Saturday, December 1, 2012

2012, Day 334 - Just a facade

Tonight we return to Beng Mealea.  I can't get enough of this temple and the more I look at the images the more enchanted I become.  This is a small courtyard outside one of the large antechambers.  Tumbled stones are littered across the ground and trees have a death grip on the buildings but I still marvel that a structure built in the 12th century is still so intact.  Beng Mealea was abandoned to the jungle for hundreds of years and except where the trees have demolished sections the walls still stand straight and true.  There is no discernible settling even though it stands on silty soil and is surrounded by a lotus pond.  The architects and builders of these temples possessed a skill equal to our own the the kings that commissioned these holy sites possessed the patience required to ensure that they would last for centuries.

When I look at this photograph I can feel the humid around me, smell the damp earth that gives the trees and moss so much sustenance and the mellow scent of decaying wood, and hear the steady drone of the cicadas punctuated by the calls of birds.  If you have the opportunity to visit these temples I urge you to go, once you've been there the experience will be emblazoned on your mind forever.  These are living places with their own heart beat and if you listed carefully you can hear it but only if you allow yourself to be lost in the moment, to truly experience the place and not just see it.  To only see Beng Mealea or any of the temples is like that door, it is artificial, there is so much more than what you see, you need to allow yourself to take  in the whole experience otherwise it is just a facade.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, HDR of 1/50, 1/25, 1/13, 1/6, and 0.3 sec @ 100 ISO

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