Ask any 90’s kid and they will tell you how iconic Lara Croft from the movie Tomb Raider is. Fawned over by both men and women alike, the much-loved character played by extremely talented Angelina Jolie was an inevitable blockbuster. We give you a low-down on all the places to visit in the UNESCO Angkor Area, hidden to the world for almost 400 years, in Cambodia that lets you imbibe your favourite adventurists’ vibe. By Amitha Ameen
1. Ta Prohm
We’ll start with the obvious. Ta Prohm or ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ served as the mystical backdrop where Lara explored the ruins of Angkor. Partial, larger-than-life stone faces and abandoned ruins of what was once a Buddhist temple, subsumed by the jungle are what is in store for you. Gigantic roots of silk cotton and Ficus trees serve as the backdrop for travellers who want that perfect Instagram shot. Narrow corridors, steep stairways and massive trees growing out of the walls of this temple give it a mystical aura.
2. Angkor Wat
No itinerary to Cambodia is complete without the mention of Angkor Wat. This legendary temple is famous amongst travellers and tourists alike for many reasons. The largest religious monument in the world, one among the handful of temples dedicated to Hindu god Lord Brahma and home to the best sunrise spot in the world – just a few of the many attributes that make this temple iconic. Did we mention the world’s scariest stairs are here at Angkor Wat that are nearly 70% inclined, and you need to hold on to a rope to make your way up and into the inner sanctum of the temple?
3. Bayon Temple
Hauntingly beautiful would be the best way to describe this temple situated at the heart of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. More than 200 faces, each four-metres high are present inside the temple with an evident display of wear and tear. What is most noticeable is that all of the faces feature the same serene smile and closed eyes, almost like they are representing a state of nirvana. In regard to who these faces represent, there is still a debate between some saying that it represents Brahma while others insist that it is of Jayavarman, a former ruler of Khmer Empire (present-day Siem Reap).
Angkor is not for the faint-hearted and cannot completely be explored in one day. But, spending just one day in this wondrous archeological site is enough to really get an insight into the life and times of the Khmer Dynasty, the last empire to rule this region.
How To Get There: There are daily flights from all major metro cities to Phnom Penh.
Entry To Angkor: Visitors can opt for the one-day or three-day Angkor Archaeological Park pass
Best Time To Visit: November-April