Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Animals in the forest

Keeping guard at the highest point of Srah Damrei are two massive stone lions
In the dappled afternoon light, one of the highlights of a tough trek across the plateau of Phnom Kulen are the massive stone animals revealed at Srah Damrei. This is a remarkable site, only reachable by a short trek after a moto-drive took us along tough trails crisscrossing the plateau. Srah Damrei (translated as Elephant pond) has larger-than-life stone carvings of a selection of animals on two levels, surrounded by dense foliage. These have been shaped and fashioned out of the natural sandstone rock that Kulen is renowned for. The elephant, on the lower level, was 3.5 metres high and 4 metres long. Looking down on the largest carving were two stone lions and a frog. Below, and closeby the silted-up pond, was a misshapen cow or ox. The view from the side of the mountain was obscured by the trees and foliage as we caught our breath, took in the out-of-the-ordinary scene in front of us, before we began our trek back to the motorbikes. Srah Damrei is quite simply an astonishing example of ancient Khmer sculpture. I couldn't find out the age of the sculptures. On another part of Kulen, and a kilometre from the village of Phum Thmei are two more stone animals, fashioned from the natural sandstone. One is reclining elephant and the other a crouching tortoise, both covered in green lichen. This site is called Damrei Krap and is not to be confused with the nearby temple of the same name.
The life-size elephant on its pedestal at Srah Damrei
Two lions and a frog at Srah Damrei
On the lowest level is a misshapen cow or ox
My colleague Jake tries to get his own angle on the largest stone lions in the Kingdom
Another elephant stone carving, this time at Damrei Krap
Here's the large tortoise at Damrei Krap, near Phum Thmei village
Late afternoon light on the collection of stone animals at Srah Damrei
So you get a handle on the size of elephant at Srah Damrei, I give you some perspective (pic Jake Corke)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top picture's beautiful & dreamy, just figure how fine it would look if it had been decently edited!(and slightly reframed when taken)

September 16, 2010 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

yes thanks Anon. Your photography tips are appreciated.

September 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM  

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