Angkor ’08 Day One 19/11/08 – Phimeanakas

ANGKOR ’08

DAY ONE 19 Nov ’08 (Wed) – contd.
(previously – South Gate, Bayon, Terrace of Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Tep Pranam, Preah Palilay)

ROYAL PALACE
After Preah Palilay, our journey took us to the Royal Palace area. Unfortunately due me missing out the fact that the Royal Palace would have been constructed mainly of wood + gold (and not stone) most of its structures would have decayed or in the case of gold, be stolen by now.

Meaning there’s not much of a Royal Palace to see. πŸ˜›

But within the enclosures of the Royal Palace, there are two sites which are still very much intact; Phimeanakas and Baphuon.

PHIMEANAKAS
This site can be visited either by exiting the Terrace of Elephants via its western exit or coming here from Preah Palilay (which was what we did). This site was built in the late 10th century, before the Bayon and is of Hindu origin. It’s the tallest temple with steps that you can climb within Angkor Thom.

Phimeanakas

This temple was where the King (and not God / Buddha) was worshipped. It’s located in idyllic surroundings (much like Preah Palilay). The highlight of this site would be the central sanctuary / temple where it was rumored has a top of gold.

The central temple comprised three levels, and there’s a long & steep stairways on each cardinal side, leading up to the top of the temple. Firstly the stairs are really steep…. and secondly the temple is about 36m tall. There’s no break in the stairways so if you feel dizzy while climbing and fell.. it’s gonna be a good 100 feet roll-down. Am sure if that happens, a few limbs would be broken. And this is just Day One of our Angkor visit!! :O

Phimeanakas
The Western side of the temple with the “tourist” staircase πŸ˜›

For that reason, the Apsara Authority (or whoever maintains this temple) decided to built a modern staircase with supporting rails on the western side of the temple to help us poor tourists get up to the top of the temple.

But if you are gung-ho, agile and feel lucky, you can do what this dude did! And he was wearing slippers! Bravo!!

Phimeanakas

Note: For your info, that dude managed to get up to the top of the temple safely.. no 100 feet roll-down, no broken limbs etc. But do this only if you are at that stage of your life where you felt you always need to prove something to the [world / peers / girlfren / ….. ] otherwise do consider the staircase on the western side of this temple. You know, when someone makes the effort to build staircase there must be a reason, right? πŸ˜›

Phimeanakas - View from the top

Just to put things into perspective, if you do wish to attempt the gung-ho run-up the stairways here (like the dude above) and if (unlike that dude) you did not succeed in your attempt, this is probably the last view (above) you see before you wake up at the local hospital. πŸ˜›

Phimeanakas
Me at the top of Phimeanakas, and no, I used the “modern staircase hehe

Given this temple is also set in similar idyllic surroundings with lush forest around, and after the immensely entertaining Palilay Dance, we were half-expecting to see the Phimeanakas Dance.

Unfortunately, young ladies + silk scarf = distraction of the highest order.

Our chief dancer was too busy consorting negotiating with these lovely young ladies who were trying to sell him some silk scarves. Now why did he want so many scarves for?

Phimeanakas - Bargaining for scarf

In the absence of the Phimeanakas Dance, we present to you some video clips of the Scarf Bargaining act.

The Lure: The delicate balance between “Five for Eight” and “Six for Ten”
click here for the video

Length: 26 sec
Size: 5.5 MB

The Close….
click here for the video

Length: 64 sec
Size:13 MB

Note: For some reasons, can’t seem to embed Flickr’s video directly into Blogger posts so have to use external links to send you to the videos.

We spent close to an hour here (no doubt a large part of that was spent doing scraf bargaining hehe) and it was already close to 6pm when we leave for our next (and last for the day) destination, the Baphuon, the Tower of Bronze.

Next is the visit to the last site for the day – Baphuon – which would then complete Day One of our Angkor ’08 trip.

Day 1 Collection Mosaic

DAY ONE Index – Photos & Blog

Angkor ’08 collection of over 2,300 photos at Flickr.

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