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Cambodia Day 1 : Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary and Ta Prohm

The ancient khmer kingdom of cambodia was in my bucket list for a long time. Finally after planning and saving up for the trip, I decided to pay a visit to this ancient land in the last week of september. I had checked various blogs about the best possible route to siem reip or phonm penh and all sources either a land crossing either from Thailand or Vietnam or fly to either of these destinations. There are no direct flights to cambodia from India and one has to transit via Malaysia/Singapore or Thailand.

Tickets were booked in advance and it was time to hit the road. One can get visa on arrival when you enter cambodia. The airline will give the necessary forms which needs to be filled up. One passport photo and $25 dollars is all that is required to get entry into the country. Our guide was waiting for us at the airport and after a brief introduction we headed to the Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary which is one of the largest in cambodia. The wildlife sanctuary was created to prevent illegal trafficking of animals and it houses a wide variety of animals ranging from cobras to deer, gaur etc.

Animals @Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary

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As the wildlife sanctuary is huge we spent a lot of time covering the entire place. The bird population in the sanctuary is equally impressive. From eagles to other macau’s enough photos were clicked.

Birds@Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary

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Apart from animals and birds the sanctuary also has snakes and we could see lot of cobras and pythons in the snake cage. A look at the bear and we headed out of the wildlife sanctuary.

The next stop was Ta Prohm a buddhist temple built by Raja jayavarman VII. The temple was initially built as a temple for lord vishnu, when cambodia was a Hindu country and it was later converted to buddhist temple.

Ta Prohm temple

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The temple has aparas carved on the sides of the wall and this is a standard feature across all temples in cambodia. The statue of buddha is also present inside the temple. As the temple was dedicated to vishnu the carving of vishnu is also prominently featured in the main entrance.

Apasras engraved on the wall Buddha Statue and Lord Vishnu

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There are stone engravings near the temple depicting the churning of the milky ocean by the Asuras and the Devas as told in the hindu mythology. The engraving show the asuras on one side and the devas on the other. Vasuki the great snake is in the middle of this war.

Churning of the milky ocean

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We also found another engraving depecting the life of a local king who gave up his power to become a saint. As per the local legend the king had given his riches and power to turn to mediation. Renouncing every thing he was on his way to the forest followed by his son and his ministers. Enroute they met a sage who asked the king for some alms. However as the king has nothing to give as he had given up everything he asked his son to go with the sage and serve him, thus showing his generosity.

Engraving of king becoming an ascetic

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The guide then gave us another detailed explanation regarding the unfinished portions of the temple. As per the guide the temple was built as a contest between the king’s son and his mother. Before building the temple they had come to a agreement that the temple had to be built in one day and the construction would stop once a bright light in the sky. The construction of the temple was proceeding in full swing in both sides and when the son and his workers were taking a break, his mother through trickery won the contest by sending a bright light in the sky. As per the agreement her son stopped working on his side thus loosing the contest.

Clicking few more photos the temple we moved to the nearby pagoda which has various statues of buddha. There is an vishnu temple present in the same place and this was constructed during the same time as Ta Prohm.

Pagoda and temple

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Next to pagoda there is a burial place where the local people bury their elders and pray for their soul to RIP.

Burial Place

IMG_5352_resizeSpending some time in the pagoda we relaxed for while before heading to the hotel, thus concluding a well spent first day in cambodia.

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