My Cambodia Trip, Part IV – Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat

The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” in KhmerAngkor, meaning “city” or “capital city”.

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu, a Hindu god. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. 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 it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.

The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

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Approaching Angkor Wat.

The approaches to Angkor Wat. The shrine pinnacles are like sprouting shoots. The whole complex is a vast sculpture in stone, an image of heaven on earth. Early 12th century.

This majestic masterpiece of Khmer architecture, was consecrated around 1150 to the Hindu god Vishnu.

Angkor Wat–Scholars calculated that it probably took 30 years to complete.

Angkor Wat–Every nook and cranny is crafted and filled with details.

Angkor Wat–There has been long debates among scholars that the wat was built for worship or for funerary purpose, but it is now commonly accepted that Angkor Wat most likely served both as a temple and a mausoleum for Suryavarman II.

The statue of Vishnu, the Hindu god.

Angkor Wat–Angkor “what”? Cambodian wats are Buddhist monasteries, often referred to as pagodas, although they are not like the Chinese pagodas.

Angkor Wat–Tourists standing in awe!

Angkor Wat–The zenith of Khmer architecture. This unforgettable temple, crowned with soaring towers, with intricate bas-relief, is one of the world’s most memorable sights.

Angkor Wat – Breathtaking!

Monkeys in Angkor Wat.

At first I thought all hese are Apsaras.  After reading a little about these beautiful female images in Angkor Wat, I have learned that they are both apsaras and devatas.

Apsaras in the art and architecture of Cambodia

“Apsaras represent an important motif in the stone bas-reliefs of the Angkorian temples in Cambodia (8th–13th century AD), however all female images are not considered to be apsaras. In harmony with the Indian association of dance with apsaras, Khmer female figures that are dancing or are poised to dance are considered apsaras; female figures, depicted individually or in groups, who are standing still and facing forward in the manner of temple guardians or custodians are called devatas.

Angkor Wat, the largest Angkorian temple built (1116–1150 AD), features both apsaras and devata, however the devata type are the most numerous with more than 1,796 in the present research inventory. Angkor Wat architects employed small apsara images (30–40 cm as seen at left) as decorative motifs on pillars and walls. They incorporated larger devata images (all full-body portraits measuring approximately 95–110 cm) more prominently at every level of the temple from the entry pavilion to the tops of the high towers. In 1927, Sappho Marchal published a study cataloging the remarkable diversity of their hair, headdresses, garments, stance, jewelry and decorative flowers, which Marchal concluded were based on actual practices of the Angkor period. Some devata appear with arms around each other and seem to be greeting the viewer. “The devatas seem to epitomize all the elements of a refined elegance,” wrote Marchal.”

These are “tubs” where the kings and queens, prince and princes washed their sins.

Another “tub”. The king, the queen, the prince and the princesses all had different “tubs” to wash their sins, when they came to worship in this sacred temple.

Look at the steep staircase leading to the temple. Visitors are no longer allowed to climb the stairs, because of previous accidents that happened.

Courtyard in the Angkor Wat complex.

Apsaras or Devatas again.

These stairs are so steep!  Tourists are not allowed to climb because of a previous accident.

More Apsaras or Devatas!

The following are all images of the beautiful temple – Angkor Wat.

This was the last shot of the Angkor Wat before we departed from this beautiful place.  The visit was too short!  I hope to stay there for at least a week, in order to spend time appreciating the most beautiful and largest ancient Hindu temple in the world.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. ElisesWorld says:

    Ankor Wat is beautiful. I was there two years ago and Ankor Wat was really nice. I really liked the Bayon place, with all the faces, if you haven’t already been there 🙂

    1. friendlytm says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I did visit the Bayon. In the same blog, I posted Cambodia Trip, Part II, which features the Bayon.

  2. fgassette says:


    Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you took to stop by. May your day be filled with joy and peace.

  3. Tina Schell says:

    When were you in Angkor Wat? We were there 2 years ago and the temple was covered with green construction scaffolds. See my post at . Written a bit tongue-in-cheek. Enjoyed your post; thanks for the memories!

    1. friendlytm says:

      I jus t read your post. It is beautiful. Thanks.

  4. seeker says:

    Yes, a week would be great to appreciate all the intricacies of the structure. Thank you for sharing your trip photos.

    1. friendlytm says:

      Thank you for visiting this post.

I appreciate your comments

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