Witnessing a rising sun behind the temples of Angkor watt of Cambodia during an equinox is a rare occasion. It was built on the unusual W-E orientation and with such precision that the sun rose in its exact center of the main shrine, twice a year. Waking up to an overcast sky at 4:30am was a disappointment. However, I knew I would visit Angkor only once and it was now or never.
The Khmers built their temples not as a meeting place for the faithful, but a palace for the God himself. They were built as the only permanent structures while the rest of the city and palaces perished in the sands of time. The bridge to the temple is called the rainbow bridge and the moat around it represented the mythical ocean. It was pitch dark and on that bridge I saw a sea of like-minded tourists staking out their positions as well. After entering through one of the Gopuras I encountered an unusual 8-armed avatar of Lord Vishnu, believed to have occupied the original shrine. While walking toward the temple on a raised walkway, the sheer scale of the premise made me wonder that how could a structure so huge was swallowed by woods just a few decades ago. I found a quiet spot on the stairs of the library ruins while the rest of the crowd was quietly jostling for their own. The Angkor Watt, even in darkness, was like a gentle giant in the distance, waiting to wake up upon sunrise to show us just how glorious it could be. The iconic structure was identifiable even in its silhouette.