Angkor Wat located in Cambodia is a dream travel destination for many. However, it is always better to know beforehand about the place you are traveling to so that you prepare yourself accordingly. Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious structures in the world. The alluring ancient temple also has an Archaeological Park which is home to hundreds of similar temples. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it gradually got transformed to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. Here are a few interesting things to know about Angkor Wat.
Things To Know About Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat Archaeological Park has hundreds of religious structures and temples sprawling across 400 km sq covered by dense jungle and forest areas. Apart from Angkor Wat main temple, the Bayon and Ta Prohm are the two other favorites around.
Largest Religious Monument
Constructed in the early years of the 12th century, the temple is the largest religious monument in the world.
Angkor Wat was earlier the capital city of the ruling Khmer Empire. Called City of Temples or City Temple, it has many things to offer apart from the temple. The entire city allures visitors with its structures, schools, moats, and libraries.
Center of Khmer Pride
Angkor Wat is the national pride of Cambodia and is one of the only two countries in the world to have a building on its flag. Another country to bear a building on its flat is Afghanistan.
Temple Defies Typical Direction Rules
One of the most interesting things to know about Angkor Wat is that it defies the typical rules related to direction. The pointed structure faces towards west instead of east. Some believe that it has an association with death according to Hindu culture. However, it leads the way for a perfect sunrise.
The entire structure of Angkor Wat reveals that the archaeological and engineering feats of the city were way ahead of the times. For example, the builders used the vegetable compound for bonding bricks instead of mortar.
Outer Wall Spreading 203 Acres
An outer wall spreading across 203 acres once protected the entire Angkor Wat city, temple, and the royal palace. Although now the wall has been destroyed, tourists can see its broken pieces here and there.
When Should You Visit?
Tourists should visit Angkor Wat before sunrise, around 5 a.m. According to most of the travelers, it is the most opportune time to visit and explore the area. They believe that watching the sunrise here is a mesmerizing experience.
Reflection Of Main Temple
Another most important things to know about Angkor Wat is watching the reflection of the main temple at sunset from the water. The combination of the temple’s reflection and color of the sky leaves you awestruck.
Feast For Eyes
Originally the temples and surrounding buildings glittered with colorful paints and gold. The sight even today is a feast for eyes but must have been incredibly beautiful in the earlier days.
Built Through Hard Work
The Angkor Wat temple was built through hard work as around five million tons of sandstone were used in its construction. The labors carried all these stones from a quarry 25 miles away without any help from machinery.
Temple That Switched Religions
Angkor Wat is one of the few temples in the world that shifted its religion from a Hindu to a Buddhist temple. Since 13th-century people consider it as the place of Buddhist worship and it continues even today.
World Heritage Site
Angkor Wat received the World Heritage Site title in 1992. It led to stamping out of illegal looting and unregulated tourism.
Evidence Of Dinosaurs
Certain parts of the temple indicate that dinosaurs did exist in that era. A carving at the Ta Prohm temple has a carving looking similar to a stegosaurus dinosaur. Incidentally, they became extinct at least 64 million years ago. Some even believe that it is a boar or a rhinoceros.
In 2016, Dr. Damian Evans, an Australian archaeologist discovered that a network of ancient cities lies below Angkor that is around 900 to 1,400 years old.
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