Angkor Wat

and surrounding areas

a series of photographs by Lee van Laer

  Located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Angkor Wat is one of the world's largest temple complexes. The surrounding area has many thousands of related structures, representing one of the most densely populated lost civilizations in the world.  Having left few written records, and few reports from outside societies about their activities or culture, it has been left to later civilizations to interpret what they can from the ruins.

   The intention of this web site is to introduce readers to a visual impression of the area. Links are provided for those who want to read about it in more detail.



A small temple some 20 km north of Siem Reap, famed for the absolutely extraordinary quality of its sandstone carvings. The temple was completed in the mid-10th century.

The kala- a toothy monster symbolic of time. You'll see kalas gnawing away at things all over Banteay sarei.
Superior images of nagas are found everywhere here.
The causeway to the temple. Its tiny scale is apparent.
A view that takes in the moat. Moats surround most Khmer temples. The Khmer were masters of water engineering who built enormous impoundments for water storage.
Elaborately carved lintels are one of the outstanding features at Banteay Srei.
Note the motif which seems to be a backbone coming out of the lion's mouth. Like the naga motifs, probably an esoteric reference to yogic work with spinal energy.
There are dozens, and perhaps even hundreds, of visual representations of Hindu mythology at the temple.
Horse, carriage, driver: elements from a classic yoga sutra
The demon king ravana shaking Mount Kailasa, mythological abode of Shiva. A primitive explanation of earthquakes. Animals flee in fear, holy men pray in consternation.
Shiva with his consort Uma in his lap
Shiva atop a kala
The combat between Vali and Sugreeva
Krishna slaying his wicked uncle Kamsa
Fractal imagery: miniature temples are found on the corner of each level of the large temple.This iconography visually represents the principle, "as above, so below."
The temple from the back side
A sanskrit inscription
Narasimha (avatar of Vishnu) clawing Hiranyakasipu. The legend is retold in the link to Hiranyakasipu, intriguing and well worth the read.


an incidental web space

created and supervised by Lee van Laer