UNESCO has recognised 3 sites in Seam Reap. Angkor Thom as I have already explained was built by Jayavarmen VII. It was built in 13th Century as the capital. The Temple with its faces looking in four directions , is the most photographed of the temples. Remember its a Buddhist temple so only monks and the King could go there regularly. It was designed to join both Hindu and Buddhist factions and so combined decorations from both religions. The king lived in a wooden palace nearby.
Now the king in the years preceding this temple had built a earlier design( prototype) for his mother called Prohm Temple. This temple was forgotten except for the jungle,birds and animals. Once rediscovered,there was talk of reconstruction and restoration until they really looked.
Now they are just making sure the buildings are supported so the roots do not collapse them with the weight. Mike did his bit for a short time and then handed over to the next traveller or tourist…whoever volunteered.
The ruins were used in an Indiana Jones movie. They certainly have a special feeling to them. There was a echo room so the chants to Buddha could be heard by all. You stood against the wall and the vibration s were carried upwards. Our group just thumped their chests since they didn’t know the words. Like the later temples, the walls were decorated with flowers, symbols of Buddha and Hinduism including Naga, the seven headed cobra, Vishnu and 615 celestial dancers all with different hairstyles.
Now I am sure you have noted our desire to keep fit. Each of these temples have long entrance areas from their main gate and stairs, lots of steeeeeeep stairs, designed for people with ittttie bitty feet.
Angkor Wat was the third temple. It was originally designed as a Hindu temple to Vishnu but converted to a Buddhist temple and mausoleum.It extends over 402 acres. Based on the centre as a mountain to represent Meru, home of mythical Hindu deities, galleries have been added around the outside. There are five towers but only three can be seen at a time and are now used to represent Cambodia on their national flag. The inner temple area was surrounded by a moat, originally with crocodiles . You access the temple through a gate ,drive three kilometres and then cross the moat on a raised walkway. Once inside, you walk through the galleries to a second walkway to the main temple.
The galleries are decorated with beautiful carvings. These would once have had red ochre backgrounds and the surrounding walls would have been white stucco. Ceilings would have been teak. You can still see the red on some walls.