It was still dark when we arrived at the Angkor Wat complex. There is a huge moat surrounding the temple boundary, and crossing the bridge gives an amazing view of the entrance. Once inside, there is a long causeway which goes all the way up to the entrance to the temple. The view of Angkor Wat towers from the beginning of this causeway is magnificent. It is flanked by structures called ‘libraries’ on both sides. The place was already full of people, so we hurried up to take good spots for the sunrise.
Needless to say, the view was breathtaking. As Angkor Wat faces west, the sun rises from behind it, illuminating the towers in various shades of orange, red and yellow. The sky, a rose pink that day, changed colors with the rising sun giving amazing silhouettes of the grand temple. The water in the ponds outside the temple give the iconic Angkor Wat view – temple with its inverted image.
What is noticeable is the effect of black and white stones, stripped of all color.
The view from the top levels is spectacular. One can see the jungles surrounding the complex and once again you are drawn into that feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.
Simply put, Angkor Wat grew on me.
I wasn’t a first timer to an architectural wonder; I have traveled extensively within India and visited the grand temples of Cholas in South, the Sun temple of Konark in Odisha, the grandiose forts of Rajasthan, Meenakshi temple and the Taj Mahal. I have seen massive structures, intricate carvings, sound architecture, awe-inspiring artwork. Seen lots of it.
Still, Gobsmacked I was.
Gobsmacked inspite of having googled Angkor Wat pictures a dozen times while planning the trip. With information and images readily available, somehow the whole surprise element of visiting a new place is lost, but not in this case. Angkor Wat lives up to all the hype and I can guarantee it will leave you dumbfounded.
More from my trip:
Cambodia diaries: Race to Siem Reap
Cambodia diaries: Temple Run in Angkor Thom
Cambodia diaries: Ta Prohm and Phnom Bekang
Cambodia diaries: Chilling in Pub Street
Cambodia diaries: Bantaey Srei and Landmine museum
Cambodia diaries: Floating Village
Cambodia diaries: Phnom Penh
Cambodia diaries: Expenses and itinerary