Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Angkor Wat Cambodia

Angkor Wat From Helicopter
While we were in Siem Reap we visited Angkor Wat. We try to do it every time we’re in Cambodia and there’s always something new to explore. Angkor draws millions of visitors from around the world.

Sandstone Causeway Promenade
Angkor Wat (Khmer for Temple City) is the most famous and largest temple complex in Cambodia. It’s actually the largest religious monument in the world. The site measures 402 acres. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for god Vishnu by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 1100s CE, gradually becoming a Buddhist temple near the end of the 12th century CE.

Causeway Ends
The temple was the capital of the Khmer Empire, King’s State Temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shiva tradition of earlier kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu.As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation. The temple was at the peak of the high classical style of Khmer building. It is an important symbol of Cambodia, shown on its national flag and its money too. Angkor Wat is Cambodia's prime attraction and place a huge interest for visitors.

Climbing to the Top of the Tower

Line for Tower Climb
Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkorian temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century CE it was never completely abandoned, its preservation being due in part to the fact that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the jungle and Khmer Buddhists have respected and used the temple continuously. Today there are living shrines that monks are still using today scattered around the complex.

Entrance to Gallery
Corbeled Arch

Angkor Wat required considerable restoration in the 20th century, mainly the removal of accumulated earth and vegetation. Work was interrupted by the civil war and Khmer Rouge control of the country during the 1970s and 80s, but relatively little damage was done during this period.

Monk Reading on an Ancient Porch
Early Stupa
Integrated with the architecture of the these buildings, and one of the causes for its fame, is Angkor Wat's extensive decoration, which importantly takes the form of bas relief friezes. The inner walls of the outer gallery bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They have been called “the greatest known linear arrangement of stone carving” by experts. One of the friezes shows the Battle of Kurukshetra and portrays the mutual annihilation of the Kaurava and Pandora families with some original color Remaining. These incredible friezes that were carved in the 1100’s CE and they are still in very good condition.

Battle of Kurukshetra Bas Relief
Close-up Bas Relief Showing Original Color
Angkor Wat, in its beauty and state of preservation, is unrivaled and is considered one of wonders of the world. This temple is an absolute must for any traveler to Siem Reap. It will blow your mind! We love it. These temples truly are amazing. It has some of greatest and most interesting architecture we’ve ever seen.

Highly recommended!

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