Looking through a door in the Angkor library towards the central towers of Angkor Wat at sunrise.
Angkor Wat was built by Khmer king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The temple was first known as Preah Pisnulok, named after the posthumous title of its builder, and then later (in the 16th century) re-named Angkor Wat, meaning “City Temple.” It was built as a Hindu temple, dedicated to the god Vishnu, and later, as the religion of the Khmer Empire changed, used in Buddhist worship. The temple is still an active religious site – worship still goes on each and every day.
Bayon temple in Cambodia is a wondrous sight. From far away it looks like a mass of rock towering above you, but as you move closer, faces – over 200 carved in the rock towers – begin to loom out of the shadows.
In the entrance to Bayon temple sits this Buddha idol. Everyday people worship, burn incense and offer money and food in hopes that they will be blessed.
Deep inside Ta Prohm temple lie idols waiting to be worshiped. The darkness envelopes them in an eerie sense of reality.
The temple of Angkor Wat was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple faces west, a tribute to death.
There are over 200 faces carved into stones of Bayon Temple. To this day no one knows for sure who the faces are supposed to represent. Some say Buddha, others say the architect of the temple, King Jayavarman VII.
Three friends who happened to be monks sitting on top of Bayon Temple waiting for another friend to meet them who they had just called using their cell phone on the way up. Most monks in Cambodia are not monks for life, but become monks for a few months in order to gain karma for their family.
Lotus flowers abound in Cambodia. This particular one was in the moat surrounding Angkor Wat, taken just after sunrise.
This two year-old boy was sleeping in one of the doorways inside Angkor Wat, his mother not far from reach. This shot tells the story of so many Cambodian children who are in need.
Angkor Wat is the pride of every Cambodian. It is the remains of what used to be, a time where Cambodia was the major power of South East Asia. Now Cambodia is one of the poorest nations in South East Asia, but many look to this great structure dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu as their hope for the future.
Bayon Temple has over 200 large faces carved in its rock crevices. This was taken at sunset, a great time to view the temple.
My favorite temple in the Angkor Wat complex is Ta Prohm (ប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម). One of the reasons is because it is still overgrown with jungle trees and so it makes you feel like an explorer. This apsara face is just one of those special parts of such exploration.
A second shot taken during my most recent trip to Angkor Wat. The sun had risen, but the cloud coverage was still quite heavy – not ideal, but still beautiful.
I’ve been to Angkor Wat quite a few times – the last couple have had less than desirable conditions at sunrise. But this past month I was able to go again and got some better shots. Here is one of them (taken before sunrise). It was also the first time it had rained while the sun was rising, which added an interesting element to the shot.
This was taken at Bayon temple at sunset in infrared. I haven’t done much infrared photography, this was actually the first day I had ever done it, and I really like the feel it gives. Being that this is sunset and the infrared captured the light in an interesting way, I left it red instead of converting it to black and white as is customary.
This is a combination of 10 images to create a wide angle look at one of the most magnificent trees in Ta Prohm.
Ta Prohm temple is one of my favorites – it feels like you just discovered an ancient ruin whenever you walk through it. Unfortunately, much of it is being restored, and so it is loosing its charm. There are still a few areas where it is untouched though – this is one of them. Shot in infrared, 31 second exposure.
There are many gates like this in the Angkor temple complex. This one is across from Srah Srang, leading to the entrance of Banteay Kdei. Taken in infrared, 16 second exposure.
This is another infrared shot taken at Angkor Wat of the northern library where many believe palm-leaf manuscripts were held. The documents are all but gone, but the sandstone structure remains.
A picture of a guardian lion at Angkor Wat using infrared (filter and long exposure).
Part of my first experience with infrared photography, a wide angle shot of Angkor Wat from the right hand side. It was a 15 second exposure (because of the infrared filter), so it enabled the site to look void of people.
This was my first try at infrared photography – it was a little challenging shooting in the dark (the infrared filter is so dark nothing is visible except with a long exposure), but a lot of fun. Ta Prohm was one of my target locations as it has the perfect mixture of man and vegetation for just awesome looking shots. I left this shot red because I thought it added dramatic effect. More to come!
The Bayon temple is one of the more intriguing temples in the Angkor Temple complex. There are over 200 faces of an unknown person carved into it, each slightly different, and all having a slight smirk on their faces.
While Cambodia is currently Buddhist, when Angkor Wat was built, the country was Hindu. Angkor Wat was dedicated to the god Vishnu who is pictured here. Many times elderly people take up the task of cleaning and caring for the various idols in Angkor Wat in exchange for food and money given by worshipers.
