- Posted September 7, 2013 by
San Diego, California
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Cambodia’s spectacular ruins
The second image here was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for December 16, 2014.
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
A 2006 trip to Cambodia held special significance for my wife, a second generation Cambodian American setting foot in her motherland for the first time. With only two days in Siem Reap, we set out in the back of a tuk tuk motorbike operated by my wife's cousin.
For the first stop, he dropped us off in front of the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat temple. It was there that I took the first five pictures in the gallery- a father and his two boys walking up the stairs to the temple for morning prayer, with the family dog leading the way and bamboo mats in hand for a place to sit on the dusty ground. After walking up the steep and narrow steps of the main tower, I took in an amazing view of the temple complex surrounded by dense green forest.
We went on to visit as many possible, including Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Phnom Bakheng. Bayon was a favorite of mine, with the 216 serene, smiling faces of King Jayavarman VII. I would later purchase as a souvenir a small replica carving of Bayon at a sculptor's studio located in Siem Reap, shown in the 9th photograph in the gallery.
The massive scale of the Angkor temples combined with the craftmanship and artistry of the carvings yields a lasting impression. I imagined what it was like during the height of the Khmer empire, before the effects of erosion, jungle overgrowth, and vandalism. I look forward to returning to Angkor Wat in the future to share this experience with my two boys so they can learn about their heritage.