Friday, March 25, 2011

Isaan Odyssey, Part 14: Prasat Muang Tam, Pt 2

[This is Part 14 of a series. If you found this via a search or just happened upon it some other way you can find parts 1 through 13 by scrolling down the Labels in the right-hand column and clicking on "Isaan Oddysey".]

Continuing with our stop at Prasat Muang Tam from yesterday: the picture above shows the beautiful water lilies that dotted the four ponds around the central sanctuary. While there's a significance behind the number and placement it was meaningful enough for me just to be there, immersed in the tranquility of the site; I'll let people do their own searches for the meaning behind them. As stated long ago I'm usually not much more than an observer, although I do make an effort to know something about the places I visit, and I suggest that to any traveler.

Here are a couple of HD videos taken that day at Muang Tam that give you a bit of a feel for the place. Apologies for the slight jerky motion, but it's one drawback to the compact recroders (smaller than a pack of cigarettes) - they aren't very forgiving of an unsteady hand.

This clip is the longer of the two and gives you an idea of both how well the site is maintained; and how peaceful it was with just Suphot and myself there some of the time...another reminder to visit sites earlier in the morning. It's decidedly cooler, too!

Next is a shorter clip I took while doing a pan around the courtyard. You can see one batch of the flying insects mentioned yesterday at the very beginning of the clip. The music in the background was just serendipitous and nothing I had anything to do with. I certainly enjoyed hearing it as accompaniment to the drone of the insects as I explored the site, though.

Another view of one of the lily ponds

Morning light is probably my favorite, ahead of late afternoon light.

This interior shot of the central sanctuary is a good representation of the stone used in many of the Khmer-era temple buildings. The foundations, floors and many of the outer perimeter walls were built of laterite, a harder and more stable stone, while the interior walls and portions that were to be finished more finely-surfaced or embellished with decorative carvings were made from the gold and pinkish sandstone.

Whenever possible sandstone was taken from a nearby source or water, such as a river. When it's wet it's easier to cut and carve - becoming harder as it dries and ages. It always amazes me how the window posts were made. Can you imagine carving a cylindrical piece like this from stone by hand, without the benefit of machinery? I can't.

When I'd finally had my fill of this spot I caught up with Pot closer to the entrance and we again loaded ourselves into his truck for the day's drive North to Udonthani. I was anxious to finally get there and see my friend, and excited about the possibilities of what might be seen along the way.

[Coming up in Part 15: Finally... Udonthani.]

No comments: