Doors Into Time

Door to the north wing garden of Angkor Wat.

One thing I noticed while exploring the Angkor complex was that I was shooting a lot of doors. I didn’t quite understand why, not consciously, until the evening of our second day as I was jotting down my notes. Then it hit me. The doors were symbolic to me of Time. The Angkor ruins, specially Beng Mealea and Preah Khan, which are maintained in a semi-‘wild’ state instead of being fully restored as Angkor Wat is, were real powerful reminders of mortality and evanescence to me. An Ozymandian humility lesson to Man, of sorts. But in a way, just as doors are two-way passages, the Angkor ruins have defeated Time. Because in walking through them, I gained a feel for the ancient Khmer. They still speak, those great kings and masterful builders, through their art.

Doorway with mythological scenes carved  on the lintel, Bayon Temple. A ruined gallery in Preah Khan temple. A Cambodian boy plays in the ruins of Beng Mealea. This temple is kept close to the original state in which it was discovered,  save for some repairs and the addition of wooden walkways for visitors' safety. Visitors are also cautioned not to wander too far from the temple proper, as the area is still being cleared of mines. A ruined library in the afternoon sun, Beng Mealea.


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