Saffron Robes

by Lindsay Shapka in

Saffron Robes       Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, CAMBODIA

I had spent the entire day in motion – from tuk-tuk, to speed boat, to tuk-tuk, to van – all so that I could make it to Angkor Wat in time to see the sunset behind the ancient stone temple and the lush jungle.

Steep, massive, treacherous steps led to the top of the temple, their dangerous angle preventing all but the most ambitious from scaling them. Fragrant smoke, wafting from a stick of incense planted in the sand in front of a fabric draped statue, filled the air as I stepped, out of breath, onto the top level.

There was not a soul in sight.

I slowly walked down a column lined corridor, running my hand over the moss-covered carvings in the stone and enjoying the quiet that comes right before twilight. I paused to take a photo of the carvings when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.

Turning, I came face to face with a monk.

He was calmly walking towards me, the saffron robes draped expertly around his slender form flapping gently behind him in the breeze. I took a timid step back to allow him to pass, and as he walked by I managed to gather my wits in time to snap this stunning photo.