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Around The Sun: Angkor Wat

Steve Harrison is overwhelmed by the temples at Angkor Wat.

The temple is held in a stranglehold of trees. Stone and wood clasp each other in grim hostility; yet all is silent and still, without visible movement to indicate their struggle – as if they were wrestler’s suddenly petrified, struck motionless in the middle of a fight. The rounds in this battle were not measured by minutes but by centuries.

Shrouded in jungle, the temple of Ta Prohm is ethereal in aspect and conjures up a romantic aura. Tree trunks twist among stone pillars. Fig, banyan and kapok trees spread their gigantic roots over, under and in between the stones, probing walls and terraces apart as their branches and leaves intertwine to form a canopy above the structure.

Everywhere you see nature in it’s dual role of destroyer and consoler, strangling on the one hand and healing on the other, no sooner splitting the carved stones asunder than dressing their wounds with cool, velvety mosses and binding them with the most delicate tendrils, contradictory actions which justify yet again the idea of Nature being feminine.

The above was not written by me. Some of those words appeared in a guide book. Reading them gives me goose bumps as I think about the temples. They are referred to as one of the wonders of the world. In my openion they are the Wonder of the World.

They are majestic in scale, covering some 280 hectares. New temples are still being discovered.

They were obviously built by skilled craftsmen possessed of great imagination. There are more than 50 of them, and new ones are still being discovered.

For many generations they lay hidden from the world until the Franch discovered them around 100 years ago.


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