Angkor Adventures Part 5 – Sunrise and the South Gate of Angkor Thom

Oct 17, 07 at 12:00 am

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Click here for Part 4

The day began with a sunrise view at Angkor Wat which I didn’t go because I felt my body didn’t allow me to go. Instead of joining my four other adventurers who woke up at 4am, I chose to rest more. But here’s my advice, you shouldn’t give it a miss because the view is breathtaking. Just don’t be a sack of unfit lard and bunk until the sun burns your a$$. If I wasn’t sick, I’d have had enjoyed the view just as my four other friends did. 🙁

Here’s my pick among the four up-and-coming photographer wannabes.

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My favourite although some photoshop has been applied on the photo

Nothing beats the view from the original spot if you think the above photo mesmerizes you!

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They came back to hotel for breakfast and I woke up feeling rather tired. I actually worried about the fever rather than that day’s plan. Sigh.

We didn’t waste much time and we set out at 9am to out first second destination, the South Gate of Angkor Thom.

The south gate of Angkor Thom is 7.2 km north of Siem Reap, and 1.7 km north of the entrance to Angkor Wat. The walls, 8 m high and flanked by a moat, are each 3 km long, enclosing an area of 9 km². The walls are of laterite buttressed by earth, with a parapet on the top. There are gates at each of the cardinal points, from which roads lead to the Bayon at the centre of the city. [Source]

This is the most popular entry point of Angkor Thom, the South Gate. It’s just few hundreds metres away from Phnom Bakheng which we visited yesterday.

South Gate of Angkor Thom
South Gate of Angkor Thom

From the photo above, you will see some statues lining up on both sides of the bridge leading to the gate.

A causeway spans the moat in front of each tower: these have a row of devas on the left and asuras on the right, each row holding a naga in the attitude of a tug-of-war. This appears to be a reference to the myth, popular in Angkor, of the Churning of the Sea of Milk. [Source]

This is how asuras look like…

South Gate of Angkor Thom
Mind the missing head due to vandalism

And this is how devas look like.

South Gate of Angkor Thom

The mythological relationship of the Devas (good, victorious) and the Asuras (bad, defeated) has been used by nations of history and literature to conceptualize their relationships with rival or enemy nations. The Devas stand for “us;” the Asuras stand for “them.” [Source]

I suggest you to dig further if you want to know the details by clicking on the source link above. The website is very informative and has lots of photos too.

Angkor Thom, which means “Big City” (It’s bigger than Angkor Wat) is surrounded by a canal-like thing called moat. It provides a preliminary defense for the city.

South Gate of Angkor Thom
Moat that surrounds Angkor Thom

The morning traffic was quite heavy as vehicles like motorcycles, cars, vans and even elephants used that gate to go into Angkor Thom.

South Gate of Angkor Thom
Even elephants are used as a mode of transport

As we reached the gate, John told us the meaning of each carving on the gate itself.

South Gate of Angkor Thom

The faces on the 23 m towers at the city gates (which are later additions to the main structure) take after those of the Bayon, and pose the same problems of interpretation. They may represent the king himself, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, guardians of the empire’s cardinal points, or some combination of these. [Source]

We took few photos before we continued our journey in Angkor Thom.

South Gate of Angkor Thom

South Gate of Angkor Thom
It is wrong to climb up that gate but we did it anyway..

Next.. the real adventure begins at Bayon

More photos:

Siem Reap Day 2: South Gate of Angkor Thom

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