View from the Platform

Pre Rup, Angkor

This dramatic view looks eastward and down from the elevated platform into the temple courtyard and eastern gopura (entrance). The steps are narrower than the length of a person's foot, so that visitors (even Cambodians, whose feet are smaller) must make the precipitous descent sideways. I wonder if this might be deliberate; in Southeast Asia it is impolite to point the feet towards a divinity or king, and even today the main image in working temples is approached with a curious, sideways motion (while seated, with legs folded underneath). This general idea would also be consistent with the side view of feet that one sees so often in temple reliefs.

Remains of individual galleries line the inner wall; the ends of two of these (roofless, with columns) can just be seen to either side of the courtyard. In the far upper right corner is the base of a group of three outer towers (next page). Directly in the center of the photo is a notorious stone "cistern," which Freeman and Jacques (p.159) insist is the base of a Nandi statue, not a crematory bin as local guides would have it.