|Statue of Vishnu|
The second level is known as the 'Gallery of thousand Buddhas'. It is comprised mainly of 4 water tanks, one in each of the quadrants - for devotees to wash up before ascending to the shrines. The water tanks are all empty now. Also present here are numerous statues of Buddha - thus the name - all headless and desolate. Most were destroyed in the Cambodian civil war, the remaining few ravaged by plunderers.
|Original steps to the final level|
|Shops outside Angkor Wat|
|Old lion, new lion!|
It had started to pour again as we then headed to Ta Prohm - must-see for all visitors to Angkor. To get to the temple we had to walk about 800m - heavy downpour, the red earth turning to rivulets beneath our feet, an eerie jungle! Ta Prohm is famous for the huge trees which have all but swallowed the temples with their gigantic roots! And what a wonderous tableau this is!! The trees are almost reptilian in nature - sprawled over the seemingly puny temples. It is a formidable exhibition of the power of Nature - magnificent and menacing! This alone was worth the trip to Cambodia! I later found that some of these trees are 'Strangler figs' - didn't see any figs, but how fitting is 'strangler'!!
Once again, we headed to Currywalla for dinner - there are actually quite a few Indian restaurants in Siem Reap, but we knew what to expect at Currywallas! After dinner, it was time to get some shopping done at Siem Reap's night markets. Mostly souvenirs, a few jewelers and some silver shops. Of course, all kinds of fake branded items, from North Face backpacks to Burberry shirts! I usually only buy magnets as souvenirs - easy to carry and no clutter back at home! Also gifts for Manasi's friends, gifts for my mom to take home to India. We easily spent a couple of hours browsing there! My parents then left for the hotel with Manasi, and Ajey and I went off for a rare night together to check out Siem Reap's bar street. This was a small street lined with bars - not that big, about a dozen or so places - pulsing with music, obviously catering to Western tourists! We didn't stay too late, Manasi wouldn't sleep until we got back to the hotel, and tomorrow again was to be an early start!