Photo Tales: Churning the Sea of Milk

Aaron Hooper Angkor Cambodia

Angkor Thom Temples, Siem Reap, Cambodia

There is no better way to soak in the history of Angkor Thom temples than to watch the giant scarlet sun sink across the waters surrounding the western gate bridge. Along this ancient structure, there are the heads of 54 guardian deities (devas) on the left, and those of 54 demons (asuras) on the right. Together, all of them are holding the colossal body of a giant, snake-like Naga creature.

There is a long Hindu tale about the Naga and how the whipping of its tail “Churns the Sea of Milk” and creates the cosmos anew. The devas you see in this photo, are pulling on the Naga’s head, and on the opposite side of the bridge, the demons are pushing the Naga’s tail, thereby creating the “Churning of the Sea of Milk” from which, according to ancient, Hindu beliefs, the nectar of immortality would be released,

Whether one believes in this intricate tale or not, the mesmerizing beauty of the stone carvings as the last light of the sun sets on them, is wonder enough.

Follow Aaron Hooper’s work on @ahooperphotography on Instagram and on @AaronHooperPhotography on Facebook. Contact Aaron for sale of limited edition prints or for private or business photography shoots bookings on

Aaron Hooper
Aaron Hooper

Aaron Hooper is a Phuket-based photographer and RL Phuket contributor. Contact Aaron for sale of limited edition prints or for private or business photography shoots bookings on

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