Dancing for Gods and Fallen Heroes

Well that’s it for the Thai reminiscing folks. All the heat and colour is captured,  trapped like insects in amber and laid out for your readerly enjoyment!

While I plan the next global jaunt I’ll be taking a random look back at oddities from trips gone by. Here’s one about architectural details . . . .

As I travelled around various different Asian countries and snapped away at all the fascinating temples, a particular decorative element kept catching my eye.

Beautiful slender, elegant women, dancing, adorn so many temples from Angkor Wat in Cambodia to hill side temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand and the many ornate temples in India.


I know them as Apsara, and decided to find out a bit more about the meaning behind the symbolism (by which I mean I went on Wikipedi!!)

According to the bastion of internet knowledge “An Apsara is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.”


I read one of the most beautiful descriptions of Apsara while in Cambodia “Dancing for Gods and Fallen Heroes”.

Below are just a few of the delicate celestial dancers to be found at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex, captured in stone forever but still swaying to the universe’s music.

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English translations of the word Apsara can include nymph and celestial maiden.

Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings who excel in dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra.

They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, and entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men.

They pop up all over the place – here they are decorating a Jain temple in the Indian city of Udiapur,

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As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often shown taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.

Here are a few more of the cheeky ladies carved into the amazing, ornate pillars at the Indian temple of Ranakpur in Rajashthan.

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