After the decline of the Angkor empire, the jungle overtook the temples and they lay undisturbed until the 1800s. Some of the trees had so incorporated themselves into the structure of the temples that removing them would cause even more damage to the ruins... so they just let them grow.
All of the temples were really different. I just loved this one... there were four outer pools (a couple were nearly dried up - it's the beginning of the dry season here), but the central pool was full enough to keep us away from the central structure here.
Preah Neak Pean
These are... Hindu acetics maybe? At some point one of the kings was Buddhist, and so introduced the religion to the kingdom... in his temple he added a lot of images of the meditating Buddha. But subsequent kings reverted to Hinduism, and the Buddha statues were altered or defiled.
Ancient Khmer culture is such an interesting blend of Hindu and Buddhist images. Later sculptures show Buddha meditating under the hood of the Naga. And many of the Deva statues have the calm, compassionate expression of the Buddha. As someone raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was all a little confusing, so many stories I'd never read, so many gods & demons, so many other characters. By the end I could identify the Garuda (bird like defenders) Krishna (the god with many arms) and Hanuman (the monkey god)... but somehow neglected to get pictures of them! I feel like I took a ton of pictures, but there was just so much to see, there was no way to capture it all.
I did capture this little guy though, actually probably a female. Another group of tourists was feeding it bananas. Officially, I'm opposed to this. But again, the tourist in me just thought it was cute.