The carvings on the pillar are intricate and detailed. Standing elegantly with the flowers in their hands are two smiling apsaras with perfect bodies.
As you can see, they are wearing exquisite jewelry on their necks, hands, legs, ears, and around the waists. The dangling earrings reach up to their shoulders, and they look like the flowers of the Kror Sang tree. Adorning their heads are intricately carved three-tipped mukutas (headdresses). Both the apsaras are wearing different but elegant dresses decorated with beautiful flowery patterns. The jewelry and costumes in the carvings showcase the richness of the Khmer culture and reflective of how people used to live in the Khmer era.
Inspired by the beauty and elegance of the apsara carvings in the Khmer temples, especially in the Angkor Wat, dancing apsaras make up a significant part of cultural dances (ballets) in Cambodia. They use similar types of jewelry and costumes, including the majestic headdress’, that appear in the bas-reliefs.
There is no equivalent English translation for the Sanskrit word apsara. The closest translation is celestial maiden or nymph. In Indian mythology, apsaras are youthful eternal beauties.
According to one myth, apsaras are accomplices of gandharvas (who are celestial musicians), and through their singing and dancing, they entertain the gods. In another myth, apsaras are one of the by-products of Samudra Manthana, and the devas (demigods) took with them the court of Indra, the king of the devas and heaven. For more details on the Samudra Manthana, check: Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs
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