Cambodia Day 4: Beng Mealea

Today would be our last day in cambodia as we would be heading back to phonm penh for the flight to thailand the next day. We decided to cover Beng Mealea today as it is located on the way to phonm penh and we can head back there after covering it. The temple is located 40 kms from siem reap and is thought to have been built at the same time Angkor Wat was built.

The temple is completely in ruins and only few walls are left standing. The temple has the carvings of the churning of the milky ocean. The walls also have very few carvings in them.

The ruins of Beng Mealea

IMG_5818_resizeIMG_5821_resizeWith moss growing everywhere the place has a mystical feel. One can get to feel and experience a Tomb Raider effect when you go to Beng Mealea. 

Moss covered Ruins




IMG_5863_resizeWe spent some time walking around the ruins and exploring the small tunnels in the temple, before heading back to the Car to continue on the long drive to Phonm Penh thus ending a fantastic visit to the ancient empire.

Cambodia Day 3 – Angkor Wat

The third day of the trip would start with a visit to prasat kraven which is again a temple dedicated to vishnu, The temple is under renovation with co-operation from the Govt of germany.

The temple does not contain many carvings as other temples, however the sanctum sanctorum contains the idol of vishnu.

Prasat kraven

IMG_5531_resizeAs the temple is under renovation, the image of vishnu is not fully visible. The temple contains two chambers on the ether side of the sanctum sanctorum and the right chambers contains statue of lakshmi and her assistants.

Vishnu and Lakshmi


The next stop was Bantaey samrei a temple dedicated to shiva. The carvings here are damaged and the guide explained during the khmer rouge time many of the carvings were illegally exported to thailand.

Banteay Samrei

IMG_5536_resizeThe temple has various libraries situated in the interior of the temple. These libraries used to be used for religious purposes.

Libraries of Banteay Sameri


 The interior of the temple has a linga and a huge courtyard. The back end of the temple contains statues of two liones whose backside is shown to us. Clicking few photos there we moved to the next temple Banteay Srei

Lions at back entrance

IMG_5565_resizebanteay Srei the next temple in the list is also a important temple as it was built during the construction of other important monuments such as the Notre Dame Castle and the chichen itiza in mexico

Banteay Srei Construction


The temple is dedicated to lord shiva. The temple also has carvings dedicated to lord vishnu in his narashimha avatar.


IMG_5573_resizeThe temple has some ancient writings written in pali language. As with other temples there are various libraries within the temple

Ancient Inscriptions


Banteay Srei Libraries


 Among the other carvings in the temple there is one carving from Ramayana depicting the battle between vali and sugreeva. The caving shows Rama shooting and arrow killing vali.

Battle between vali and sugreeva

IMG_5606_resizeThe outer portion of the temple was being enclosed by a wall and once a get a full view of the temple. We took several photos before heading to Banteay Kdei.

Banteay Srei

IMG_5622_resizeBanteay Kdei is a temple that is constructed in bayon style. The entrance of the temple has 4 headed buddha which is same as the one present in Angkor Thom

Banteay Kdei

IMG_5642_resizeThe speciality of this temple is that there are big trees growing throughout the temple. Most of the tress have their roots within the stone blocks of the temple from which it has grown.

Trees in Banteay Kdei


With trees growing and giving the temple a mysterious look this place has become very famous and even movies such as Tomb Raider are shot here. The guide showed us the tree which was used for the shooting of tomb raider.

Famous Trees

IMG_5669_resizeApart from the trees there are carvings of aparas as well. Spending some time here we headed to the Royal Baths a huge man made public bathing system which was used by the people and the royals alike. This is present next to Angkor Wat. As it was already afternoon, we broke for lunch at a hotel near royal baths.

The royal baths

IMG_5682_resizePost lunch break we headed to the most famous of all temples The Angkor Wat . The temple complex is a world heritage site and was constructed in the first of 12th century by king suryavarman II. The temple was initially built as a hindu temple when cambodia was ruled by hindu kings and later became a buddhist temple. This is also one of the largest temple complexes in the world.

We entered the west side of angkor wat as it has less tourists. The temple has 3 main towers and has various levels. Each level has various carvings and has significance based on the type of religious activity that is done

West entrance of angkor wat


The angkor wat is a massive complex and there are 3 main towers which stand out pre-dominently. The first level of the temple contains carvings of a battle scene where we can see the king on top of his elephant with his other soldiers.

To enter the upper levels of the temple one needs to climb the steps which are steep. The carvings of the aparas are more detailed here than other temples. Once we go inside we can see various buddha statues in his various avatars.


IMG_5723_resizeThe temple also has inscriptions similar to the ones in Banteay Srei. At each level we can see buddha statues indicating the influence of buddhism has had towards the later part of the khmer empire

Inscriptions and Buddha Statues


IMG_5744_resizeThe temple following the other temples has libraries. Taking photos of the central tower and other statues within the temple we spent some time roaming inside the huge complex. Ideally one would require around 2-3 hours to cover every inch of the temple. We spent approximately the same amount of time admiring the wonderful architecture .

