Tuesday, June 2, 2009

View from the edge

The glorious view from the southeast outside corner of the central sanctuary
Preah Vihear has the most spectacular location of any of the Angkorean temples. Perched on the edge of the Dangrek mountains, it commands fantastic views across northern Cambodia and on a good clear day you can see all the way to Phnom Kulen. My first ever visit to Preah Vihear saw the temple covered in low-flying cloud and fog, which can occasionally happen, though the sunset and sunrise from this location is simply majestic and well worth the effort alone. As you leave the blind southern gopura and walk to the cliff-edge, there is a lower-level viewing point with barbed-wire protecting you from falling, though the rock-ledge above is not roped off and you can literally sit on the edge dangling your feet into northern Cambodia. Not for the faint-hearted. The families of a couple of soldiers stationed at Preah Vihear joined us as we sat on the edge enjoying the view and practised their English as we tried our hand at Khmer. It was a light-hearted end to our wander through this magnificent temple and one which I will never tire of visiting.
A false door in the southern gopura with lintel and pediment in situ
Tim takes his chance on the narrow ledge at the southeast corner with a sheer drop below him
The southwest corner of the blind southern gopura
The worn Vishvakarma lintel and pediment above the southwest corner doorway
A look at the village of Kor Muy from the cliff-edge; the village will soon be relocated 20kms away
The view from the cliff-edge is spectacular
A look across the northern plains of Cambodia into the hazy distance
I close my look at Preah Vihear with a death-defying balancing act on the cliff-edge; don't let your children copy this, especially wearing that hat!



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