“When Angkor Wat society began, Paris and London were not much more than elaborate villages. Europe was crawling with barbarians, and here were the Khmer engineering sophisticated irrigation systems and constructing the biggest temple in the world.”
― Kim Fay
Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Its name means “temple city.” The city where the temple was built, Angkor, is located in modern-day Cambodia and was once the capital of the Khmer Empire. It is an awe-inspiring temple that is stunning for both its grand scale and its incredible detail.
The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. Unlike the other Angkor monuments, it was never abandoned to the elements and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built.
Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century, and statues of Buddha were added to its already rich artwork.
Interesting Facts about Angkor Wat
- The Hindu temple ruin of Angkor Wat is the largest single religious building in the world.
- The temples of Angkor, crafted by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of the humankind’s most astonishing architectural achievements.
- The temple complex is the symbol of modern Cambodia and adorns the national flag of Cambodia.
- The temple complex was destroyed by the Siamese troops in 1431. Still, today Angkor ruins stretch over more than 400 square kilometers.
- The Angkor Wat Temple was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II in the honor of Hindu god Vishnu.
- The heart of the temple was the central tower, entered by way of a steep staircase, a statue of Vishnu at the top. This tower was at once the symbolic center of the nation.
- Angkor Wat is oriented to the west, unlike most of the other Cambodian temples that face east. This was done on purpose because the west direction in Hindu religion represents death. It is for this reason that Angkor Wat is also known as the ‘funeral’ temple.
- It was built to preserve the king’s ashes. So, you see the purpose of this complex was the same as that of the pyramids of Egypt.
- Angkor Wat is a UNESCO world heritage site.