My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. – Isaiah 46:10
Ellen and I visited Angkor Thom every single day while we were in Cambodia. The magnitude of the Great City was dramatic. The expansiveness was counterbalanced by the abundance of intricate detail. You could easily spend hours in one spot and miss out on everything else around you. We visited the Bayon everyday and made sure that we traveled beneath the North, South, East and West gates before the trip was over. We toured Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm and rode our bikes all over Angkor each day. It’s hard to grasp the fact the most of the temples in Angkor were built in the 12th century. For reference and comparison, that’s around the same time the Sears Kay Ruins and Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings were constructed.
The temples themselves are massive, so thinking about the labor involved to build the structures themselves is mind-boggling. After thinking about the physicality of the task, I immediately started to think about the intelligence, forethought, planning and organization required to build the temples of Angkor. Everything is perfectly balanced with precise symmetry. Moats surround the temples extending the symmetrical balance far beyond the temple walls. Finally, the bas-relief sculptures were so intricate and involved, and it was everywhere. From the 216 faces on the Bayon to the 49 meter depiction of the Churning of the Sea of Milk in Angkor Wat, the imagery was elaborate and you could feel the weight and importance that each story the illustrations told.
I suppose it makes sense that the only thing that could surpass the impressiveness of the Angkor temples is the natural world. Walking through the tangle of trees and destruction in Ta Prohm was fascinating. Tree roots and branches grew out of, around and over temple walls. The trees stood tall and beautifully stretched to the sky, seemingly unbothered by the rubble at their roots. It spoke to me in so many ways. It made me feel conflicted. It gave me perspective on time. It reminded me that only God is sovereign.