Today was my (Nana's) dad's birthday. Since I couldn't be there to celebrate, I thought I'd send a little message from Cambodia. I'm standing at Lolei temple in the Rolous group, in front of a nice temple built by the king for his father. If you're keeping score, this was built around 892. If your offspring is the king, you get temples that last 1,200 years. If your offspring is the history teacher, you get a goofy photo.
Nandi, the bull, is the faithful steed of the Hindu god Shiva. He also wishes Dad happy birthday.
As do all nine heads of the snake god Naga.
This fish lives in a koi pond at the Butterfly Garden restaurant. He sends his best.
By afternoon, word of this auspicious day had spread to Angkor Thom, the big walled city. The causeway into the city is flanked by demons and gods tugging on the body of a snake, as part of the Hindu story in which they "churned the ocean of milk" to produce the "nectar of immortality." I'm not totally sure how that worked, but they were very busy, so it was awfully nice of them to take a moment out of churning to send birthday greetings.
Angkor Thom is famous as the home of dozens of towers of four-faced statues, which could represent the four faces of the Hindu god Brahma, or also the Four Noble Truths of Buddhist thinking. The king who constructed it was playing it safe and not taking sides, theologically. When we took this picture, a neighboring tour guide nodded thoughtfully and said, "This is a happy smiling statue for your father's birthday. Your father will certainly have good fortune."
|Both the Hindus and Buddhists could agree on Dad's birthday.|
A dancing Apsara, or Hindu/Buddhist angel/nymph, gave a special performance for the occasion.
The king and his concubines appreciated the excuse to party.
And last but not least, the crab says hi.