The Angkor Wat is on the bucket list of many for a very good reason – the architecture from times gone by will leave you gaping in awe! Sunrise over the Angkor Wat will make you wish that time should stand still!
If you are planning a trip to Cambodia, read on for some interesting facts about the Angkor Wat that will feed your curious mind….
1. The Angkor Wat was constructed by King Suryavarman II, in the year of 1113 AD. The Angkor Wat is considered as one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. Although Suryavarman II belonged to lineage of kings who practiced ‘Shaivism’, yet he broke the tradition and constructed a temple for Lord Vishnu.
2. Angkor Wat came to be known by its present name since the 16th century. Earlier, it was known as Pisnulok, after the title of its founder, Suryavarman II.
3. Initially, Angkor Wat was constructed as a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was almost 300 years after construction that it was converted to a Buddhist temple.
4. Building the Angkor Wat used approximately 300,000 million tonnes of sandstone and laterite. The structure took over three decades to take its final snap. It is said that 4000 elephants were used for this herculean task.
5. The pyramid at the Angkor Wat, which represents Mt. Meru, is the highest ancient pyramid the Asia and measures 213 feet.
6. Angkor Wat has been designed in such a way that it represents Mount Meru, abode of Lord Brahma and the devtas. The moat around the temple represents the ocean that separates the human world from the godly abode.
7. Most Hindu temples in the Khmer era were built facing the East. The Angkor Wat is only temple that faces the West. There are no written reasons for this. Some believe that this is so because the temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is associated with the Western direction. Others say that the temple was used to funerary purposes, and is thus related to the direction of the setting Sun, which is West.
8. The bas-reliefs on the walls of the temples depict interesting stories including those of churning of the ocean, Ramayana and Mahabharata, scenes of war, everyday life of kings etc. The reliefs are read in the counter clockwise fashion which signify that this temple has a relevance to funeral rites.
9. The walls of the temples are decorated with apsaras having interesting hairdos, jewelry and dresses. Each apsara has its feet sideways, which is unique to Khmer art. There are about 2000 such Apsaras on the basis reliefs of the Angkor Wat.
10. The number Angkor Wat receives over 2 million visitors every years, amounting to $60 million in ticket sales. Almost 50% of visitors arriving in Cambodia visit the Angkor Wat.
Getting here: Siem Reap, is the closest city to Angkor Wat and is well connected by air, train and road.
Accommodation: Considering the city hosts millions of tourists every year, the tourism infrastructure is very well developed. There are hostels that offer a bed for as little as INR 700 per night and then there are luxury hotels that cost as much as INR 25,000 per night.
Food: Siem Reap is possibly the best place in Cambodia to try authentic Khmer cuisine. If Khmer cuisine does not interest you, and you are craving for a different taste, worry not…Siem Reap has something for you. At Pub Street in Siem Reap, you will find restaurants that cover the globe, ranging from Angentinan steak houses to traditional Indian food.
Best time to visit: Siem Reap is best visited when the weather is cool, thus allowing you plenty of time to explore the temple complex during the day. November to March are possibly the best months to visit, when heat and humidity are low.
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Author: Sonia Sahni
Ticking The Bucket List is a couple travel blog that will let you see new places vicariously! Culture, Nature, food, history, adventure – come join us! You live only once!