Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 6, 2012


After a quick lunch at Blue Pumpkin, an on-site restaurant, Mr. Muy directed us to Angkor

Angkor Wat, which literally means City Temple, is the grandest of all Angkor sites, and represents the best of Khmer architecture. Monuments here have been built with hand-carved sandstone blocks, brought from mountains about 25 miles away. The nearby palace and city habitations, built of perishable material, have disappeared.

Built in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat was the chief temple, in the capital of Khmer Empire. It took about 40 years to build it.

It was sacked by the Champ invaders from central Vietnam, sometime after the death of Suryavarman II. Also over the centuries, nature has taken its toll. But it received considerable restoration in the 20th century.

Originally a Hindu temple, in the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually transitioned to Theravada Buddhism. There is a shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, at the first level of this 4-spired temple.

Also, there are two Buddha shrines at the upper levels.

The walls are decorated with the celestial male and female figures, devatas and apsaras.

The inner walls of the outer gallery display large-scale scenes, which depict episodes from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The temple is an ascending progression of three levels leading to the inner sanctum. One has to climb sets of steps to go up to each higher level. The highest point of the temple is the more than 650-ft high. It is reached by a staircase of 40 high steps.

In the evenings, just as visitors come down the top staircase, performers from a local dance group, dressed in their traditional costumes, are available to pose with them for a photograph, for a small fee.

Fortunately hawkers are confined to certain areas

But monkeys roam all over the complex.They do not seem to be bothered by throngs of visitors.

We waited for the sunset to take pictures of the temple reflected in the pond in front. Unfortunately, the sunset was not very impressive that evening.

The four spires of the 670-ft high main temple are believed to be the most spectacular feature of the Angkor Wat complex. Its towers are shaped like lotus buds and are surrounded by courts and passageways.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home