Temples of Cambodia – Part 1 Bayon

As promised here is another installment of my Cambodia adventure last year.  In this blog I want to share my journey about one of the extraordinary temples I visited, Bayon.

My journey begins: we left the hotel shortly after breakfast and I enjoyed the morning tuk tuk ride through the city to the temples, watching as the people went about their daily duties and so many children walking, cycling and making their way to school.

Children heading to School

Children heading to School

Once inside the official complex we paused near the entrance into Bayon Temple. There are a row of ‘warriors’ protecting the entrance way and many of them are still headless from the senseless looting of the precious artifacts inside the grounds.  Some say the carved works are protected and I can attest to this strange phenomena. I believe the spirits and protectors were doing strange things to our camera on this day. Photos were difficult; if I tried to expose the structures correctly my images just didn’t work like they should yet if I turned my back and photographed something else my exposure was right. Was it me or a play on light or a dance with the spirits? That was my first taste of just how spiritually rich this sacred land is.

"The Warriors"  Image as seen in Camera

“The Warriors”
Image as seen in Camera

Through the gate we went and again I sat back and took it all in.  Monkeys, people, elephants, temples: a photographers smorgasbord.

Elephant at Bayon

Elephant at Bayon

From a distance Bayon appeared like a pile of rubble in some areas but as we drew closer I saw the large towering smiling faces, this was simply breath taking and the need to explore grew more urgent ..

Arriving at Bayon

Arriving at Bayon

As you begin to immerse yourself in this maze-like temple you get to appreciate the many galleries and corridors, so much to take in and explore, it doesn’t matter which way you go you will eventually get to the top and that is where the magic unfolds and you see these face carvings up close and personal.

The smiling faces of Bayon

The smiling faces of Bayon

As I wound my way through the corridors I found myself drawn to photographing things in frames and creating doorways with elements of the structure without meaning to – there was something that was drawing me to this.  I began to see how, without thinking, I was combining the carvings with stone doors ways and windows was giving me a sense of peace and at the same time creating a beautiful photo.

SoloImagesPhotography_Blog_BayonTemple-0478  SoloImagesPhotography_Blog_BayonTemple-0497  SoloImagesPhotography_Blog_BayonTemple-0513   SoloImagesPhotography_Blog_BayonTemple-1507

After you have wandered within the temple be sure to explore the outer walls too as the outside has a timeless beauty that I felt set it apart from some of the other temples I would later visit.

I could honestly write for days about my thoughts, emotions and how I ‘found’ myself in these places but I am not sure you would still be reading. I have only touched the surface of this land, there is much more to see and explore and it is a very peaceful and spiritual place that affects me like no other.  If you get the opportunity go and experience it for yourself.

SoloImagesPhotography_Blog_BayonTemple-0516

Until next Friday. Have a great week.

Kassy

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