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The Secrets of Angkor Wat – Facts about Angkor Wat

The temple of Angkor Wat is one of the most spectacular temples in the World and One of the most amazing landmarks in Asia. It was built during the Khmer Empire in Cambodia and formed part of a group that includes over 900 other temples. It’s believed that some parts of this temple were constructed in the 12th century around 900 years ago! The temple’s features include a moat, high walls, and towering gates to keep out intruders.

We visited the Angkor Wat complex while enjoying a family holiday in Cambodia.

The Secrets of Angkor Wat – Facts about Angkor Wat

facts about Angkor Wat

The meaning behind the name – Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Khmer means ‘City of Temples’ and is also known as the temple of the city of gods.

The original name for the temple was Vrah Viṣṇuloka. It means “the sacred dwelling of Vishnu.”

Temple Angkor Wat dedicated to the God Vishnu

Largest religious structure

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It’s spread over 400 acres / 1.6 km², which makes it bigger than Vatican (the smallest country in the world)  

Outer walls measures about 3600 meters. And the moat around the temple is 5km meters long and 4 meters wide.

Blessing in Angkor Wat Buddhist Monks in Ankor Wat
Receiving Blessing in Angkor Wat

The temple was built during the Khmer Empire.

The Angkor Wat was built around 1110 – 1150 by King Suryavarman II, who was the ruler of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. To build it took over (or only) 30 -35 years and was built by an amazing 300k people and with the help of 6000 elephants.

It’s believed that during the 12th century AD, when this temple was built, Khmer Empire was near the peak of its power and influence.

City of Angkor -The Largest City

Angkor is considered the largest city in the world before the industrial revolution. It is estimated that about a million people lived there.

The Angkor Wat temple is featured on the Cambodian Flag. That is the only flag in the world with the building on it – more on Facts about Cambodia.

Design of Angkor Wat

It was designed with several levels, each level being higher than the one below it. Each level has four gates, and when viewed from above, these square points look like the surrounding moat. The lowest level is the outer wall and a moat filled with water.

The highest level, which is reached by climbing about 300 steep steps, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The entire structure has been built on raised earthworks to make it appear larger than its actual size.

It was designed to represent Mt Meru

This temple was designed to represent Mount Meru which is believed to be the center of the Hindu universe.

Angkor Wat was designed to act as an astronomical observatory.

Located 5.6 km to the southeast, Prasat Kuk Bangro is located to form a straight line with the Angkor Wat temple on the solstice day, leading towards the rising sun.

Angkor Wat is oriented towards West

Most of the Angkor Wat Complex are oriented to the east, but Angkor Wat is oriented to the west, a direction which Hindus associate with death.

Many scholars and archaeologists think that Suryavarman II wanted to use it as his funerary temple.

It’s part of a group that includes over 900 other temples

The Angkor Wat temple is just one of the many temples that make up the vast complex known as the Angkor Archaeological Park. There are actually over 900 other temples that form part of this complex!

Bayon

The Bayon is a temple with many faces sculpted on it from different directions, believed to represent the Buddhist god of compassion.

In Bayon, 216 stone faces look at visitors from 54 towers.

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is a large city built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century and was the new capital of the Khmer empire after Chams destroyed their old capital.

Ta Prohm

The Ta Prohm temple is the most photogenic place in Angkor and has been left untouched as it had been discovered being overgrown by trees to create a special atmosphere. It’s famous for its massive roots that almost look like the hands of a mythical creature, reaching out from the temple walls.

Angkor Wat temple is the setting for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in the film from 2011.

Unesco World Heritage Site

The Angkor Wat temple is a prime example of the culture and art of the Khmer Empire. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.

The history behind Angkor Wat rediscovery

Angkor: The kingdom of Khmer existed from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Situated in Southeast Asia from Burma to Vietnam. Angkor was a vast complex of cities, temple complexes, woodland and water reservoirs, covering ​​400 km2. When Portuguese missionaries arrived there in the 16th century, the empire’s capital practically did not exist anymore and the numerous inscriptions left did not explain the reasons for the fall of the kingdom. The city was abandoned by its inhabitants and forgotten for several hundred years. Today, Angkor is one of the most important landmarks in Asia and the most recognizable monument in the world.

Only in 1860, the French traveller Henri Mouhot, after three weeks of exploring the jungle, reached the stone city overgrown with lush vegetation.

He found the former capital of a mighty empire, which was only a legend for a European until now.

Best time to visit Angkor Wat

If you are planning a visit to Angkor, it’s best to do so during the dry season that runs from November till April. The rainy season may cause flooding as well as hinder one’s ability to move around the area because of water-logged roads and muddy pathways.

Main Landmark in Asia and Cambodia

This temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cambodia as it attracts people from all around the world. Millions of tourists visit this place each year. The history associated with this structure makes it even more intriguing for visitors who want to know about its past and present.

Angkor Wat vs Hindu Temple in India

In recent years, some facts have emerged that suggest a relationship between India and Cambodia. According to a study that was made in 2009, which analyzed facts about Angkor Wat temple, there is a similarity between the architecture of this place and Hindu temples in India.

Replica of Angkor Wat

Around 2012 Indian government decided to build a replica of Angkor Wat, but after the protest of the Cambodian Government, that idea was cancelled.

Practical facts

If you are planning to visit this place, it’s better to go there for at least two days before you can explore the many temples and attractions there.

There are professional guides in the place for you to ask for information from. The entrance fee per person is $37 – one-day entry, so better stock up on cash before going there.

Ticket prices valid in 2021

Visit Angkor Wat is quite pricy but trust me its worth every penny

  • USD 37 for a 2-day pass
  • USD 62 for the 5-day pass
  • USD 72 for the 10-day pass
  • Book tickets here

Facts about Angkor Wat – City of Temples – Pin it for later

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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