Exploring Angkor Wat

Tomb Raider

Technically Tomb Raider was shot at Ta Prohm and this is Angkor Wat temple, but being American, I can’t help but tell you how much I felt like I was in a movie! Sure there were hoards of tourists and guides, but there is something amazing (and terrible) being able to freely explore this ancient temple complex!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Exploring Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Temple Carvings

Churning of the Ocean of Milk

This is one of the most famous carvings in Angkor Wat temple and perhaps all of Cambodia. The Churning of the Ocean of Milk tells the story of a battle between Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) to gain supremacy on the Earth. The two sides battled in a great tug-of-war struggling while pulling on the Naga (a mythical snake creature) thus causing the great churning of the ocean of milk and things to be revealed in the turmoil of the ocean including the Amrita (the elixir of immortality). In the process they numerous times petitioned the help of Vishnu who aided the Devas. In several ways the Devas tricked the Asuras and gained supremacy in the world, sending the demons to hell.

This is of course my rendition from what my guide at Ankor Wat shared of the story. I am still trying to work my way through how this story relates to modern times. Perhaps this is further complicated as this is a Hindu sculpture inside a Buddhist temple.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Angkor Wat Temple Carvings

Kyoto Temple

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I went on a walk searching for a temple. I got lost and it started to rain…hard.

It often happens to me during my travels. I tend to get lost, I even TRY to get lost. Sure I have my phone, so I am never TRULY lost, but believe me…I get lost. I also like to walk places. I feel like I get to see more and see the color of places if I walk. Sometimes I am detrimentally stubborn about it, but the wander is hard to satisfy.

This day, my wandering soul found this beautiful place at the top of a small hill. I am not entirely sure where in Kyoto it is, but this entry was very beautiful and nestled quietly away allowing for reflection. I generally don’t care for people in my photos, but this couple seemed to fit.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Kyoto Temple

Thai Buddhist Temple Offering Pots

Offerings and Meditation

These pots lined the exit of the Reclining Buddha. What struck me was their dual purpose. First they solicit donations for the temple. As you pass each one a small denomination coin is dropped in as an offering. Second, they are yet another form of meditation…a walking meditation, rhythmic…full of thoughts of charity.

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Spiral Incense in Hong Kong

Which Buddhist Temple?

I have visited quite a number of temples, shrines, churches and other holy places around the globe. This is amazing as I get to see how people from different places and walks of life experience religion. The problem is sometimes these sites can run together! Some places like La Sagrada Familia are unmistakable, but this shot…might be a few places! I think, given the prominent spiral incense, its Man Mo Temple, but honestly I am only about 75% sure!

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Buddhist Wall in China

Haunting Sculptures

There are so many great artistic works created in the name of religion. I don’t know the significance of this sculpture, but it is almost as maddening a work as La Sagrada Familia‘s Nativity Facade. There are so many carvings within carvings and around carvings it’s hard to know what is happening.

I took a HUGE bit of creative license as the room was dimly lit in places. There colors are all mine, but the madness is all Buddhist artists!

Photo Technical Info

Buddha Statue in Kyoto, Japan

Temples and Shrines, and Buddha’s OH MY!

Everywhere you go in Kyoto, there are shrines, temples and gardens. I can’t think of a place I went that didn’t have at least one or more of the three…sometimes all three at the same time! It is said Kyoto has over 2000 shrines and temples from small to exquisitely grand (in a zen way of course). Just walking down the sidewalk, I found this little temple. I said Buddha in my title, but perhaps a Bodhisattva or some other early divine person. With so many places to pray, it is sometimes hard for a western walker to know where they stand, but I think that is perfectly Japanese.

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Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan

Taking Off Your Shoes in Japan

The Japanese are a trusting lot! Before entering a Buddhist temple, you remove your shoes. Sometimes you carry them around in a little plastic bag, but generally you just leave them on a shoe rack by the entrance. The same is often expected if you are carrying an umbrella…best to not track water all over a temple or store. Of course, my shoes (not that anyone would want my traveling shoes) and my umbrella were always exactly where I left them. Not only are the Japanese trusting, they are also trustworthy!

I just loved these neat rows of slippers the monks wear. They were lined up outside what is functioning currently as the primary temple at Chion-in.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.2
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 13 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Location: 35° 0.3708′ 0″ N 135° 46.99′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan

Fall at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan

Finding Fall Color

Hitting fall color in Japan to me seems a bit like hitting the cherry blossoms. You can shoot for the perfect time, but nature sometimes has other ideas. Technically I was a bit early for the “perfect” fall color time, but the maples were just starting to turn! This is Kiyomizu-dera, a buddhist temple with a FANTASTIC view of downtown Kyoto. I actually came back on my last night in Kyoto, but realized when I arrived I didn’t have the entrance fee (I left my wallet back at the hotel). I had followed a big searchlight in the sky that brought me right back to this lovely spot.

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Chinese Dog Carving at Lingyin Temple

My Love of Random Sculptures

A quick photo today from my favorite part of Hangzhou…Lingyin temple. It’s probably an obvious photo for me to take at this point, but I just love the little details around Chinese gardens, monasteries and the like. The craftsmanship at the Lingyin area is exquisite and this little dog is no exception.

Photo Technical Info