Vines hiding carved frames
There is a wooden walkway towards
the center of the temple. On the little circuit, a couple
of beautiful carvings narrate scenes from the Ramayana
(Sita in the fire to test her innocence) and the Churning
of the Sea of Milk (gods and demons tugging on the snake,
which is wrapped around the mountain, which in turn is supported
by the turtle, an incarnation of Vishnu).
To explore the rest of the complex requires climbing up
and down many piles of sandstone blocks. Enclosing the vast
area of Beng Mealea is a moat, now partially dried up and
used by water buffaloes, women washing clothes and other
aspects of village life.
The long drive, at least two hours from Siemreap, and
the fact that Beng Mealea is not included in the Angkor
entrance ticket may be the reason that this place sees few
people. The area has been demined and basic visitors' facilities
are in the process of being built.
on the Angkor Vat style