|Decor is our guide for the week. He started by telling us about the 3 different time periods...pre Ankgor (before the year 1000); Ankgor (1000-1500); and post Ankgor from 1500 and on. Temples were built by Buddists and Hindus. Often times they started as Buddist and then Hindus took it over.they would remove the Buddas or just remove the head or change the look of the Buddha adding a beard to the face. Sometimes they would revert back to Buddhism.
The temples were never completed as the king would die before completion and the new king would start his own. Most of them are in the process of being restored, using sandstone and limestone from the original quarries. As With the Incas, these heavy stones were laid without mortar. They were moved to the site over land by elephant or via bamboo rafts on the river.
After the 16th century Buddism, Hinduism and Animaism were combined together.
There are 296 temples in Ankgor and 1000 in Cambodia.We saw 5 of them.
Ta Prohm was the first temple. A Buddist temple with 3 walls, 2 moats, 4 entrances, 4 libraries in which the Sanskrit tablets were kept, 39 towers, 4 ponds and sitting on more than100 acres. The sandstone came from a quarry over 40 miles away. Many trees have grown into the temple causing some of the collapse. It is also felt that the civil war that took place from 1975-1992 caused some damage.
The second temple we saw was Banteay Srey, a Hindu temple. This had 3 towers and 2 libraries. The carving on the walls was much more detailed. We also visited Preah Khan, Neak Poan and Pre Rup temples.
After our day of temple tours we watched the sun set. We had a very interesting chat with our guide. He is a survivor of the Cambodian Genocide that was led by Poi Pot and the Khmer Rouge. He was 4 years old when 15 members of his family were killed, including his father and 4 brothers. His mother took him and his 2 sisters and left their village and try to locate the bodies. Unsuccessful. Unlike Rwanda where there is a museum and memorials in every town, Cambodian Genocie is not spoken of and is illegal to teach in school. History courses covered is from 100 years ago. He tells his sons about this and they do not believe him. He hopes now with the Internet and information available from outside the country the new generation will learn about it.
He was also "recruited " by the Rmy when he was 16. He drove a tank during the civil war and barely escaped death. The tank was locked from the outside and the driver's ankles were restrained. Because there were soldiers being transported on the outside he was able to get them to shoot the lock off (he was not restrained) and escaped seconds before his jeep was blown up! After 10 years he left the army!
So glad to have been born in the USA