because it was a much more intimate experience.

This evening there were dinner options for everyone, and I accidentally fell asleep around 8:00pm. I must have been tired. 
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