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Angkor Wat Cambodia

Fast Facts

Location: Cambodia
Time to Visit: November to December
How to Reach: The temple is just few kilometers away from the town of Siem Reap. Cars, buses and taxis ply between Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. Nearest International Airport: Phnom Penh International Airport
Time required for sightseeing: 2-3 hours or full day

What happens when the capital of an entire empire gets lost in the sands of time. Its ambition, reflected in great stone towers; its pride, sculpted in a thousand pretty figurines on grand facades; its delicacy of imagination, presented in the sad hue that color the tip of the main temple as the sun sets, and its piety, as it spends a fortune that exceeds the amount spent by pharaohs in building the Great Pyramids in building temples to its gods — all get lost in the course of history. Imagine the wonder that it gives rise to, when rediscovered and presented to the world, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of time. Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the temple city of unsurpassed grandeur is one of the greatest sights you will experience in a life time. If you are person who loves to see the most spectacular wonders across the globe, you should at least come once to this majestic temple. Making a trip here is truly an experience that you will cherish all over your life.

Angkor Wat is the topmost attraction in Cambodia. It is even the national emblem of the country and is perhaps the best preserved monument which is a rich specimen of the classical Khmer architecture. Thousands of tourists and art lovers from all parts of the world come here to witness the grand architectural designs of the temple.
Angkor Wat is located at Angkor, which is located at a distance of around 7 kms from the city of Siem Reap. It is spread over an area of around 400 kms and around 287 temples are scattered here and there in the complex. The fact that makes the temple significant that it was dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The temple was first dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu and later to Buddhism.

It was Emperor Suryavarman II who first laid the designs of Angkor Wat (Temple) in the first half of the 12th century. The temple was constructed to show honor to Hindu Lord Vishnu and was the state temple of the Emperor. After the death of Suryavarman II, the place was ravaged by the Chams who destroyed a part of the temple. It was later restored by king Jayavarman VII, who also established his capital here. During the 14th and 15th centuries, with the advent of the Buddhist faith, the temple was converted to the Theravada Buddhist faith which continuous till today. Active conservation work was not carried out on the temple until the 20th century. After conservation work, the temple was opened to the public and it became a renowned pilgrimage center and tourist spot.

The name “Angkor Wat” was first used during the 16th century. It means "City Temple.” Angkor is the local dialect which comes from the word “nokor”, originally derived from the Sanskrit word nagara (capital). Wat is used to describe temple in the Khmer language. Before the 16th century, the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok after Emperor Suryavarman II.

Angkor Wat is a unique example of a blend of temple mountain architecture and Khmer temple architecture. There are also influences of architecture from Orissa and the Chola dynasty of Tamil Nadu in India. The temple is designed like Mount Meru, which was considered to be the home of the Gods in the Hindu mythology. The central quincunx of the towers portrays the five peaks of the mountain while the walls signify the surrounding ocean and the mountain ranges. The wall in the exterior stretches up to 3.6 kms and is shaped like rectangular galleries.

You will simply wonder the awe inspiring beauty of Angkor Wat. The temple is famous for its grandeur and architectural harmony. The temple is a unique example of classic Khmer architecture. Most part of temple was built with sandstone while laterite rocks were used to make the interior structural parts and the outer wall.

The decoration of Angkor Wat (Temple) is extensive and resembles the decoration of some of the ancient Hindu temples of India. The temple is famous for its beautiful bass relief friezes. The outer gallery consists of carvings and engravings which depict various episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. There are exquisite carvings of 32 hells and 37 heavens of Hindu mythology in the southern gallery. The eastern gallery portrays the famous episode of the Churning of the Sea of Milk under Lord Vishnu's direction.

Angkor Wat has also been a matter of national pride for the Cambodian government. The temple appears on the national flag of the country and is treated with great respect. It is the national symbol of Cambodia. Every year between the months of November and December, the Angkor Festival is held near the temple complex. This vibrant festival displays the traditional art forms of eastern Asia. Renowned artists from various parts of Asia take part in the festival.

Reaching Angkor Wat is easy and convenient. The temple is just few kilometers away from the town of Siem Reap. Cars, buses and taxis ply between Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. You can take direct flights to Siem Reap from the capital city of Phnom Penh.


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