Package Name: Top Tourist Attraction in Cambodia, Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, with site measuring 162.6 hectares. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1992 by UNESCO. The temple is a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great national pride. A depiction of Angkor Wat is a part of the Cambodian National Flag. Angkor Wat is also Cambodia’s prime tourist attraction.
It is believed that the Khmer King Suryavarnam II built the temple complex in the early 12th century in the ancient Yasodharapura. It was a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There is a beautiful carving of the ‘Samudra Manthan” scene with Lord Vishnu standing in between the “devas” and “asuras” while they churned the sea for “amrit” or divine nectar. Toward the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat gradually transformed from a Hindu center of worship to Buddhism, which continues to the present day.
According to Hindu Mythology, Angkor Wat was designed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the “Devas”. It is surrounded by a moat as Meru is surrounded by the sea, and there is an outer wall that surrounds the whole complex. The temple complex gives the onlooker the feeling of awe, grandeaur and wonder. Legend also has it that the temple was built overnight by the Divine Architect, Vishwakarma for Lord Indra’s son.
One of the first Western visitors to Angkor Wat, a Portugese monk in 1586 wrote, “it 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.” Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist popularized Angkor Wat in the West by publishing his travel notes. He wrote, “One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome”. Angkor Wat has been acclaimed for its balance and harmony in 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 power, unity and style!”
Angkor Wat definitely holds more than what the senses can perceive. It is a work of genius left behind by our forefathers, pregnant with instructions, lessons and guidance if we are willing to explore.