Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Catching up

The Jayavarman cruiser docked at Kompong Cham, in the shadow of the Kizuna Bridge. Passengers can be seen disembarking.
Children from a local orphanage give us a rousing welcome
I have lots of catching up to do and I'll start with some photos from my recent trip up the Mekong River to Kompong Cham on the luxury cruise boat, The Jayavarman. After visiting Wat Han Chey, we moored off the riverside road at Kompong Cham city itself and were met by a group of schoolchildren from a local orphanage who danced, sang and played music to offer us a welcome to their city. Then it was onto the bus to head for Wat Nokor, the temple on the outskirts of the city where the extensive 13th century prasat is fused with a modern Buddhist pagoda, though much of the remodelling of the ancient prasat was made in the 16th century. Essentially a temple that has undergone many changes and many faces. Today its an intriguing mixture of the old and the new. I've been there many times before but always see something new on each visit. One of the things that has always frustrated me is the central tower and its main doorway, which acts as the central shrine of the pagoda. The light is always so bad and the stone itself is very dark which means that I never get a good photo of the lintel and pediment above that particular doorway. After spending about an hour at the temple, we headed to another orphanage to look at the children's artwork and find out more about the orphanage before heading back to the cruise boat via the bamboo bridge that crosses an artery of the Mekong River to the island of Koh Paen, and is one of the tourist attractions the city has to offer. Even though its only in place for about six months of the year.
A local shell seller watches the children perform their welcome dance
2 guardians at the entrance to Wat Nokor. I'm the one in the white shirt in case you are confused.
A pediment in marvellous condition on the northern face of the central tower at Wat Nokor. It shows the Great Departure with Buddha riding his horse and below are a row of worshippers each holding two lotuses. This pediment dates from the 13th century.
One of the modern colourful Buddha statues inside the central tower at Wat Nokor
This is the eastern doorway of the central tower and shrine combined. Gold leaf highlights the pediment which shows Buddha's enlightenment and is believed to date from the 16th century.
This is detail from the lower register of the western pediment of the central tower showing a row of women, half-kneeling, each holding their head in one arm, with eyes closed, sleeping

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