Walking through the ancient temple, built in 1186 AD, this carving was a nice surprise. There are hundreds of small carvings in Ta Prohm, part of the Angkor World Heritage site. Someone pointed out this “stegosaurus” to me and I had to get a record of it. There are two theories of how a dinosaur came to be carved into a temple over 800 years old. Firstly, it could be a carving of something other than a stegosaurus. Alternatively this could be put there more recently as a joke for unsuspecting tourists.
Visiting Angkor Wat prepared for jungle temperatures and very early starts to catch the sunrise. What I wasn’t expecting was the state of the temples and the amount of tourists. There must have been literally dozens, if not hundreds of coaches. Fortunately, I had a very patient driver who didn’t mind waiting around for the groups to move on. In my opinion, photographs like this look better without people in them. It seems like this doorway could easily fall down at any minute, yet for about ten minutes I watched in amazement as people stood under it to have their photographs taken.
The literal translation from Khmer is Great City. Angkor Thom was not only the last, but the most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. The pattern on the stone is caused by hundreds of years in a tropical, Cambodian climate. Even still you can make out the faces on the four sides of this tower above the entrance to the city. To give an idea of scale it is possible to drive a coach through the opening at the bottom of this frame, although obviously this photograph just shows the top half. It is one of the most impressive sites in the Angkor National Park, especially when you consider it was built around 750 years ago.
After an early start and my first attempt at a Cambodian sunrise, I sat down to pack up my gear. Just as the camera was going back in my bag, I looked along the river to see this scene. Obviously, the lens cap could not have come off any faster. The way the early morning light is falling on these people makes it look almost posed. Like an image you might see in a travel brochure. The man holding a baby in the background is a bit distracting. Overall, the way this photograph tells a story, is what I like the most.
Built in the 12th century and abandoned in the 15th century this temple is one of the oldest ruins in the area. It really shows the power of Mother Nature as some of the trees growing out of the walls are hundreds of feet high. This is to be expected as the area around the temple is a jungle and the place has been left unattended for over 500 years. Still I wasn’t expecting the trees to be quite so huge. The above photograph is a section of the roots of one of these massive trees. In 2010 the Archaeological Survey of India started to restore the temple as you can see by the modern intrusion of the metal support in this small doorway or window.