Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to Wat Phu

The early-morning light casts a shadow over the baray at the foot of Wat Phu
One of the most outstanding locations for any Khmer-built temple, Wat Phu stretches for 1.4 kilometres from its entrance point at the end of a 6oo metre-long rectangular basin to the main sanctuary on a natural terrace on the side of the mountain. The view from the water-filled basin looking upwards, and the sight of the ancient temple in all its glory from above the sanctuary, are two of the most gorgeous views to be seen at any of the temples inside or outside Cambodia. The Wat Phu view in Laos is rivaled only in its natural beauty by Preah Vihear, on the Cambodian-Thai border.
Here are some photographs from my recent visit to Wat Phu as I entered the historic site, constructed mainly in the 11th century but built on an older site and also added to in later centuries. The man-made basin in the photos is one of three and marks the eastern end of the temple axis. It was dug later than most of the surviving temple and at its western end, a modern derelict pavilion was recently removed leaving behind a terrace of sandstone blocks. From the terrace, the lower causeway begins, stretching some 250 metres towards the 'palaces' - one of the longest approaches of any Khmer temple. Originally the causeway was lined with nagas and boundary stones, many of which have been erected during recent renovations. The view looking up towards the mountain revealed the summit shrouded in low cloud and the forested slopes a beautiful green as the sun peered through the early morning mist. Breathtaking.
A view of the causeway and mountainside from the sandstone terrace
The western end of the baray and the sandstone terrace
The 250 metre long lower causeway with its boundary posts
One of the boundary posts with the 'palaces' in the background
A map of the Wat Phu complex, found at the entrance - can you spot the small gecko?


Anonymous Boeun said...

It look very nice.

July 12, 2008 1:55 PM  

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