The world famous Angkor Wat temple

Angkor Wat temple
Angkor is located in the northern province of Siem Reap, Cambodia, and ranks amongst one of the most important archeological sites in South-East Asia. With a huge area of 400 square kilometers, the Angkor Archeological Park is home to the magnificent and stunning remains of various capitals of the Khmer Empire and forested are as well.

The world famous Angkor Wat temple is located in Angkor and was originally a Hindu temple. It later graduated to being a Buddhist temple and is the world’s largest religious monument today. Angkor Wat means ‘Temple City’ or ‘City of Temples’. It was built in the 12th century in Yasodharapura (capital of Khmer empire and present day Angkor) by the Khmer king Suryavaram II. It was his state temple and eventually served as his mausoleum. Angkor Wat, when it was originally built as a Hindu temple, was dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a break from the Shiva tradition of earlier kings.

As far as its architecture is concerned, it is the high point of Khmer temple architecture using two basic plans based on the early Dravidian architecture of the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. The design also includes the key features like Jagati and its design is a representative of the home of the devas in Hindu Mythology, namely, Mount Meru. The centre of the temple is home to a quincunx of towers that symbolize five peaks of the mountain, and the surrounding walls and moat the mountain ranges and ocean. The moat and the outer wall stretch to 3.6 kilometers or 2.2 miles which houses three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. Angkor Wat has its orientation to the west, which is another deviation from tradition with differing opinions of experts on the significance of this feature.

Angkor Wat templeThis not to be missed world heritage site is highly admired by the world for its stunning grandeur and architecture, the walls adorned with unending range of devatas and its extensive bas-reliefs. Famous all over the globe for its extensive decoration, its walls are adorned with stories from the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, Celebrated episodes like the Churning of the Sea of Milk, the Battle of Lanks, the Battle of Kurukshetra and many more. These are depicted using hundreds and hundreds of devatas, asuras and apsaras that are a sight to behold. Another astonishing fact is that the stones used are as smooth as polished marble and laid with impossibly tight joints using the ancient combination of elephants, pulleys, coir ropes and bamboo scaffolding. Almost every surface, column, lintel and roofs are carved with miles of illustrations that include unicorns, griffins, winged dragons pulling chariots as well as warriors following an elephant-mounted leader and celestial dancing girls with elaborate hair styles. The gallery wall alone is decorated with almost 1,000 square metres of bas reliefs

Appearing on the flag of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is today a worldwide tourist attraction. An architectural marvel of breathtaking beauty and unimaginably grandiose, Angkor Wat is most definitely a monument one must visit in their lifetime.

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