Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Category: Rest of the World
Published on 12 June 2014 Hits: 1098

Angkor Wat (Khmerអង្គរវត្ត) was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia and the largestreligious monument in the world.Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture which got major influence from Kalinga architectural style.[1] It has become a symbol of Cambodia,[2] appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

According to one legend, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra to act as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea.[6] According to the 13th century Chinese travelerDaguan Zhou, it was believed by some that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect.[7]

The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113 – c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as "Varah Vishnu-lok" after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-reliefdecoration unfinished.[8] In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new king,Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few kilometres to the north.