Bayon, a Rockin’ Place
Ok, I’ll stop with the cheezy rock puns. But it’s tempting in this place – the most pure grey set of ruins I’ve ever seen. Normally, there are some remnants of paint, or even other structures than granite-looking rocks, but here, the trend apparently went towards an all-grey temple. As Angkor Wat itself, or any of the other ruins nearby.
When I travelled to Cambodia, I’d heard lots about Angkor Wat, but I hadn’t really expected to find this place here. But what a welcome surprise! Where Angkor Wat impressed with its expansive grounds and structure, this place; Bayon, blew my mind with its iconic appearance, and the immense scale of both sculptures and craftmanship.
I’d also bumped into those four-faced pillars on numerous occations throughout my life (computer games, illustrations and so on), but I never realized they were here – or that were in fact actual ruins. Pretty cool to be bumping noses with these guys, all out of the blue!
These Khmer ruins, built in the 12th century, apparently represent the baroque era of the Khmer palaces, as opposed to the classical styled Angkor Wat itself. So that’s how you make rocks baroque; hew some faces out of them, and put them facing away from each other. It works. If I had the money, I’d have a self portrait bust made just like that! People tell me I kinda look like the guy I’m nose-to-nose with on the upper left picture, so it wouldn’t take much tweaking to get there. ;)
So, after having crawled all over these museum pieces – incredible to be allowed that, by the way – I made my way over to the next set of ruins. The Angkor Wat area, or in this case, to be exact, Angkor Thom, provides endless hands-on sightseeing opportunities. Stay tuned for more tomb raiding in Cambodia, including an actual Tomb Raider location.