Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In the middle of nowhere

A face has been dug out of this termite mound at Prasat Trapeang Prasat
The three towers of Prasat Trapeang Prasat in shade
Prasat Trapeang Prasat is a few kilometres from the town of the same name, Trapeang Prasat, in Oddar Meanchey province. Its a pretty neat ruin, three brick towers opening to the east in fairly reasonable condition, considering it's been located in landmine and Khmer Rouge territory for all of the last 35 years. Today access to the temple is safe but it's in an area devoid of other temple sites, the nearest one of any notoriety is Preah Vihear, where we had just come from, and about 30kms from our next destination, Anlong Veng. Trapeang Prasat is pretty much in the middle of nowhere though the improvement in the roads will soon make it a pass-through as the tourists flock from Siem Reap and on through Anlong Veng, and Trapeang Prasat, on their way to Preah Vihear. It's going to happen and pretty soon, once the troops end their stalemate on the mountaintop. We were going in the opposite direction, and stopped for a chicken and rice breakfast at a cafe near the town's main traffic circle, which turned out to be a replica prasat. We tracked down the actual temple, which is near a pagoda and surrounded by a laterite wall. There were a few carvings scattered around but everything of value had been taken away, probably by Ta Mok, who had a habit of collecting Angkorean sculpture. Nearby, and just past the dry pond, was a laterite ruin but completely covered in vegetation and impossible to get close to. It was already a hot morning as we climbed back into our 4WD for our next stop, Anlong Veng.
Modern-day graffiti on the doorway to one of the towers
A slab of sandstone, again with modern-day carving
The doorway entrance to the central tower
A kala lintel in the undergrowth
Slabs of sandstone lie on the ground including this defaced linga
A nicely decorated doorway column at Prasat Trapeang Prasat
The west face of the central tower with its false door
The three towers looking from the east
The three towers looking from the west
The main traffic circle in Trapeang Prasat is a replica prasat
Here's our breakfast stop in Trapeang Prasat
The main street in Trapeang Prasat, dusty and muddy

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