JOURNAL OF MY TOUR BY JEEP OF THAILAND, CAMBODIA AND VIETNAM

NOVEMBER, 1956 , page 23

From travelogues of a Chinese Ambassador historians deduced that this terrace constituted part of an audience hall of a palace, which was decorated with many mirrors. The centuries old trees growing here and there make it difficult to imagine that palace, which enraptured such a critical observer as the ambassador of the highly civilized China of that period.

When you walk through the forest you reach Prasat Phnom Bakheng , a basin larger in size than any known open air swimming pool. Actually, I was surprised that no entrepeneur to-date has come up with the idea to turn this basin into a swimming pool in order to attract more tourists to Angkor ....(I hope no-one takes this serious, but if they do, do not forget my 10% commission!)
The stone terraces descending all the way to the water level or even below still are in good shape, and it was a pleasure sitting down there and imagine such an anachronism as 20th (or 21st) century girls clad in bikinis bathing among 10th century princesses dressed in.. whatsoever they used to wear!
Opposite this terrace, on the other side of the road, two smaller palaces with a series of 10 towers parallel to the road once were guesthouses for important visitors. They are exceptionally simple and gracious and the turned stone pillars in the windows are the only decoration.
At this place, I wondered for the first time about the purpose of the holes which are visible in each stone. I think these stones were each about 100cm x 40cm x 30cm in size, and carry on top and bottom some eight cylindrical holes of some 4cm diameter and 5 cm depth. I disagree with an explanation I read later that these holes are evidence of sumptuous paneling, because one rarely finds holes on the sides - where such paneling would be attached . My own explanation is that the holes either served to make transportation easier or, even more likely, to allow the use of dowels to hold the stones together instead of using mortar. This construction method combined with perfect smoothing of the tops and bottoms (and probably sides, too) account for the perfect and seemless appearance of the buildings.


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