Rona & Aaron’s Excellent Adventure, Part 18

Previously…

A short digression from our tour…

I am about to show you a place that stands as a metaphor for what happens when we don’t pay attention to the little things. There are all sorts of metaphors that we use. We talk about things that you don’t pay attention to coming around and biting you in the back. We talk about a cancer left unchecked and the destruction it can ravage. Well, here is the standing proof of this idea.

Ta Prohm was allowed to remain as it was found (although there is still some construction going on there.) Take a gander at what nature has done to this temple.

The spong tree that ate Ta Prohm

The spong tree that ate Ta Prohm

Yes, indeed. It’s unbelievable. Small seeds found their way into the roofs of these temple buildings. As time went by, the seeds sprouted roots that sought soil. And yes, they made their way down the building into the ground and at the same time grew high into the sky.

My husband standing near some roots

My husband standing near some roots

Another tree

Another tree

Standing among these trees and looking at what they have done to the temple, one is completely amazed. All of this happened when small trees were allowed to grow from the roofs unchecked. As one looks at the other temples, one can see the beginnings of trees- little branches with leaves protruding from the roofs. Much of the preservation work that is constantly being done at the other temple complexes has to do with removing these small invaders before they cause destruction.

Still stunned by Ta Prohm, we made our way to one of the more beautiful temples, perhaps the most beautiful temple of Angkor, is Banteay Srei, the women’s temple. It’s an almost pink color with exotic carvings. Like most temples, it had a formal entrance and was surrounded by a moat. Most of the temples we visited didn’t have visible moats, but Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei did.

In the moat

In the moat

You can see a very different style in this temple.

Approaching the entrance

Approaching the entrance

Detail of entrance gate

Detail of entrance gate

And here is a little of what one sees inside. This temple is a real favorite and therefore full of visitors. It’s really something very special to see.

Inside of Banteay Srei

Inside of Banteay Srei

Our local guide explained to us the rationale behind the design of this temple. Its components are the same as others including a library and a prayer hall and other chambers. But in this one, the separate buildings represent parts of the body– the trunk, the legs, the arms, and the head. Fascinating!

Next time: some of the people we saw and the largest lake in Southeast Asia and its amazing ability to change fundamentally twice each year.

Continuing…

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