An Ancient Largest Temple: Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is matchless combination of the temple mountain. It is the largest monument in the world. Angkor Wat mean “capital monastery”. It is also known as “Nokor Wat” but it’s proper name is “Prasat Angkor War”. It is one of the most famous ancient temples in world. It is Cambodia’s best-known tourist attraction. Angkor Wat is known for its beautiful architecture and reliefs. Nobody knows its original name. It is still unknown..!! But it may have been known as “Varah Vishnu-lok” after the presiding deity. If we prepare list of top ten cool archaeological sites, then Angkor Wat is top in the list.
Angkor Wat is locating in Angkor, Siem Reap, and Province, Cambodia. Angkor was the once largest city in the world and more than a million people lived there. The city had an area of more than 78 sq km and was surrounded by a water-filled moat. It was abandoned in about AD 1100. Angkor Wat was first Hindu then Buddhist temple in Cambodia. It was built by Khmer King Suryavarman II (ruled 1113 – c. 1150) in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura which was the capital of the Khmer Empire as his state temple and last mausoleum. Baphuon, which is an area of Cambodia where there is an important group of ancient structures. It is the southernmost of Angkor’s main sites. Initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of SuryavarmanII. After the king’s death the work of building temple is stuck. After 27 years later about 1177, Angkor was sacked by the Chams who was the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Then after some years Angkor was restored by a new King Jayavarman VII who established state temple and a new capital. The new temples were established by Jayavarman VII are as follow: 1. Angkor Thom 2. Bayon
In 12th century Khmer architect are famous for their skill and confident. Most of them used
sandstone in construction work at that time. The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar with very tight joints that are sometimes hard to find. They use laterite for outer wall and for hidden structural part. Angkor Wat is perfect example of this. They use sandstone in the Angkor Wat. They carried out sandstone from Mount Kulen which is approximately 25 miles (40 km) far from the Angkor Wat. So they use animals for transportation they use some animals like unicorns, griffins, winged dragons, elephants, etc. But there was Siem Reap River in their way so they use rafts for cross it.
According to some legend, the construction of Angkor Wat was order by God “Indra” to act
as a place for his son Precha Ket Mealea. In 13th century according to a Chinese traveller, it was believed by some of that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect. In the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the still today. Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never completely abandoned. Angkor Wat has moat it provide some protection from encroachment by the jungle.
The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture, which received major influence from Kalinga architecture, it has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors. If we saw the temple from far we find 3 big temples sated together. We find some holes in temple they have been decorated with bronze steel. So it is perfect place for robber to make money. So it was often targeted by them in ancient time. Anyway, let’s go ahead. The temple is represent of Mount Meru, which is known as the home of the gods the central quincunx of towers symbolises the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moat the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean. The outer wall of Angkor Wat is 1024 by 802 m and it has 4.5 m height. The outer wall encloses a space of 820,000 square metres (203 acres).
There was a war between Cambodia and France in 19th century. In the war France took many precious things with them on 11 August 1863. After 90 years Cambodia got independence in 1953. So in this time they damage in Angkor Wat. After that Angkor Wat was interrupted in Civil War and in Khmer Rouge control during the 1970s to 1980s. But little damage was done in that period. So, Angkor Wat requires restoration in 20th century.
The Archaeological Survey of India carried out restoration work on the temple between 1986 and 1992. The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other things which decorate the temple from damage. According to the organization survey, because of natural erosion 20% of devatas were in poor condition. Then they repair many collapsed things. Buttressed was repaired by scaffolding in 2002. Japanese team completed restoration work of the north library of the outer enclosure in 2005. They restore many things but the work of main phase ended in 2012. Microbial bio-film was founded degrading sandstone at Angkor Wat, Bayon, West Prasat and Preah Khan in Angkor. They also found there is a major problem of radiation and dehydration. It produces some type of acid which is harmful for sandstone…!!
The number of tourists visiting Angkor Wat each year is dramatically increasing. Approx 2 million foreign visitor visit Angkor Wat every year. So, Cambodian government collect much money from it. Tourism has also provided some additional funds for maintenance—as of 2000 approximately 28% of ticket revenues across the whole Angkor site were spent on the temples—although most work is carried out.
One of the first Western visitors to the temple was António da Madalena,
a Portuguese priest who visited in 1586 and said that it “is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of.” In the mid-19th century the temple was visited by the French naturalist, Henri Mouhot, who popularised the site in the West through the publication of travel notes. Angkor Wat took place in UNESCO.The temple is part of the Angkor World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has the Cambodian government to protect the site. We always heard that the Angkor Wat is a 7th wonder of world.
So what you think that Angkor Wat’s speciality, magnificence survive for long time? Sometimes I was thinking like that there was a huge stone used in site but my question is how animals carried that stone? And how the raft carries away the stone? Are they used any special technology? How could possible this type of architecture? Were they took any type of alien help? Because Angkor Wat constructed in ancient time…!!!