I have visited the Egyptian pyramids and the Mayan pyramids. I have seen cathedrals, temples, and mosques around the world. I have been fortunate enough to visit roman ruins from many of the corners of the roman empire. I have never seen anything like the Wats the Khemers built here in Cambodia.
It is not just one big temple, it is a vast array of intricate structures spread out over 200 kilometers built over 700 years starting from 800 AD. When viewed from above each temple has the appearance of a mandala creating sacred geometric patterns. The walls are loaded with stories, nearly all depicting a battle of epic proportions, some are mythical while others historical.
The crumbled structures have the giant roots from enormous trees glueing them together. The quiet motes and lakes reflect a perfect mirror of the spires towering above them. The jungle echoes calls from the birds and make for such a serene walk throughout the forest from Wat to Wat.
I have had day dreams about wandering throughout the ruins of Cambodia and I am not disappointed. Our first afternoon was spent going to some of the smaller temples ending with a spectacular sunset. Our second journey started at 5:30 am to catch sunrise over the most famous temple, Angkor Wat. At that time of the morning we had the whole temple to ourselves with the ability to snap some photos without hoards of tourists in the image.
I thought that it might be if-you've-seen-youve-seen-them-all sort of thing, but each temple has it's own flavor, style, and layout - not counting the base relief stories of war. The surrounding forest have towering trees that must have been here forever watching history. Let's hope they get to experience some peace here finally.
Location:Siam Reap Csmbodia