Friday, May 24, 2013

Rural Cambodia and The Ladies Temple

Sunday was our last last (and, in my opinion) best day in Cambodia. 

Good morning Siem Reap!
We were up early, ate breakfast, packed and checked out of the hotel before Sopheap picked us up to drive us to our first stop - Banteay Srei. Banteay Srei means "Citadel of the Woman" or "Citadel of Beauty" and is nicknamed "The Ladies Temple". The temple is located about 30 kilometers north east of Siem Reap. Sopheap wasn't in a hurry to get there and we just meandered through rural Cambodia. 

Beautiful countryside. 

Rice paddies, farm workers and water buffalo.

Although it was not quite time for the growing season to begin, this rice paddy is fed by an underground spring and rice is able to be grown in it year round. 
Rice about to be harvested (photo below). I had never seen rice still growing in the field and thought it looked very similar to wheat, just not as tall. 
This was an unusual sight.
 These little piggies went to the market.
 A chicken and her chicks scratching for food.
The Cambodian version of the Bat-mobile in the parking lot at Banteay Srei.
Baneay Srei was built in the 10th century and is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. It was a much smaller temple, both in size and scale, than the temples we had visited Friday and Saturday. 
Of course, there was a moat.
Banteay Srei was built using red sandstone which not only gave it a pinkish glow but also allowed the elaborate wall carvings and detailed features of the buildings to remain intact. 

The Ladies Temple was older than the other temples that we visited and a lot of the buildings and walls were damaged. However, I think the jungle did not encroach upon this temple as much as it did to the Tomb Raider temple or Preah Khan. So, while the Ladies Temple was falling apart, it seemed to be doing so to a lesser extent and wasn't as extensively damaged as the others.  
As we walked to the exit of the temple, we passed this group of men playing traditional Cambodian instruments. 
Each member of this group had been injured and /or maimed by a landmine explosion. Rather than simply beg for money, they put together this band and play music to entertain the tourists. More on that in my next post.

I will write about the rest of our day - a visit to the Landmine Museum, the Artists' School and lunch - in my next post.

Have a great Saturday!

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