Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Apsara at Angkor

I knew coming to Thailand this year I would make an effort to get to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I kicked myself many a time for not going before when I traveled in Asia about 12 years ago. This time I had less time to spare, just three days, so I went shutterbug crazy. I tried to actually not take so many pictures, to just enjoy, appreciate and absorb the wonder that comes with wandering through ancient ruins. Alas, it didn't work out exactly that way, so I have lots of pictures to share (but also had plenty of heat/humidity induced stupors when I hazily took it all in, sitting on a pile of prettily toppled architecture).
The apsara are nymphs who cast their spell on everyone who enters the temples, I would say. I love the details, of course; intricate "hair-dos" and elaborate headpieces, delicate hand gestures, layers of jewelry and finery, each individual expression (in a word, happy) and the perfect affect a thousand years can have.

First, to get a sense of where I was, this is Angkor Wat, very early in the morning. 
It's huge.

And all around, you can see these beauties. They are "standing on the outside and dancing on the inside", according to one unofficial guide. I thought that sounded like a good analogy for....something.

(seriously diggin' those pretty armbands and belts), 

So inspiring.
I have always been fascinated with jewelry in ancient cultures
so it's wonderful to see it (almost) in person.

Next up, my shameless stalking of innocent monks just trying to enjoy the temples.

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