Thursday, November 29, 2007

Angkor – A Wonder of The World !

Cambodia, land of contrasts. After the horror of the Killing Fields comes the wonder of Angkor. It is the most amazing man-made complex I have ever seen. Partly the Vastness of it – hundreds of temples and bits of temples spread for miles around. And not just any ruins but amazing fantastically intricate carvings and vast temples that would have held thousands. Angkor Wat – walking across the causeway too it is a mystical experience. Its vast – part of the biggest Religious site in the world.
Some of it is overrun with tour groups, but at some of the more remote temples you can explore corridor after corridor on your own, stumbling across long forgotten altars to who knows what God. Although the Khmers were Buddhist, they had a strong Indian influence and many of the carvings have Hindu gods and goddess’s on them.

And then there is Ta Prom – once a vast temple that had 80,000 people working in it. While many of the temples have been restored this one has been left exactly as it was when the French explorers rediscovered it in the 1920’s. It has been invaded by nature and much of it has crumbled, while the walls have trees growing out of them and there are piles of rubble everywhere. It’s a good place to act out your Angelina Jolie fantasies ( no not those ones Mullan- this is a family blog), as it was used to film parts of Tombraider, or for my generation being on the set of Indiana Jones.

Its just stunning, its incredible. It was built in the 11th and 12th Century and supported a population of 1 million at a time when London was a small town of 50,000. I’m also betting that the water and sewage facilities in Angkor would have been superior too. I would put it on my list of things to see before you die. It will not disappoint.

And so tomorrow I leave this land of contrasts which showcases the best and worst of humanity. The ancient splendour and the modern horror.

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