Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world by land area, on a site measuring 162. 6 hectares. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation.
About Angkor Wat in brief
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world by land area, on a site measuring 162. 6 hectares. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and is the country’s prime attraction for visitors. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology. Within a moat more than 5 kilometres long and an outer wall 3. 6 kilometres long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Four inscriptions dated from the 17th century from the Jetavana Buddha, the famed garden of the Buddha, are found in the temple. The original name of the. temple was Vrah Viṣṇuloka, which means the sacred dwelling of Vishnu. In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of theKhmer empire. Thereafter, a new king, Jayavman VII, established a new capital and state temple a few kilometres to the north.
At that time, the temple was thought by locals that the Japanese pilgrims had established small settlements alongside the temple, which originally thought by the visitors as the garden of Buddha. It was never completely abandoned, although it was largely neglected after the 16th century after it was looted by a group of monks. The modern name means ‘Temple City’ or ‘City of Temples’ in Khmer, which is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara. The current name is ‘Angkors Wat’, which means ‘temple grounds’ or ‘Temples of the City’ inKhmer. The site is located 5. 5 kilometres north of the modern town of Siem Reap, and a short distance south and slightly east of the previous capital, which was centred at Baphuon. In an area of Cambodia where there is an important group of ancient structures, it’s the southernmost of Angkors’ main sites. The. temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls. The initial design and construction of the Temple took place in the first half of the12th century, during the reign of Saryavarmen II. Dedicated to Vishnu, itwas built as the king’s state temple and capital city. It may have been known as ‘Varah Vishnu-lok’ after the presiding deity.