The magic of the temples of Angkor are almost beyond imagination.
I met many people on my travels who have claimed to be “templed out” – tired of seeing one similar looking temple after another. I always ask them if they have been to Angkor, as the quality of temples here truly eclipses anything else I have seen or heard about. Angkor’s temples have been classically described as:
“…a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo …grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged.” (Henri Mouhot)
The rediscovery of the temples was thanks in most part to western explorers who found many of the number deep within the jungles of the 18th century. Most had given themselves over to nature and took many years to be returned to glory, a task that is still ongoing. One temple was left in its original condition and this wondrous structure has multiple trees growing out of the roof!
Cambodia is a Buddhist country, one of the main Theravada Buddhism countries in the world. However, the Angkor temples were all at first constructed as Hindu sites (mainly worshiping Vishnu) and later converted to Buddhism when the empire faded. This means that the experience of walking around them is one of visiting an ancient and lost religion. All the Hindu art on the walls, and there is much, comes across as dead. This feeling was later thrown into sharp relief when visiting India, as there it is the other way around. There the Hindu’s have supplanted the Buddhists and it is Hinduism that is practiced and vibrant.
Mostly the walls depict religious teachings in the form of the Hindu epics. Vishnu has come to Earth a number of times in the guise of “Avatars” and the stories of these visits are one of the main forms of Hindu knowledge. Many walls tell the story of one such incarnation; Krishna, who fought in a large war and was a genius lover. Others tell the Hindu creation of the world story, which has demons and gods pulling a large snake wrapped around a mountain and churning the “Sea of Milk” to create life.
This film was one of the harder to turn into a Special Edition. A lot of the footage is shaky and nothing can fix that. However, I have done my best to fix the problems. I also totally recut the film to more smoothly transition. I also did the classic HD upgrade and colouring.
Hope you like it.