Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Last of the Temples

From Europe, here’s a quickie report on the last three temples we visited at Angkor. The first was Banteay Srey, which translates as “The Citadel of the Women.” There’s some disagreement, though, as to the source of the name. One of the guidebooks said that it came from the belief that the very ornate and intricate carvings there had to have been done by a woman. Our guide, however, said that the name came from two armies having been sent out to fight an enemy. One army was made up of men; the other was made up of women. The women came back victorious, hence the name.
Banteay Samre translates as “The Citadel of the Poor Farmer.” According to our guide, the story being this is that the emperor liked the melons grown by one particular farmer. One night, the emperor was desperately craving a melon, so he sneaked into the farmer’s field. The farmer killed the thief, not realizing it was the emperor. Since the emperor had no heir, the royal elephant was sent out to identify the man who should become emperor. The elephant chose the poor farmer. Remember how I said that most of the temples had two libraries, one for the priests and one for the common people? This is one of the libraries at Banteay Samre.
The final temple we visited was Preah Neak Pean or “Coiled Serpent.” This was a temple of healing with each side representing a holy animal and one of the four elements: the lion for fire, the horse for wind, the elephant for water, and the human for earth.
We’re in the Netherlands for the next few days. I've had my second dose of rabies vaccine. We also drove around where we lived in 1989-90, to show younger son where he was born. Turns out that the hospital was torn down in 2000 and the land turned into a hiking park. We all liked that very much.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Jean, So glad that you are alright! Sounds like you all have dealt with this as efficiently as possible, but not a fun thing to happen. Hope the rest of your trip is uneventful.