Angkor temples in the 1960s

Angkor Wat Temple in the 1960s

Angkor temples in the 1960’s, a family album

My parents met in Montpellier, France,  in the early sixties as my father had a scholarship offered by the French government to study Biology. They married three years later and my mother moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the week after the wedding in 1964. She was originally from a small village of the South of France and had not finished her literature studies but was ready for the adventure. In these days, you would be flying an Air France Caravelle aircraft with 2 transits, either in Tel Aviv and Colombo, or Beyrouth and Teheran, or via the North Pole with a stopover in Tokyo.

It did not stop my grand parents from visiting us in 1966, a few months after my birth.

They took beautiful photos of their trip to Angkor that I would like to share with you.

Bayon Temple in 1960

My mother at the Bayon. The photo is today in the entrance corridor of the Maison.

The Bayon was built in the late 12th or early 13th century by King Jayavarman VII, as a buddhist temple. It stands in the center of Jayavarman city, Angkor Thom.

Maison Polanka Khmer House Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap

Bayon Temple Photos in 1960s

The upper terrace of the Bayon temple with the 216 stone faces that strike you with the serenity of their smile and the beauty of their lips. The thing is you can recognize this smile and beautiful heavy lips on Cambodian men around Angkor!

Bayon Temple Photos in 1960s

The bas reliefs of the Bayon temple are impressive and account for daily life sceneries as well as mythology and historical events.

Angkor Wat Temple in 1960

My mother, climbing to the upper tower of Angkor Wat ( now forbidden to the public)

Angkor Wat is a temple dedicated to Vishnu and built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman. It is considered as the largest Hindu monument in the world and became the symbol of Cambodia. Its 5 towers are on the Cambodian flag.

Angkor Wat Temple

Angkor Wat and its reflection on the pond.

Angkor Wat Temple during 1960s

My French grand parents below the Apsaras of Angkor Wat and their guide.

Sapho Marchal, the daughter of a conservator, made an inventory of the thousand Apsaras of Angkor Wat, detailing the diversity of their hair style, jewelry and clothes.

The Terrace of Elephants 1960s

My parents in front of the elephant terrace, North of the Bayon.

Southgate of Angkor Thom 1960s

The South door of Angkor Thom, with the god and the demons carrying a 7 heads naga. The statues heads are original on that photo but are now kept in the Angkor Conservation in Siem Reap, located just a few hundred meters away from Maison Polanka. The doors are 23 meters high with on both sides beautiful carving of elephants holding lotus flowers. Angkor Thom city has 5 doors, and the South door is the most famous. It is surrounded by a moat.

Banteay Srey Temple in 1960s

My Cambodian grand-mother in Banteay Srei

Bantey Srei is a 10th century temple dedicated to Siva and renowned for its intricate carvings and pink stone. It is one hour away from Siem Reap by car. The statues of the guards on the photo have been removed for safety reasons by replicas.

Photo of Banteay Srey Temple 1960s
Old Photo of Banteay Srey

Beautiful statues!

Banteay Srey Temple

The pediments ( the triangle shaped by stones) of Bantey Srei depict scenes of mythology and the lintels ( the horizontal beams) are beautifully carved. As you see they were alone in the temples, and this can still be possible, especially in Bantey Srei after 5 pm!

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