There are hundreds of these ancient lion guards scattered throughout the Angkor temple complexes. Many are defaced, some by time, others by thieves, and even others by the Khmer Rouge.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must if you ever get a chance to visit. The day of this photo it was quite cloudy, but that made this photo quite dramatic.
I met this man up inside Angkor Wat. His job is to make sure the floors are clean. We exchanged greetings and I asked him a question about an inscription I read in one of the carvings on the temple wall (specifically about Preah Se-Ah Metrei, a promised coming savior in the Buddhist scriptures). Because the language is some type of Old Khmer, most of it cannot be read, but I was suprised to find that certain religious words can be made out. I asked him after talking if I could take his picture, he obliged, and there is the result.
A Buddhist nun watching over an idol, making money selling incense in the Angkor Wat temple complex. While women are not ordained within Buddhism, older women, especially widows, can become nuns. They live in their local wat and many take care of the grounds, or in this case, Angkor Wat. They shave their heads and eyebrows and generally follow the same precepts as monks. It is almost like a welfare system, for nuns are almost universally destitute.
The sunrise inside the Angkor Wat temple complex. This temple is one of the largest temples that is still active – worshippers come daily to offer incense and prayers to the idols contained within its walls.
Angkor Wat was built early in the 12th century by Suryavaram II, honors the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Mt. Meru of Hindu mythology. This shot was taken just as you enter the main complex. And while this ancient temple was built to a Hindu god, today Buddhists actively worship, burning incense and offering prayers to the idols contained within its walls. Pray that the Lord would bring the people of Cambodia to see Him alone as the One true God, and that they would be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
Angkor Wat was built originally as a Hindu temple. Many believe it was dedicated to this god, Vishnu, who stands at one of the many entrances. Vishnu is viewed as the supreme god in Hindu religion. It is actually unusual for a depiction of Vishnu to have more than four arms (this one has eight), but the many arms represent his all-powerful and all-pervasive nature. But today, even though Buddhism is the national religion of Cambodia, this Hindu idol of Vishnu is worshipped – as well as every other idol in the Angkor Wat complex. The people are held in by fear, and therefore worship just about everything, trying to make sure no god or spirit is angered by being ignored.
This was taken during my first trip to the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia. It is of the Bayon Temple. A temple that has over 200 faces carved into its walls and towers. The temple is probably the most outstanding expression of the baroque style in Khmer history.
The stones of Angkor Wat are covered with inscriptions such as this. It is Old Khmer, or Angkorian Khmer, and while I can make sense of some of the writing, there are symbols that have passed out of existence in Modern Khmer. The script itself is said to have originated from the Pallava script in India. The Khmer culture is highly influenced by Indian culture, borrowing its religions from India (both Hindu, for which Angkor Wat was built, and Buddhism, the current religion).
Bayon Temple was built in Cambodia at the end of the 12th century by the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. While from far away it just looks like a jumble of rocks, as one walks closer, hundreds of massive serene faces appear. No one knows exactly the purpose of the faces, but many surmise that they are made in the image of King Jayavarman VII himself. This temple is one of the only temples in the Angkor Wat complex that was originally Buddhist (although now, Cambodia is Theravada Buddhist).
This is my favorite photo of Angkor Wat (taken summer of 2007). Had to get up early for this one! Angkor Wat was built by Khmer king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The temple was first known as Preah Pisnulok, named after the posthumous title of its builder, and then later (in the 16th century) re-named Angkor Wat, meaning “City Temple.” It was built as a Hindu temple, dedicated to the god Vishnu, and later, as the religion of the Khmer Empire changed, used in Buddhist worship. The temple is still an active religious site – worship still goes on each and every day.
This was taken midday last summer during a visit to Cambodia in Siem Reap at Ta Prohm Temple. It is my favorite temple at Angkor Wat because they have left it pretty much as it was found (although I noticed they have begun to do some restoration…). The trees are amazing (mainly the silk-cotton tree, and the smaller strangler fig), and one can’t help but take a good picture here.
You feel just like an explorer when you’re walking around these ruins of Ta Prohm in Siem Reap, Cambodia. What’s not to like?
One of the five towers at Angkor Wat symbolizing Mount Meru home of the devas in Hindu mythology. While Cambodia is currently 95% Buddist, this temple was built when the country was widely Hindu. But this fact does not inhibit Buddists’ worship at the temple, nor does it inhibit national pride over the temple (it is Angkor Wat on the current Cambodia flag).