A proper coffee at Angkor Wat for those searching for a refreshment this is one western option after entering the backside of Angkor (at 05h30) and catching the sunrise from the top of the central tower.
Helen Churchill Candee a journalist travelled the Titanic and visited Angkor in the 1920s writing ‘in order to become familiar with the composition of Angkor Wat the visitor should learn to recognize the repetitive elements in the architecture. Galleries with columns, towers, curved roofs, tympanums, steps and the cross-shaped plan occur again and again.’ There is no doubt that she observed what is still the predominant theme there.
Angkor Wat design reflects the universe in stone and represents an earthly model of the cosmic world. The central tower rises from the center of the monument symbolizing the mythical mountain, Meru a sacred mountain with five peaks which situated at the center of the universe. Its five towers correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall corresponds to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat the oceans beyond.
The state of beauty and state of preservation is unrivaled with an impressiveness somehow greater than the Pyramids. The sun rises over the jungle looking east and the shadows of darkness vanish with an intense ball of fire.
The light make the central towers seem alive after 45 minutes in pitch black using torches. The light is flat and taking photos is very difficult with a simple iphone.
We are watching our clocks to be sure to we are in the right plce at the right time. The sun rises very quickly and the crowds will begin to buzz with flip-flops, shorts and noisy Asian tourists exploiting the temples as if its a circus, while other take it in with a sense of deep respect. Our friend traveling with us says, “its almost sacrilegious to see it through a camera” and he’s right but its too beautiful and important not to capture.
The blue sky begins to shine above us and the black point deepens with shadows of temple history as we catch the last glimpses of the towers and the steep steps protecting them.
The carvings are wonderful and the plan of Angkor Wat is difficult to grasp due the shear size and vastness. Its complexity and beauty attract and distract viewers as they cannot help to photograph it.
We make our way through the crowds to watch the sunlight twinkle in the sky and reflect from the water as tourists are settled in waiting for their best photo opportunity.
Daylight breaks and the cameras are clicking and tourists from all over the globe are in awe.
Before departing Angkor we walk out the outer walls and pass by taking a last glance at the sunrise before making our way for a coffee and onward to the market for a quick look-see.
The sunrise is noisy and yet the serenity of this temple doesn’t seem to be bothered by tourists nattering back and forth.