The Signs We Should Follow

It’s so memorable. I still remembered how happy I was, seeing the first the sign of Angkor Wat, -as my main destination in Cambodia-, from my tuk-tuk. I took a photo of it and kept the happy feeling. I could not believe myself that finally I arrived inAnd Cambodia! It was the day of my first trip to Cambodia! No wonder, just seeing a sign of Angkor Wat made me happy!

Sign of Angkor Wat

And who knows, after that memorable time, I returned to Cambodia again and again. Exploring another temples that located far from Angkor Wat. I had my own excitement to go to the remote areas where the ancient temples had been built for centuries.

One of the beautiful temple that located a little bit separated from the main complex of Angkor Archaeological Park is Banteay Srei temple. It is a 10th-century temple dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu God. The elaborate decorative wall carvings that built on red sandstones seemed to represent the meaning of it name, which literally means the Citadel of Women.

Not far from the entrance point, I saw the signboard of the temple. It’s completed with the rule signs at the left and right, a bit different to other temples I had visited. But honestly, it’s useful. Sometimes people ignore the words but prefer to notice the pictures. Unfortunately, -since those signs are relatively small-, people may overlook them.

The signboard of Banteay Srei

As most of temples were once the place of worship when they were built and are still housing the symbols of worshiping, there are a number of common rules and guidelines we have to observe. Also temples are part of the culture and traditions of the country we visit, therefore it will be our obligation to respect them.

As shown on left part of the signboard, there are two forbidden and two allowed signs. The forbidden are red and the allowed signs are blue. Have you seen these signs around you?

On the top left, there’s a forbidden sign with a hand and a flower. I’d never seen this sign before, but I thought it’s forbidden to pick the flowers around the temple. The reason, I think is simple, it reminded me some wise words from Osho,

If you love a flower don’t pick it up. because if you pick it up, it dies and it ceased to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.

The signs of the temple

Next, there are allowed signs. The first one was about clothes. To respect the place of worship, people should wear proper clothes with shoulders covered and its length past the knee for both men and women. Unfortunately, this sign was usually overlooked. Many people visit temples with clothes they usually wear if they going holiday with lots of open. People might be forgot that they visit a place that once was a place for worship and it’s still housing the symbols of worshiping.

And the second allowed sign was about putting the trash into the provided trash bin. It’s an usual sign to see. It’s our obligation to keep our environment clean.

The left bottom forbidden sign was about pets. I felt a little bit strange seeing it in this open public area, although it’s a normal sign. Visitors should not bring the pet but the temple was not free enough from the domestic animals of the local people in its neighborhood e.g. chicken, goats, cats and some wild animals in the area (monkeys, birds etc.)

The signs in the entrance area of Banteay Srei temple

The three signs on the right side are the common forbidden signs: No smoking, no eating, no littering. But the last sign was a little bit unusual. It seemed that people are forbidden to speak with high volume, shout or yell. Perhaps with that sign, people are encouraged to keep the environment comfortable for visiting. Whatever Banteay Srei is now, it was once a place of worship and that kind of place is usually serene and peaceful.

By the way, have you seen people who act against these signs? What do you think of these people?

This post was written in response to the weekly challenge from Celina’s Blog, Srei’s Notes, Cerita Riyanti, and also A Rhyme In My Heart, -similar to the old Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress-, which is the 28th week of 2020 has the theme of  Sign, so we are encouraged ourselves to write articles weekly. If you are interested to take part in this challenge, we welcome you… and of course we will be very happy!

2 thoughts on “The Signs We Should Follow

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