Friday, September 19, 2014

Holly Mountain and first Angkor ruins

After lunch the group heads off again in the bus, off to Holly Mountain, now I am inclined to think this should be Holy Mountain as there is a temple on the top that we are visiting. However we are told it is Holly.

There is a beautiful Bhuddist temple built looking out over the plain below, in front there are two lovely marble Lions standing guard. Our Guide tell us that at the start of the Pol Pot campaign of terror, he invited all the most learned and influential men such as Doctors Lawyers teachers and officials from the Government etc to attend a special blessing  at this Temple. They most all attended since it is a privilege to be invited. When they got there guards and troops were awaiting them, all were slaughtered by sword wielding troops.
One of the beautiful Lions sitting so proudly was used by them to sharpen their swords during the battle, the poor Lion now has only a big fat bottom on one side, the other side has been rasped and scraped away sharpening the blades! We were surprised and shocked to hear this story as we didn't think such things had happened in such a quiet peaceful place. Guide said it happened all over the Country.

I did try to photograph the poor Lion with his half bottom but the Lion and my camera didn't see fit to allow it so no photo. I do have a photo of a similar Lion with his whole big bottom. The second Lion has a little guard standing with him.

After such a slaughter, the people of the town wanted to make the place holy again, so they built a big Buddha Garden at the base of the mountain, a place of peace and serenity, where Buddha is seen teaching the young and also there is  a huge reclining Golden Buddha lying with in the garden, I must say he looked very comfortable and resting in peace..

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 There were also several large pigs wandering around, it seems locals give pigs to the Monks instead of money and they are allowed to grow to old age wandering around the garden.

Then it was back in the bus and off to see the first of the ancient Angkor temples, Wat Nokor is the name it was built in 12th century and was already in a state of ruin before Pol Pot decided to smash it a little more. We wandered around being careful because there are broken stones scattered all around.
Monks have small statues hidden in corners for us to come upon as we wander.

We then walked across an equally ancient bridge built at a similar time and still standing and being used after all that time and safe, but not for big buses we had to detour around.. Beautifully constructed, make me wonder just how they managed it, a great feat. There are beautiful big carved stone bridge heads at either end.

Monkeys dance along the edge of the bridge.

Back to the ship, Erle spent most of the day on the balcony, he looks a trifle bored, but he had been swimming during the afternoon in the ships pool..

There was time for  a short rest before cocktail hour and tonight it is the Captains special cocktail and boy are they powerful, I managed to get 3 I think, it really helped to drown my headache and general feeling of unwellness.
Tonight is the big farewell dinner and it is especially nice and enjoyable even if I don't feel my best, in fact not many of us do. There are continuous choruses of coughs and sneezes all evening, it will be good for all of us to be off the ship and breathing cleaner air as from tomorrow.
There is entertainment tonight put on by the crew of the shi,p it is a lot of fun and not at all professional, gave us all a lot of laughs as we watch magic tricks, dancers and singing and a band playing made up of mainly pots and pans and assorted funny things.

 In fact we were meant to have at least one more night abourd the ship sailing up to a lake, but with the river rising so fast the ship could no longer get beneath the bridge span, so we travel by bus tomorrow to Sein Reap.
We are surprised to find another ship, the Sister ship to the Amalotus, tied up alongside us for the night, they too probably are unable to get under the bridge and must end their cruise here.


diane b said...

The temple must have been great to visit. Sorry you are not feeling well. That happened to me on a few tours where I ended up with bronchitis.

Lois said...

Me again! I just realized that I am your 100th follower :)