Central Tower

IMG_5734_resizeAs we headed to the lower level we could see more carvings on the wall. The carvings depicts a story from Mahabharata.


IMG_5760_resizeWe headed out of the temple after couple of hours. Once we come out we can see Angkor Wat it all its glory with its reflection in the waters surrouding the moat. This photo has become very popular and I could experiment with various angles.

Angkor Wat Reflection

IMG_5773_resizeCouple more snaps of the towers and we exited the complex biding adeiu to the temple.

The 3 towers

IMG_5786_resizeThe outer portion of the temple contains a large statue of buddha which is worshipped by the people. Few more snaps and we headed back to the hotel thus ending a wonderful tour.



Cambodia Day 2 : The temples in Siem Reip

Day 2 of our journey started with an early breakfast and a drive to siem reip whcih has the main attractions such as bayon, angkor wat, angkor thom etc. Siem reip is 300 kms from Phonm penh and will take approx 5-6 hrs of driving. We departed from phonm penh to siem reip. The inital part of the journey was through the crowded city traffic and the progress was slow.  The roads in cambodia are not well developed. Lot of potholes remain and one has to be careful when driving. Progress was slow till we reached the city limits and soon we could pick up some speed. The speed limit on the highway is restricted to 60 kms and the drivers do not accelerate beyond that. The scenary also improved and the lush green fields greeted us. Couple of stops in between for few photos and we continued our journey.

Scenary outside phonm penh


Couple more hours of driving and we reached siem reip and checked into our hotel. The guide and the driver who would take us around were already present there waiting for us. A brief introduction and we asked him for some time to freshen up before we could start exploring the temples.

We first visited the south gate of bayon temple and angkor thom which is the entrance to the bayon temple. The entrance to the temple has the stone carvings of asuras and the devas churning the milky ocean. Some of the stone faces are recent however many of the original stone faces are still present.

Entrance to Bayon

IMG_5374_resizeAngkor Thom was built by Raja jayavarman VII and is predominently a buddhist temple. The main attraction of the temple is the 4 faces of buddha carved throughout the temple.

The 4 face Buddha@ South gate Bayon

IMG_5382_resizeOnce you enter the south gate you can find airavat the 3 headed elephant of indira the king of gods. There are other carving as well along with the 3 headed elephant,

3 headed elephant

IMG_5383_resizeWe continued towards the main temple, which has 23 towers. There are two libraries which used to contain books related to religion on two far ends. These have been recently restored by the Govt of Japan. Each tower has the buddha faces carved in it. As with other temples in the angkor plain has carvings of apsaras on it. As we moved inwards, we came across the detailed carving of the king going into battle with his entourage. The carving shows the king on the elephant and followed by the soldiers. The carving also depicts the kind of weaponry used during the khmer reign.

Elegant carving of king going into battle


We continued to explore the temple, taking snaps. The most famous of all the statues is the smiling buddha statue. We clicked few photos there before entering the interior of the temple.

Smiling Buddha


The interior of the temple contains a buddha statue which is being worshipped. Spending some more time at the temple we headed out of the temple, to the next attraction “The Terrace of the Elephants” and “Terrace of the Leper King” which are located adjacent to each other.

The terrace of elephants is located at the east entrance of Bayon temple and it consists of images of Airavat and garuda carved in it. The 350m-long Terrace of Elephants was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall.

Terrace of Elephants


Next to the elephant terrace we have the terrace of the lepper king. This contains the carving of Yama the god of death. Most of the carvings have discoloration and it shows a person with leprosy, and also because it fit in with a Cambodian legend of an Angkorian king Yasovarman I who had leprosy.

Terrace of Lepper King

IMG_5448_resizeIMG_5447_resizeWith Bayon complete out next visit was Banteay Kdei which is located a little distance away from The terrace of the lepper king.

The speciality of this temple is that the archway decrease in size as we go inwards and it extends out as we go out of the temple. The temple is again built in Bayon Style.

Banteay Kdei

IMG_5453_resizeOnce we enter the temple one can see the base of the linga present indicating this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The sanctum sanctorum consists of a buddhist related structure. As per the guide this temple was vandalized supposedly by the king’s henchmen when he converted the people to buddhism and destroyed several carvings.

Linga and Buddhist Statue

IMG_5460_resizeIMG_5462_resizeThe outer portions of the temple has trees growing on the walls thus giving a mystical feel to the temple.

Walls covered with tree roots

IMG_5478_resizeAn exit at back of the temple completed our visit to this temple. The final temple in our list was Bakheng which is located atop the bakheng hill. One needs to walk a short distance up the hill to reach the temple. The temple is under renovation and one can see towers of Angkor Wat from the top.

Bakheng temple


The structure is in ruins and only the sanctum sanctorum remains which houses a image of buddha. Taking few photos of Angkow wat towers we headed back to the car

Towers of Angkor Wat

IMG_5512_resizeA short rest for some snacks and we headed back to the hotel thus completing a well spent day.


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