Sunday, 18 August 2013

About the cobra

It's been a busy weekend - at the same time as looking after my granddaughter (oh the joys of learning to use scissors ...) I've been at the ebook festival. If you missed my posts, you can find them here - scroll down the righthand side and click on the travel writing link, and they should appear.

I hinted at my encounter with a cobra in my last post here, so I thought I'd better tell you all about it.

How much do you know about Angkor Wat?  You've probably seen pictures of the main temple, with its huge walls (you'll just have to imagine it without scaffolding - it needs attention as so much is falling down):

And the astonishing carvings on the walls, from huge heads like this (it must be twenty feet tall, at least):

 to images of the gods, some of which are much ruder than this:

But there are hundreds of temples - some small and intimate, and others enormous. Some no more than a central edifice, while others have vast walkways where people would live or traders would bring their wares to market. Many have 'libraries' - though I don't suppose you came with your ticket and went away with a book, and most are closed up now.

Most were built by successive emperors, who needed to prove their prowess by building a bigger, more extravagant, more lavish temple with the tallest (did anyone mention phallic?) towers. Does that matter? Not any more, for Angkor Wat is one of the most astonishing sites I've ever visited.

Some are falling down, with trees growing through walls:

And some, at first glance, little more than heaps of rubble:

And then, seventy kilometres away, is Beng Melea. But this post is long enough. I'll tell you about Beng Melea (and its cobra) on Thursday. Promise.


  1. I love that photograph of the tree growing through the walls. It looks like a huge prehistoric animal. I wonder why those images are often so rude. I suppose I'm viewing them with a UK-style prudish mind. Looking forward to the cobra tale.

    1. The rude images - most are from Hindu mythology. Their gods and goddesses had a very rampant time!

  2. Jo, I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprised by the rude images if we consider that the Kama Sutra comes from Asia.The gods and goddesses were the images on which society based its moral codes. This is a great build up of course. Now where's that cobra story??

    1. The rude images - rude to us, with our left-over Victorian attitudes to bodies. They are unremarkable in Asia.

  3. Look at the roots of the tree,amazing. You are such a tease I was looking for the cobra.