Temple of Angkor Wat

Evan J.

Location -

The Angkor Wat Temple is located in present day Cambodia in the city of Siem Reap, about 200 miles from Phnom Penh. (Cambodia's capital). The city of Angkor was the largest city in the world before the Industrial Revolution. The population of Angkor was about 1,000,000 people.

Description -

Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world and one of the most "prized possessions" of southeast Asia. Legend says that Indra built it for his son Precha Ket Maelea which most people who worship there believe. People say that the country of Cambodia has forgotten about the temple but, the temple has faded into the jungle with age. As a matter of fact it's on the country's flag. Vegetation has grown up around it and paint has worn off but even with the temple eroding with age, it is a major tourist attraction. The temple consists of many towers and unlike any other religious monument of the time, it was oriented to the west. Angkor Wat was and still is the king of all temples.

History -

The temple of Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by Suryavaram II. The temple was constructed to represent Mt. Meru and originally was built a Hindu temple but later became a Buddhist temple. According to bibles the gods lived at the summit of Mt. Meru. Different parts of the temple represented different things (oceans, mountain ranges, etc.). The city of Angkor became a pilgrimage destination. Buddhist monks came about the temple and made stories and fables about it. Angkor Wat was at one point in time the capital of the Khmer Empire.

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Construction -

The building of the Angkor Wat temple took tons, and tons of work. 52 million cubic feet of sand and silt were moved. The building of the temple took thousands of people to work at one time. A material called laterite was used to support the different buildings. Laterite was quarried 18 miles north of Angkor. Which means the builders had to lug the laterite 18 miles everytime they needed more! The stones were layed without mortar. All blocks were held together mortise and tenon joints. The building required millions of tons of sandstone.
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Sacredness -

Angkor Wat was originally named Vrah Vishnulok which translates to The Sacred Abode of Lord Vishnu. Hindu's and later Buddhists both worshiped at Angkor Wat. Legend says that the temples were not built by humans, but by Indra, The Lord of Heaven, for his son Precha Ket Maelea. People worshiped here because the builder Suryavarum II, said that the temple was full of deep sympathy and would win them immortality. He also said that he would rescue people who were struggling. The central tower holds a sacred statue of Vishnu mounted on garuda. This sacred statue was taken out on festival occasions. Angkor Wat was a place of devotion as well as an astronomical observatory.

The religion that is practiced at Angkor Wat is actually pretty interesting. When Angkor Wat was originally built, it was a Hindu temple. Later, it was converted to a Buddhist temple. So in present time, Angkor Wat is a Buddhist temple.

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Interesting Facts -

  1. 50% of Cambodia's tourists come for Angkor Wat.
  2. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world.
  3. The temple is associated with funeral rituals.
  4. Jacqueline Kennedy visited the temple during the Vietnam War.
  5. Angkor ruins cover over 248 square miles.
  6. Most of the money to restore the temples came from foreign aid.
  7. Many surfaces of the temple were painted at one time but, there are very few traces of paint left.
  8. The movie Lara Croft was filmed there.
Angkor Wat - Cambodia Tourism (HD)

Works Cited

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Kitching, Chis. “A Buddha statue sits at one of the entrances of Bayon temple at Angkor Wat.” DailyMail. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2792159/new-zealand-tourist-destroys-statue-cambodia-s-angkor-wat-bayon-temple.html>.

Pete. “Thai Islands, Cambodia, Turkey.” A Plan for Peace. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2016. <http://www.moving-overseas-guide.com/thai-islands-cambodia-turkey.html>.

Ratcliff, Trey. “The Lotus Sunrise.” ThousandWonders. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2016. <http://www.thousandwonders.net/Angkor+Wat/pictures>.

“Sacred Angkor.” Hindu Worship. N.p., 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2016. <http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Sacred_Angkor.htm>.

Thorng, Samnang. “The Wonder of Angkor Wat temple you never known.” TryCambodia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016. <http://www.trycambodia.com/2016/02/the-wonder-of-angkor-wat-temple-you.html>.