Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day 5

The warmer weather we were looking forward to arrived today. The temperature is above 90 degrees with high humidity. The weather did not stop us today as we had the opportunity to visit Ankor Wat and Angkor Thom, Buddist and Hindu temples that are the largest religious monuments in the world. These ancient temples were built in the 10th and 11th century. Angkor Wat housed one million people while Angkor Thom housed 20,000 people. It was difficult to wrap our mind around the population of Brookings living in this area. It was amazing to think of a bustling population 1000 years ago.  The temples in Angkor Thom are being restored because they were taken over by the jungle.  The temples in Angkor Wat were not taken over by the jungle because a population of monks took care of it, but have undergone some restoration.  The original temple color is red and when the sun would set the stone would have a golden look; in Thom some of the stone is still red.  In both of the temples the carvings were of the everyday life of the Khmer people; some of the other carvings were of wars.  The temples have four faces on the towers.  The stones of the carvings are made of sandstone. 

The Cambodian people have never forgotten that the temples existed, but it was the French who discovered the temples.  The French recorded the history of the temples.  On the carvings the scripture is written in a different language from the oral story telling tradition.  Justine loved all of it, "to best describe what we saw today, see attached pictures."  Rachel enjoyed the noises of the birds, monkeys, the trees, heat, and the music of the local people. 

We were privileged to visit a location where people from all around the world visit.  Tonight we are going to enjoy a traditional Cambodian dance show.   

Rachel Achen and Justine Meis​


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