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Cambodia Places and Sights

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. Built in the 12th century by Suryavarman II and completed by Jayavarman VII, the proper name of Angkor Wat is Prasat Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved religious monument in the world. The modern name, Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer; Angkor, meaning "city" or "capital city", Wat is the Khmer word for "temple grounds", meaning "enclosure". Both Ankor and Wat are the words derivative of Sanskrit. This is a beautiful temple complex listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has architectural styles of Khmer which was built at first as a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu for the Khmer Empire and toward the end of the 12th century; it slowly got its transformation into a Buddhist temple which maintains even today. Angkor Wat is a mini imitation of the universe in stone signifying an earthly model of the cosmic world. According to ancient Sanskrit and Khmer texts, holy monument and particularly temples must be planned in a way that they are in accord with the universe, which means that the temple should be intended according to the rising sun and moon, in addition to signifying the recurring time series of the days, months and years. The central axis of these temples should also be allied with the planets, therefore relating the structure to the universe so that temples become the axis of spiritual, political, cosmological, astronomical and geo-physical. In other words, they are planned to be a symbol of microcosms of the universe and are organized as mandalas—illustration of the universe. From the center of the monument, the central tower ascends denoting the legendary mountain, Meru, situated at the center of the universe. Its five towers correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall correspond to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the adjoining moat the oceans outside. Angkor Wat itself is enclosed by 200 m broad moats that include a border of more than 5 km. This moat has depth of 4 m helping the base of the temple. Angkor Wat from a distance resemble a huge mass of stone on one level with a stretched walkway leading to the center but close up it is a chains of tall towers, covered galleries, chambers, porticos and patios on different levels connected by stairs. You will see that some pillars in the galleries of this courtyard have inscription written in Sanskrit and Khmer and on either side of the courtyard there are two libraries of that are similar but smaller than the ones along the entrance walkway. The Gallery of 1,000 Buddha's, on the right, once contained many images dating from the period when Angkor Wat was Backlist and now only a few of these figures have stayed behind. On the left, there is a gallery - the Hall of Echoes which is called so because of its strange acoustics. There are also more than 3000 Apsaras (celestial dancers) line up the walls of the gallery offering never-ending visual and divine charm. Angkor Wat is the main exemplar of the typical approach of Khmer architecture—the Angkor Wat style—to which it has given its name. The temple has been admired above all for the harmony of its design. According to Maurice Glaize, a mid-20th-century conservator of Angkor, the temple "attains a classic perfection by the restrained monumentality of its finely balanced elements and the precise arrangement of its proportions. It is a work of authority, union and style. Like with most other ancient temples in Cambodia, Angkor Wat too had resulted in damage and deterioration by a combination of plant overgrowth, fungi, ground movements, war damage and also thievery but the temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of national pride. With site that measures 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 sq meters), there is no doubt that Angkor Wat is one of the most beautiful and popular sites and country's leading attraction for visitors and also making it a large and significant development in tourism all through the years. Angkor Wat is the pride and joy of any visit to the temples of Angkor.

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