Discovering the History of the Angkor Wat Temples in Cambodia

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Angkor Wat Temples, located in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, is one of the world’s most beautiful historical sites. The ancient temple complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992 and is a symbol of Cambodia’s rich history and culture. Every year, millions of tourists visit Angkor Wat to marvel at its incredible beauty, history, and architectural excellence.

The early history of the Angkor Wat Temples is shrouded in mystery. However, it is widely believed that King Suryavarman II constructed the temples during the early 12th century. Historians and archaeologists believe that Angkor Wat was not only a temple but was also the king’s palace and the center of his empire. Some believe that the temple was created as a Hindu shrine while others argue it was a Buddhist temple, and many point to the combination of the two as evidence of Angkor Wat’s ability to unify both religions.

Over the years, Angkor Wat has experienced changes in its religious affiliation and has undergone several renovations and restorations. After the ruler of Angkor declared Buddhism as the state religion, the temple was converted into a Buddhist shrine. Later, during the 16th century, a group of monks took over Angkor Wat, and its condition slowly deteriorated as its notoriety dwindled.

During the 19th century, the temple complex underwent a series of restorations and significant repairs, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cambodia today. The restoration efforts have continued over the years, ensuring that Angkor Wat remains in pristine condition for future generations to appreciate.

The temple’s design and architecture are breathtaking: the temple features intricate carvings, massive towers, and captivating murals. The entire complex spans an area of approximately 162.6 hectares, with the main temple standing at 65 meters tall. The temple’s architecture is characterized by a centralized tower surrounded by four smaller towers, and each of the towers represents the Mount Meru, which is believed to be the center of the universe in Hindu mythology.

The temple is also home to some of the most incredible and longest galleries of temples in the world, with reliefs depicted as beautifully carved bas-reliefs and stunning murals. The carvings and sculptures depict epic tales from Hindu mythology, such as the myth of the Churning of the Sea of Milk, the Battle of Lanka, and the Marriage of Shiva and Parvati. The temple is also adorned with inscriptions and over 1,800-asuric statues, with most of them having faces similar to the king’s face, Suryavarman II.

In conclusion, Angkor Wat Temples have undoubtedly stood the tests of time and is a testament to Cambodia’s rich heritage. Its architecture, incredible carvings, and history make it one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Visiting Angkor Wat is like taking a trip back in time, and every tourist should make an effort to explore this unique and awe-inspiring site.

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