Recpaturing the silence of Angkor

A this travel piece on Angkor, covering Phnom Bakheng, Ta Prohm and the Bayon.

The last stand
The Hindu, 17 February 2008

Here, I learn my first lesson about “remote” and “mystical” Angkor. For a place rediscovered only in the 1860s, protected by a thick belt of jungle, virtually cut off until 1998 due to a genocidal civil war, Angkor today lies on a road that is very well travelled. (“The world’s most crowded offbeat destination,” someone joked a couple of days later.) I guess I should have realised this when I passed the string of hotels that led to my own on the way from the airport. Or even before, when I spotted the Icelandair jet parked on the tarmac.

So then, I am not the only one with the sunset idea. Hundreds of others have planned to catch the last rays from the temple on the hill and I join the cheery chattering swarm on the way up. I make a list of nationalities from appearances, accents, dress and behaviour: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arab, American, Thai and the ubiquitous groups of Japanese.

Read the full story here.

Related books:
Bayon Reconsidered by V. Roveda, O. Cunin and C. Jacques
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
Ancient Angkor (River Book Guides) by C. Jaques
Angkor: The Serenity of Buddhism

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Recpaturing the silence of Angkor”

  1. It was a wonderful experience for Michael to go to Angkor and be welcomed so warmly by the potters of Siem Reap.

    As for the Temples, they are mind blowing even if you are the zillionth person to tread these sacred corridors.

    What a history and shame to the Khmer Rouge for their horrific massacres and murder of these gentle people.

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