Angkor Wat temple complex at Angkor near Siem Reap, Cambodia, was built in 12th century by King Suryavarman II. Angkor Wat is on of the great cultural wonders of the world, comprises more than a thousand buildings. Angkor Wat is world’s largest religious structure, covering some 400 acres (160 hectares), and marks the high point of Khmer architecture.
Angkor Wat – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Angkor Wat – the largest religious monument in the world.
Angkor Wat – originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to God Vishnu for the Khmer Empire by king Suryavarman II.
Angkor Wat – the ultimate statement of Khmer architectural ingenuity.
Angkor Wat – Almost every inch of Angkor Wat complex is covered with intricate carvings and motifs.
What is Angkor Wat?
The original name was Vrah Visnuloka or Parama Visnuloka – meaning “the sacred dwelling of Lord Vishnu.
Modern name Angkor Wat, alternatively Nokor Wat – meaning “Temple City or City of Temples.
Angkor meaning – City or Capital City, is a vernacular form of the word Nokor which comes from Sanskrit / Pali. Word Nagara – Wat is the word for Temple grounds, also derived from Sanskrit / Pali meaning “enclosure”.
Angkor Wat is the earthly representation of Mount Meru, built by Suryavarman II. Mount Meru – the Olympus of the Hindu faith and the abode of ancient gods.
Angkor Wat temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. Unlike other Angkor monuments, Angkor Wat temple was never abandoned to the elements and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built.
Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Combodia
The Angkor city served as the royal centre from which Khmer dynasty kings ruled one of the largest, most prosperous and most sophisticated kingdoms of Southeast Asia. Numerous construction projects were undertaken during 9th century until early 13th century, most notable was Angkor Wat temple. The Angkor Wat temple was built by Suryavarman II as a vast funerary temple within which is remains were to be deposited. The construction is believed to have spanned some 3 decades.
Angkor Wat – the original religious motifs derived from Hinduism and the temple was dedicated to Hindu Gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The five central towers of Angkor Wat symbolize the peaks of Mount Meru (Mount Kailash). According to Hindu mythology, Angkor Wat Temple is the dwelling place of the Gods. The temple is reached by passing through 3 galleries, each separated by a paved walkway. The temple walls are covered with bas-relief sculptures of very high quality, representing Hindu Gods and ancient Khmer scenes as well as scenes from Hindu epics Mahabharat and Ramayana.
After the Cham people of modern day, Vietnam sacked Angkor in 1177, King Jayavarman VII decided that Hindu Gods had failed him and when he built a new capital nearby Angkor Thom, he dedicated it to Buddhism. Since than, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist shrine, and many o fits carvings and statues of Hindu deities were replaced to Buddhist art.
Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia
Angkor was abandoned in the early 15h century. Still Angkor Wat is maintained by Theravada Buddhist monks, and Angkor Wat is an important pilgrimage site and continued to attract European tourists.
In 1992 the Angkor complex, including Angkor Wat, was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO and was immediately added to the list of world Heritage in Danger. In ensuing years, restoration work was increased, and Angkor Wat was removed from the danger list in 2004. Today Angkor Wat is a popular tourist attraction and one of the most important pilgrimage shrine in Southeast Asia. The temple complex is on the Cambodian flag.
Angkor Wat Architecture
Angkor Wat temple complex, now in northwestern Cambodia – is the crowning work of Khmer architecture. This is the world’s largest religious structure dedicated to Lord Vishnu, about 1,700 yards (1,550 m) long by 1,500 yards (1,400 m) wide. The Wat – an artificial mountain originally surrounded by a vast external wall and moat, rises in three enclosures towards flat summit. The 5 remaining shrines (towers) at the summit are composed of the repetitive demising tiers typical of Asian architecture.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture – the temple mountain and the later galleried temple. Angkor Wat temple was designed to represent Mount Meru – home of the devas in Hindu mythology.