Monday, February 16, 2009
Preah Palilay, which was named after a forest. On my last visit the central sanctuary was festooned with tall trees standing higher than the sixty-two foot high tower, but to my surprise the trees had been cut down leaving their stumps looking like giant hands and the site under a blanket of wood chippings. The tree-pruning had certainly robbed the temple of its secluded atmosphere and I was further disappointed when a young monk offered to pose for photos for a small fee. I asked him to leave me in peace - which was a weird role reversal - as I climbed the tall terrace to scramble inside the main sanctuary, noting a couple of lintels still in situ. The sandstone entrance gopura to the east on the other hand was in good nick with a feast of carvings, which because they were not defaced in the early 13th century have prompted scholars to suggest the date of construction was later that century and early next. The pediments and lintels of the gopura are Buddhist by their themes and numerous in number. Further east is a long causeway with lions and nagas as well as a large modern Buddha, that lead onto another terraced site, Tep Pranam.
The hand of Buddha, palm pointing to the ground and facing inward denotes the attitude of Calling The Earth to Witness
One of the wide-mouthed lions on the Preah Palilay terraceA naga balustade in good condition covered in lichen