|We arrived in Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City yesterday and after making our way to the Angkor Hotel, we relaxed and made arrangements to tour the temples of Angkor. This morning our driver picked us up at our hotel and we headed out to the admissions area... entry into the temples of Angkor is controlled by a local oil company, who in return for looking after administration of the site take 15% of the revenue with 10% going to the Aspara Authority who is responsible for protecting and upkeep of the temples with the balance going to the Cambodian Finance Ministry...lord knows what happens to the money after they get their hands on it. There are over 100 temples in the Angkor area and since we only had the one day to visit we decided to follow a one day itinerary set out in "The Lonely Planet". We started with Angkor Wat, believed to be the largest religious structure in the world......a very unique place. It was likely built between 1112 and 1152, presumably as a tomb for King Suryavarman II to honor Vishnu, the Hindu god with which the king identified. The temple faces west, the symbolic direction of death, hence the presumption that this temple was constructed as Suryavarman's funerary temple. Angkor Wat is also known for the wondrous "aspara" or heavenly nymphs that are carved into its walls. There are more than 3000 of them, each one different from the others... there are also a number of Bas-reliefs which make their way around the outside of the central complex of the temple including a depiction of the "Battle of Kurukshetra", the Hindu Mahabharata epic where the Pandavas, who were advancing from the South clashed in a furious battle with the Kauravas who came down from the North. We then made our way to Ta Prohm, a temple that appeared to have been left to be overcome by the surrounding jungle. It was built from 1186 and was originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of The King), a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. This temple was used in the filming of the movie Tomb Raider. Next up was Preah Khan and enroute we came to a spot in the road where the bridge was being replaced, so we had to retrace our tracks and go around in another direction. This afforded us an opportunity to get a picture from the car of Ta Keo, an unfinished monument made completely of limestone. It was built by Jayavarman V and was dedicated to Shiva. We reached Preah Khan also known as Sacred Sword...it was like a maze....with numerous corridors..... built by Jayavarman VII and dedicated around 1191. The last temple we visited was that of Angkor Thom...in reality, at one time a fortified city...also known as Great Angkor or Great City...which was over 10 square kilometres in size and was built by Jayavarman VII during his reign from 1181 to 1219. It is estimated that there may have been one million people living in the region around this temple at one point. The Temple was centred on the "Bayon" which is a complex of faces, surrounded by a moat. There were five huge gates thru which entry to the city was gained...one of which was called Victory Gate....each was decorated with elephant trunks and with the four faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (so that's where Steely Dan got the name "Bodhisattva" for one of their albums). The Bayon is a collection of corridors, steep stairways and 54 towers decorated with 216 smiling faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (four on each tower) that bear a resemblance to the King himself. As you walk about, the eyes seem to follow you as you make your way around the Bayon. After we finished our visit at Angkor Thom we returned to our hotel and got ready for our return to Bangkok tomorrow......