I’m not a religious person. It’s not that I don’t believe in a god, or God, but rather that I don’t want to put faith in a deity I can’t see. I’m sceptical of the existence of God whilst, simultaneously, thinking there’s probably something out there. Call it spiritual if you like or call it something.
But I have a thing for temples. I love visiting them. There’s such a huge variety and I find something aesthetically pleasing about them. A harmony in building which, to others, can look awkward or ugly. And I find them peaceful. Even in the noise of Hindu ceremony theres a soace for quiet reflection.
I admire those who built them, those who sustain them and those who have the strength to worship there. I love both the ancient crumbling edifices that are not just empty shells for foreign tourists as well as the living, breathing entities that attract devotion on a daily basis.
So here are a few that have a special place in my affections.
Size isn’t everything and there is much to admire in the more compact design of Chao Say Tevoda, Angkor Thom, Cambodia. This, and its sister temple Thomannon, sit in jungle clearings directly opposite each other and dates from the mid 12th century.
Banteay Srei or Citadel of the Women is a 10th century temple carved in red sandstone, located in the Angkor area of Cambodia. Widely seen as the jewel of Khmer art, it’s small size and idyllic jungle location make it popular with tourists.
So there you have it, a brief look at some of my favourites from the multitude of temples I seem to have visited during my travels.
Some I don’t have pictures of. Some I do have pictures of but, alas, my travels took place before the age of digitalisation and I must resort to heavy tomes of fading photographs to bring back fond memories.
Some that hold places in my heart I have simply omitted due to their popularity and the fact that they’re probably on many favourite temple lists (if such exist).
But, if you read this, I hope you enjoy the photographs. I hope you get a sense of scale and wonder and appreciate, in this age of vast machines, how skilful our forefathers were at constructing these extraordinary edifices in a time when atheism was almost unheard of and the temple dominated people’s lives.
I’m not religious but temples ?, anytime!