In Hindu religion celestial maidens called apsaras, a type of cloud nymph, worked as the servants to the gods. They were beautiful and artistic, being expert dancers. In many Khmer dances, beautiful women represent these apsara. Khmer kings kept these apsara dancers in their harems. Images of these beautiful dancers, whether human or godly, adorn the walls of many temples and palaces. Apsaras continued to be part of the local belief system when religions changed, and are now part of both Hindu and Buddhist myth.
In modern times, many beautiful women continue to dress in elaborate costumes to represent the apsaras. One night I went to a buffet dinner and watched some traditional dancing. Women and men danced traditional folk dances and reenacted ancient legends. The apsara dancers, with their tall golden headdresses and bright outfits, were a sight to see. Next time, I’ll have to get there a little earlier so I can get a better view…
Korean word of the post: 압사라 (ap-sa-ra) Apsara
Chinese word of the post: 阿普萨拉 (a1 pu3 sa4 la1) Apsara
Khmer word of the post: អប្សរា (apsara) Apsara