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Tourism Asia >> Wonders of Asia >> Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat - The largest temple on the planet, Angkor Wat, glory of Cambodia, is the masterpiece of Khmer architecture. One of the architectural wonders of the world, it is the pinnacle of a great ancient civilisation. Get informed about everything of Angkor Vat with us, the complex, the architecture, the history and more.

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Angkor Wat


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Temple Built By Gods Or By Giants
Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world, is the supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Representing the pinnacle of a great ancient civilisation, the place is the convergence of the streams of history, architecture and faith. One of the architectural wonders of the world, it currently holds the tag of the biggest tourist attraction in Cambodia.

Angkor WatSynopsis
Country Cambodia
Province Seam Reap
Known For One of the architectural wonders
Best Time To Visit Anytime in year
Best Moment To Visit Sunrise
Architectural Style Khmer, Influenced by Indian architecture

Why to Visit
  • Biggest tourist attraction in Cambodia.
  • Listed thirteen by Hillman Wonders in World's Top Hundred Wonders.
  • Largest temple in the world.
Fine Points of The Angkor Wat
  • Supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture.
  • Moat circumferencing the temple itself an engineering marvel.
  • Cultural home of Khmer people.
  • Occupies space on Cambodian flag.
  • Only major religious centre, which was first Hindu and then became Buddhist.
The Complex
Angkor Wat is just one of the structures in a massive complex, which is spread out over 230 sq km and houses thousand plus monuments having their origin in different periods. Some spectacular jewels of Angkor treasure house are

Angkor WatAngkor Wat Temple
The best-preserved and largest temple at the site, Angkor Wat has found place on the Cambodian flag. Glorious example of Khmer architecture, the temple is remarkable for remaining a significant religious centre- first Hindu, and then Buddhist, since it came into being.

The Symbolism
Angkor Wat, which translates as 'The Pagoda Of The City', represents Mount Meru, considered home of deities by Hindu mythology. The five towers symbolise five peaks of Mount Sumeru. The outer wall hints the end of the world while the oceans are represented by the surrounding moat.

Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas
This marvellous collection of priceless heritage was a part of Angkor Wat, which got its name for the Khmer faithful left great number of Buddha statues here. Alas! most of these were annihilated during the recent civil war.

The Moat
A massive moat, which symbolises the Ocean, encircles the Temple. The moat itself provides testimony to the grand efforts of the makers of the temple- it is four miles in length and six hundred feet in width. Only after crossing the moat, or the ocean, you enter the 'home of deities'.

Architecture
A prime example of Khmer architecture, the Temple, with its ornate and exquisite stone carving, specially the dancing female sculptures, enthralls the visitors. The Temple, with the harmony of its design, has been often compared to the architecture of ancient Greece or Rome.

Unlike most temples, unique Angkor Wat sits looking west, on a sandstone plinth a meter above the ground. Adorned with naga balustrades, it occupies land measuring 1300 meters north-south, and 1500 meters east-west.

Some peculiar features of the Temple include: majestic towers shaped like lotus buds; half-galleries to broaden passageways; axial galleries connecting enclosures; and the terraces which are present along the main axis of the temple. Exquisite stone carvings of devtas and apsaras, bas-reliefs, and narrative scenes on pediments, are typical embellishment styles off the Temple.

First Enclosure
Near the first Temple enclosure is a series of four rooms arranged in a cruciform. Sunken floor is the common feature of every room, which are also surrounded by continuous gallery.

Inner Enclosure
Resting on a eleven meters tall two-tiered pyramid, the Inner Enclosure, with steep stairs, looks grand. A continuous gallery in the upper encases an inner cruciform of four rooms. Five towers jut from the upper tier. Once, the cruciform housed a lot of shrines, but now, in the absence of wooden doors, they look like passageways.

Construction Material
Sandstone is the main construction material, while laterite is also used in some parts.

Angkor WatConcise History
The first half of the 12th century witnessed the construction of Angkor Wat, during the rule of Suryavarman-II (1113-1150). But after his death, his empire disintegrated. In 1177 Angkor was ransacked by the Chams, the sworn enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was reestablished by Jayavarman VII, an eminent ruler. The Temple assumed Buddhist ambience in the 14th or 15th century. With the decline of the Khmer empire, the temple was abandoned. The temples, which were once full of life, became 'the lost royal city of Angkore'.

An accidental visit to the site by Henri Mouhot, a French colonialist, in 1860 unearthed the great archaeological heritage. Angkor Wat regained its prime.

Quotes Unquotes
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 power, unity and style."

Antonio da Magdalena, a Portuguese monk who visited in 1586
The temple "is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of".

Travel Tips
  • Carry as much cash as necessary.
  • Be well-informed about current affairs within the country. It can come handy.
How to Reach
Easily accesible from Seam Reap. Daily tourist buses operate. You can also take taxi.