Savage Beauty; the Temples of Angkor Wat Are Not Just a Reminder of Cambodia's Troubled Past, but a Beacon of Hope for Its Future

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Savage Beauty; the Temples of Angkor Wat Are Not Just a Reminder of Cambodia's Troubled Past, but a Beacon of Hope for Its Future


Byline: TREMAYNE CAREW POLE

I HAVE been fascinated by Cambodia ever since watching Roland Joffe's The Killing Fields at the age of 12.

The country's past has been turbulent, to say the least: from an empire that spanned most of South-East Asia between the 10th and 12th centuries, to a totalitarian death camp in the 20th century.

In recent years, Cambodia has repeatedly been in the news, whether through the McCartneys' charity fundraisers for landmine clearance or via journalists investigating what has become a playground for paedophiles. But it is also a country brimming with beauty and hope for the future.

Tourism has played a big part, with the temples of Angkor Wat the main attraction.

This beautiful temple-and-city complex formed the heart of the 12th-century Khmer empire that stretched through modern-day Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. It is thought that up to a million people lived here, at a time when London was populated by little more than 40,000.

The magnificent ruins fuse elements of Hindu and Buddhist iconography, mythology and beliefs into vast monuments adorned by benevolent faces of the god kings that smile enigmatically.

Angkor Wat's modern history is as fascinating as its ancient beginnings.

During the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the temples were used as bases, hospitals, prisons and garrisons by the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge alike. This is borne witness to by the bullet holes that pepper the outside walls of Angkor Wat and the destruction within.

My father, who visited the temples in the Sixties, remembers the wealth of sculptures, the serene Buddhas, the armed Hindu deities and intricately carved basreliefs.

Many are still intact, though too much has been destroyed. The Khmer Rouge, fuelled by Marxist-Maoist antireligious rhetoric, performed hideous acts of destruction, demolishing temple stupas with hand grenades and decapitating statues with machetes.

Some of the smaller outlying temples were torn to pieces and the immaculately carved stone used to build roads and houses. Much restoration is now taking place, as archaeologists from all over the world try to reconstruct many of the holy shrines based on images from libraries.

Others, however, such as Ta Prohm, have been swallowed up by the jungle, the roots of ancient trees twisting through the decaying edifices.

Siem Reap is now the main tourist hub from which to explore the Angkor region -

accommodation ranges from backpacker dorms to the style and elegance of La Residence d'Angkor, a hotel newly acquired by the Orient Express group (020 7960 0500, www.orient-express.com).

This relatively new city is developing a style that the god kings would have approved of: high quality resorts have opened up in the shape of the Foreign Correspondents Club (00 855 63760 280, www.fcccambodia.com), a truly colonial experience, and the wonderfully indulgent Shinta Mani Spa (00 855 63761 998, www. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Savage Beauty; the Temples of Angkor Wat Are Not Just a Reminder of Cambodia's Troubled Past, but a Beacon of Hope for Its Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.