In ancient times, it was also a huge agricultural center, complete with a complex irrigation system. It supported a large population.
The approach was a mile long heatstroke
Then Angkor Wat was in view. No wonder it is a World Heritage Site.
Happy Honored Guide was no longer the reserved and formal person who had picked me up at the airport.
Inside Angkor Wat was beautiful
I love the beguiling Apsaras Dancers. I had seen them all over Angkor. I finally remembered to ask Honored Guide their story. Apsaras were born in the “Churning Ocean of Milk” rose to the heavens and defeated evil devils. There is a Slayer vibe to these ancient temple guardians. A thousand Apsaras Dancers lived in the Angkor Wat complex in ancient times. How cool is that?
Honored Guide kept hurrying me along. I resisted rushing, because I knew I’d never be back. Turns out he didn’t want me to get stuck in the ‘climb line’ to see the temple from the top. He saw this line and said, “Follow me and Don’t Say A Word.” Damn if he didn’t march me past 10,000 people to the front of the line.
He gave me a shove (I was so shocked, Honored Guide had never been anything besides soft spoken and polite!) towards the steps and said, “I’ll be here when you come back down.” At my dropped jawed expression, he made this 'shooing' motion, flapping his hands. If I didn't take advantage of his moxie, I'd never see the top. I started moving.
Humans are supposed to struggle to ascend to the Gods so the climb was impressive.
I was far above the tree line.
Angkor Wat was never abandoned as a place of worship. These ancient Buddhas gave me the chills.
This is the Indian God Vishnu, converted to Buddhism by wearing robes. I liked the umbrella.
These Lions roared at the sky.
It is a really special experience, to be at a place so fabled and holy. Here I am, being guarded by Nagi - the 5 headed cobra that protected Buddha - a very lucky traveler.