|You could opt to go up the hill on this elephant, you know.|
The hill was not steep; it had a gentle gradient and a leisurely walk would take you about 20 minutes to get to the temple at the top of the hill. The challenge would be to walk up the very very narrow steps up to the small plateau where the temple is located. To say that the steps are almost perpendicular to the ground is not an exaggeration. It was really daunting. Climbing up would be possible using all fours, as the others ahead of me were doing, but how on earth were we going to get down those steps? Reverse direction but on all fours again? That would be like abseiling but without any harness or ropes. Impossible. Go down like we would any normal staircase? But there wasn't any railing to hold on to in case I lost my footing on the very, very narrow steps. I do have a slight fear of heights. Should I abort this mission I had set for myself to capture a Bakheng sunset for Skywatch Friday?
|Can you see how the people are climbing the steps here?|
My husband encouraged me to go on with my mission. We surveyed the perimeter of the base, scouting for a less perilous ascent for me. We found a narrower flight of steps which had a wall on one side. That would be a good alternative for a railing. At the least I could lean back for some support as I descended. Mission resumed.
At the top, we could see camera tripods already set up on several strategic locations. People were just sitting around, waiting. Every inch of the plateau was occupied. A few people were already taking photographs of the view as soon as the sky was changing colour. The evening light was softer now and the sun was making a slo-mo dive, spreading its light in shades of vermilion. I captured my Bakheng Sunset, and was glad that I could be part of this expereience.
As the number of people on the top of Bakheng Hill was growing, we decided to make our way back before the crowd made their exit, and before it got too dark to actually see the steps. My dread of the vertigo-inducing descent turned out to be unfounded as I made it down with my dignity and composure intact. Not a slip, my knees didn't buckle and I didn't lose my nerve. The experience was a milestone of sorts for me although the bit of sunset I captured wasn't the show-stopper splendour that the other photographers would have caught when it got dark.However, I have a tale to tell from this experience, and with delight I place my "rosie@travel-i-tales" label on the photograph below!
For other Skywatch Friday moments, please visit Skyley.