The Dying Forest of the Jayatataka Baray
Cambodia November-December 2016 (18 photos)
The Jayatataka Baray is a large artificial lake, created in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, one of the greatest of the Kings of the Khmer Empire. The temple of Neak Pean in the center of the Jayatataka Baray was a place of healing. With the fall of the Khmer Empire, the Baray fell into disuse and disrepair and at some time dried up. Not unexpectedly, as we’ve seen at the temples of Angkor, the trees reclaimed the land and a forest evolved. However, the Baray was repaired and refilled with water, flooding the roots of the trees and killing them. During dry periods, the trees take hold again, only to die upon refilling of the Baray. The ghosts of the trees still stand in the Baray today.
“The last march of the Ents”
It’s not hard to imagine being lost inside Cambodia. I thought I’d present some more Cambodian landscapes in this post.
Phnom (Mount) Kulen is north of Angkor. It is considered to be a holy mountain in Cambodia, of special religious significance to Hindus and Buddhists who come to the mountain in pilgrimage. It is also of major symbolic importance for Cambodians as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. Here, King Jayavarma II proclaimed independence from Java.
“The Reclining Buddha”
There is a Buddhist monastery up the top containing the country’s largest Reclining Buddha. If you didn’t know, a reclining Buddha is a statue that represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, dying/dead and about to enter the nirvana-after-death.
“The River of Lingas”
On the mountain is the River of Lingas, regarded as holy by Hindus. Just under the water’s surface over 1000 small linga carvings were etched into the sandstone riverbed. King Jayavarman II had the river diverted so that the stone bed could be carved. Downstream a waterfall cascades down the mountain.
Angelina Jolie leaps from this waterfall in the Tombraider movie.
The Khmer Rouge used Phnom Kulen as a final stronghold as their regime came to an end in 1979. No wonder with all that jungle coverage to hide them.
The countryside of Cambodia is very green. Very noticeable for those (me) from drier continents.
The northern border with Thailand is quite mountainous and disputed in areas. Just to the right of midline on the next hilltop is a building with a flagpole. That’s in Thailand. Below is the view south over Cambodia.
A sunset view from the temple of Pre rup which featured in my earlier post, Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom.