Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hold your horses

The sun begins to set to the west of Gopura III
The impressive southern entrance to Gopura III at Preah Vihear bathed in sunlight
The 3rd Gopura at Preah Vihear merits spending time exploring its doorways and the iconography that sits above them. I know you'll be dying to rush on to reach the central sanctuary and for a glimpse of the fantastic views from the edge of the cliff, but hold your horses and take your time to explore Gopura III. You won't be disappointed if identifying gods like Krishna, Yama, Uma, Shiva, Vishnu and Rama are on your lintel/pediment checklist. Again, this gopura was built primarily in the 11th century, though parts of the temple were built at earlier times and then rebuilt later too, under the watchful eye of at least five Khmer kings. At the southern doorway of Gopura III we met a soldier who proudly showed us his rocket launcher and where a troop of soldiers received instructions from their commander as the afternoon shadows grew longer. Leaving the 3rd Gopura, the causeway to Gopura II is considerably smaller than the last two and you will soon be in amongst the central sanctuary, the southeast corner of which literally overhangs the edge of the mountainside.
Over the southern door, the pediment shows Yama riding a buffalo and the lintel, Rama's return to Ayodhya
Supported by flying hamsas and a grinning kala, the scene shows Rama's return to Ayodhya accompanied by Lakshmana and Sita
The pediment shows Shiva and Uma on Nandi, with three rampant lions on the lintel underneath
This tree sprouting out of the small sandstone shrine makes a nice feature
Looking across to mountains in Laos through a doorway of Gopura III
The southern-facing corner of the elongated hall of Gopura III
We leave Gopura III through this southern doorway and head for Gopura II



Anonymous allan Lim said...

Hey Andy, where was this shrine? This tree sprouting out of the small sandstone shrine makes a nice feature

and what was it's name? I never saw this structure while I was at Prasat Preah Vihear in 2007...

Cheers Allan

May 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Allan,
the shrine stands on the north-east side of Gopura III but I don't know if it has its own name. Its not a library but instead looks like a small shrine with the tree added for good effect. Its been there for nearly a thousand years :-)

May 22, 2009 at 12:38 PM  

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