In Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, Angkor means capital city. Khmer Empire was the most powerful ancient kingdom in South East with its peak reign during 12th century, and Angkor was its capital city. Wat means temple in Khmer. I visited Angkor Wat in September 2012. Located in the modern city of Siem Reap, Cambodia, it was built as a Hindu temple during the regime of Suryavarman II, who followed Hinduism. By the end of 12th century, Angkor Wat was made into a Buddhist site. The temple complex is located within an area of 162 hectares, making it the largest religious place in the world!
I am standing on the bank of a pool of water, and the temple is behind:
Angkor Wat temple is at an islet surrounded by a creek:
From the entrance, there is a long walk down to the temple:
The temple is a marvelous architectural wonder built fully with sandstone. A closer look at the temple reveals the enormous amount of artistic effort in shaping up the sandstone into various sculptors of impeccable perfection. The multi-layered edifying gopuara standing tall blemishless over the centuries betray the architectural prowess of ancient times.
The temple adorns painstakingly carved sculptors depicting gods, godesses from the Hindu mythology. The temple walls have intricate designs:
It will be a challenging but savory for a connoisseur of arts to take a stroll down the corridor of the temple as the temple walls are ornate with scriptural arts of jaw-dropping admiration.
We can climb to the temple top:
View from the temple top is amazing. One will feel fantastic while being at the top of this mammoth monument.
Along with the temple-folk:
Fortune-teller conducting rituals, using palmyra-written scripts to explain/predict her future.
Finally, she keeps the scriptures on her head to know which way her head will move. And based on the direction in which her head moves, the fortune-teller further fine-tunes his predictions of her future!
The Bayon is a famous Khmer temple of Buddhism, built around the same time as that of Angkor Wat.
The entrance to the Bayon:
Like Angkor Wat, the Bayon also got water surrounding it:
Inside of the Bayon: The most striking feature of the Bayon are the smiling faces of Buddha sculptured on massive rocky structures:
A visit to the Bayon is a part of the day one spends at Angkor as this Buddhist temple is hardly a few kilometres away from Angkor Wat.
The Baphuon is another temple dedicated to Buddhism at Angkor, It is a 3-tired temple mountain or mountain temple whichever way one wants to put it.
A view from the top of the Baphuon:
I had written two blogs on Cambodia, and their links are given below: