Photographer's Note

The major temple site which had recently emerged from the Cambodian forest is the great Preah Khan at Kompong Svay, known locally as Prasat Bakan.

Preah Khan is one of the few monuments to have kept its original name. A millennium celebration at Preah Khan attracted hundreds of locals and vegetation was cleared from the site for the occasion, but it remains a complex very much in its natural state, inundated with trees, scrubs and dense foliage throughout.

Preah Khan was built in 1191 during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. He was a warrior king celebrated for reconstructing the Khmer Empire after a period of fragmentation.

The King commissioned Ta Prohm and Preah Khan temples as monuments of his rule. Preah Khan was probably built on the same spot where previous kings had kept their palaces. Preah Khan was more than just a monastery—it was an entire city enclosing a town of 56 hectares. About 100,000 farmers produced rice to feed about 15,000 monks, teachers, and students. Subsidiary buildings included a hospital, rest house, and rice granary.

As the January afternoon Cambodian sun beat down on us, the ruins of Preah Khan offered no shade....but in the rear part of the complex, there was this 'Lonely Traveller' with excerpts of Lonely Planet enjoying the bit of shade.

Two strangler fig trees had grasped the building into a stranglehold, as you may see in the of them had been chopped off during restoration process...while the other soars up into the sky. I've cropped off a bit of the top of this picture (the OE sky) and adjusted levels.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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