Memories of Angkor’s Jungle Temples

Nothing quite prepared me for these giant trees. I’ve seen so many images of them (and yes, we’ve all seen the movie) but to actually wander through the temples and see trees sprouting from stones is an eerie site. These temples were once thriving with people; then they were forgotten, and consumed by the jungle.

Some, like Angkor Wat, have been restored; some partially restored, others have been left largely the way they were discovered. Forgotten by the world, some temples became hideouts for the Khmer Rouge, while others are still being cleared of mines. But I couldn’t help but wonder – how many more of these temples lie hidden in the jungles of Cambodia?

 

 

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Sunrise Over Angkor Wat

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It was still dark as we made our way through the jungle. Tree roots spread thick fingers across our way, and the noises of the night scuttled round us. Most tourists reach Angkor Wat via the front entrance, where a grand causeway stretches over a wide moat. Instead,we entered from the east, (unusually for Khmer temples, Angkor Wat faces the setting sun, traditionally the symbol of death.) Despite the aid of pocket torches we stumbled over fallen logs and mossy stones before suddenly the temple rose before us: the grandeur of a world long gone.

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