January 6, Australia to Siem Reap, Cambodia

  Only 7 hrs and 15 minutes in flight, arriving 4 hours later, local time. We are now in the Northern and Eastern Hemisphere. One of the UNESCO Heritage sites to visit here is Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious structure built of stone. We also visited Ta Prohm, the jungle temple tangled in the thick roots of the banyan trees.

Archeological evidence suggests that people inhabited the area now known as Cambodia as early as 4200BC. From about 800 AD until about 1860s AD the lands of Cambodia were brought under the control of a king, initiating the Angkorian Khmer Empire that would produce the impressive Angkor Wat.






  We got up at 0330 to have breakfast and leave for the sunrise shoot by 0400. We were in plenty of time, but notice a lot of people taking pictures when the sun finally came up.







  The highest, central structure of Angkor Wat. One must climb about 4 stories to reach the base of it.











  As a woodworker, I was surprised to find mitered corners of stone in perfect condition.







  We all were invited to receive a blessing from a Buddhist monk who first incanted prayers while sprinkling us with water from that bowel in front of him. Both Amy and I received a blessed crimson bracelet.









  At almost every site we visited there were children and teenagers trying to sell us something. This child was not a pushy as others.










  After visiting Angkor Wat, we were bussed a short distance to Banyan Temple, slightly smaller that Angkor Wat, but just as inspiring.









Here is a very warm tourist taking in the sights and mystery of a Buddhist temple. The blue cords around her neck attach the various permits and tickets necessary to visit the various temples.











  This is one site at the Banyon Temple where three heads of Buddha can be seen at once.










  An example of the bas relief which tells of warfare on two levels. The upper level is only partially visible.








  After visiting the temple, we all were treated to an elephant ride around it, with stops to take pictures.











  Ta Prohm Temple, the jungle temple, has only partially undergone restoration. Much of the stone structure must be stabilized with steel beams in order to avoid collapse when the roots are removed.











Imagine the force of the banyon tree roots.











  Monks at Ta Prohm Temple.

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