Monday, June 1, 2009

At the center

Above the main doorway to the central sanctuary is a pediment showing Shiva dancing on the head of an elephant
We've now reached Gopura I and the central sanctuary of Preah Vihear which is a slight anti-climax in my view. The sanctuary itself is partially collapsed though a place for worship is still attended by laymen, and surrounding it are two covered galleries with inward-facing windows, looking like the cloisters of an abbey. The southern end of the central sanctuary is false and is closed off and access to the cliff-edge is by doubling-back on yourself. To the southeast the corner of the temple is literally inches from the edge of the mountain and caution is required if you navigate that area. We are now at the end of our journey through the Preah Vihear temple, we have climbed up through the successive levels, stretching some 800 metres, and the last part of the walk is outside the central sanctuary and up to the cliff-edge and the sheer drop to the Cambodian plains below. This replication of entering Mount Meru is a journey I would recommend everyone completes at least once in their lifetime.
A false door to the central shrine with a large kala lintel
A re-assembled pediment with a large dancing lion
Vishvakarma and his mace on both the lintel and pediment
A doorway with lintel and part pediment behind the central sanctuary
Another lintel and pediment with Vishvakarma in the hot seat
Close-up detail of Vishvakarma holding his mace and sitting on the head of a munching kala
The main doorway to the central sanctuary shrine of Preah Vihear
A look at some of the rubble from the partially collapsed sanctuary
The cloister-style gallery surrounding the central sanctuary shrine at Preah Vihear



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