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Seam Reap: Enchanted October 24, 2011

Posted by Karan in General.
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History and its books have always fascinated me. The culture of people, the unfolding of events and the romance of it all has few other things which compare. During school days, I loved studying my history books and imagining about what would have transpired during that period. I often found myself walking along the streets of Harappa, listening to the arguments of Birbal, feeling the heat of it all in Paris, staring at the temples of Angkor… Who knew that one day, I’d actually get to visit the temples of Angkor?!

Amidst fears of floods and rains, we set off for Siem Reap in the exotic country of Cambodia. I was initially sceptical about the trip added to the fact that the timing of flights from Kuala Lumpur would leave us with less than 36 hours in the city. However, it all turned out perfect for us- the cab, hotel bookings all leading to one of the better trips I’ve had.

I was amazed to know that the city of Siem Reap has over 500 temples, and one could feel the pulse right on landing at the airport. As one of my friends put it, the airport seemed to be “a resort taken over by the government and converted into an airport”. Along the line, there were various grandeur resorts and hotels, but we (group of 10) opted to stay in a budget hotel which cost us just over 7 USD a head. Surprisingly enough, USD seemed to be a more common currency here than the local Riel.

After getting things in place, we headed to the first temple we wanted to see- the Angkor Wat, the symbol of both modern Cambodia and the ancient Angkor empire. This 900-year old temple is the largest religious monument in the world and the size of the same is overwhelming! We took three hours to see this temple, and one can easily an entire day for the same. The feeling I had while at this temple is indescribable- I had Goosebumps all over me on multiple occasions here. Even though the temple is now a Buddhist one, the details of the inscriptions were all milestones from Hindu mythology and the “Churning of the Ocean” was especially magnificent. In fact, the churning seems to be a central theme across various temples in Siem Reap. Walking along some of the aisles of the temple while drowning myself in the walls, I felt immensely in peace with myself. I have not seen such a stunning temple anywhere in India!

The last major King of the Angkor empire, Jayavarman 7 built the Buddhist Angkor Thom temple (The King was himself a converted Buddhist). This temple has the “Smiling Buddha”, the secret behind which we tried discovering in a stunning laser and dance show called “Smile of Angkor”. The walls of this temple depicted the war between the Angkors and the Chams (the latter still exist in parts of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia). The last temple which we visited in the day was Ta Prohm– the place where the Tomb Raider movie was shot. This is a temple which is quite unexplored. The most amazing part of the temple was the growth of massive trees at random parts of the temple, something which was a result of the temple being deserted for centuries.

The next day (I am conveniently skipping the exploration of night life of Siem Reap- the highlight of the same was the local massage, where the masseur uses legs too!) was spent in another beautiful sight- the floating villages in the Great Lake of Tonle Sap. The lake is massive- apparently it can carry us right unto the capital city of Phnom Penh. The culture of the people and floating villages were lovely to watch, and a very unique phenomenon. It was amazing to see the way these villages still existed, and a thought about the life which people have to lead at the same.

All in all, it was a short but memorable trip. I leave with a promise to come back to Siem Reap- it’s a place which deserves much more time.

PS: I’ll write notes about my Singapore and Langkawi trips soon.


1. Abhijeet - October 24, 2011

Bohot accha likha hai. Padhne mei kaafi anand aaya. Aassha karta huoon tum bhavishya mei aisi aur blog posts likhoge.Kuch tasveerein daalte iss post mei to tumhaare varnan ko chaar chand lag jaate.
Tumhara mitr – Abhijeet 🙂

Karan - October 25, 2011

Tasveeren zarur daalunga, facebook par. Aapke tippani ke liye bahut bahut dhanyawaad 🙂

2. Srirang - October 24, 2011

I read this book “Johnny Gone Down” by Karan Bajaj. It gives a disastrous perspective of Cambodia. You, on the other side, tell us a sweet, pleasant experience. I’m more convinced of your post than the entire book altogether. iLike this post. 🙂 Keep posting more.

Note: Do NOT read that book unless you have some suicidal thoughts in which case you’ll for sure pull the trigger. 😛

Namrata - October 25, 2011

I had the misfortune of reading that book too. Its as terrible, if not more, than Chetan Bhagat’s writings.

Nice post Karan. Its always good to read about another culture.

Karan - October 25, 2011

Thanks Namrata 🙂 Btw, I bought the book a few weeks ago, but now I’m having second thoughts!

3. anonymous - October 24, 2011

This post came as a surprise.. first of this kind on your blog.. hope that the next one would follow soon.. 🙂

Karan - October 25, 2011

Yes, it will 🙂

4. Maheshsh - October 24, 2011

good one!! you couldav atleast mentioned in passing the names of the heroes who you went with 😛

Karan - October 25, 2011

Haha, the main hero has just commented 😀

5. PT - October 25, 2011

bilkul!! bas KL jaake tumne sab history hi to padhi hai.. aur kuch kahan hi kiya hoga chote se babu ne!! 😛

Karan - October 25, 2011

Haha, sahi baat hai yeh to 🙂

6. hyderabad - February 13, 2012

Beautiful Lakes

Lakes at Hyderabad and History

About Hyderabad Lakes

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