I’m finally blogging my trip back in July in Cambodia- while visiting Ankor Wat. We’ve taken so many photos but somehow misplaced them onced home. These photos shown are all from my cheap camera. Hope you can still enjoy the beauty of this place. It is absolutely extraordinarily remarkable.
This is the main temple and largest one named Ankor Wat. Angkor Wat is the name that many associate with the massive sprawling temple complex that was once the center of the massive Cambodian city of Angkor. This temple complex, made of 72 major temples and many hundreds of other sites, was built between 900 and 1200AD. The city of Angkor is said to have spread over an area of 1000 square kilometers and is said to have had a population of over a million people. This is a massive and incredible complex. To give a better idea of the size of Angkor, it is said to be over seventeen times larger than Manhattan. This was easily the biggest city in human history before the industrial revolution. The history on Angkor is rich and very deep and I recommend googling it or reading about it in your local library.
Angkor Wat is the crown jewel of Angkor. Easily the largest and magnificent of the temples, it is definitely something to put on your list of things to do and see before you die. Angkor Wat is also the largest religious building in the world. It was built in early 1200AD for King Suryavarman II as the state temple and capital city. Originally a Hindu Temple dedicated to Vishnu, it transformed into a Buddhist temple in the 13th century as Khmer religious belief evolved. Architecturally, it is built with the traditional Khmer temple mountain design; a representation of Mount Meru, the home of the Gods. Personally, what really makes it magnificent is not just the size and grandeur, but the incredible retailed bas reliefs and engravings that pretty much cover any flat surface. Every surface is a beautiful work of art. Every wall is covered. On the outer galleries, the walls are beautifully engraved with scenes of the epic stories, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. On the eastern gallery are deep carvings of the Churning of the Sea of Milk(my favorite and the most spectacular). There are eight in total and they are all immense and spectacular. I can’t even imagine how long it took to carve them, even with today’s technology. When you looks past the immense galleries, you start seeing images of the beautiful deveta. Deveta are sacred Khmer goddesses. In total there are 1,796 unique deveta just in Angkor Wat. The reasons for the devotion to the female form is still being researched, but women must have played a major and important role in Khmer culture as there are hardly any carvings of men outside of the gallery bas reliefs. At a time when Europe was in it’s Dark Ages and women’s rights we an unknown concept in most of the world, the Khmer’s had an open society with equal access and rights to not just men, but also women. Revolutionary stuff.
This is Bayon, a.k.a angkor wat’s temple of a thousand faces.
Bayon is my favorite temple out of the hundreds of them. There are countless carvings of faces said to be either the king or Buddha partially smiling or somewhat laughing directly at you from every direction.
Walking from one room to another and starring at the smiling faces gave a sense of mystery and eeriness. The experience was surreal and incredible.
This temple is Ta Prom. This is the temple with giant tree roots swallowing over entry ways. It is very much the ancient ruins you see in movies but this is all real. There’s a majestic vibe to Ta Prom. It’s absolutely astonishing and almost magical walking and seeing huge stones piling on top of each other. Every path has rich history and a story to be told.
Ankor Wat is such a spiritual and adventurous trip I will never ever forget. I highly recommend you put this place on your checklist of places to visit and see. I’m just afraid that too many tourist will one day pollute history like Ankor Wat. Lets hope it stands around long enough.