The world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu monument in world. A completely realized microcosm of the Hindu universe, culminating in the five peaks of the Mount Meru. Architectural masterpiece in fine proportion and rich in detail, the apogee of classical Khmer construction. Some 600m of narrative bas-relief and nearly 2000 Apsaras.

The scale of Angkor Wat enabled the Khmer to give full expression to the religious symbolism. it is, above all else, a microcosm of the Hindu universe.The moat represents the mythical¬† oceans surrounding the earth and succession of the concentric galleries represent the mountain ranges that surround the Mount Meru, the home of the gods. The towers represent the mountain’s peaks, and the experience of the ascent to the central shrine is, maybe intentionally, a fairly,convincing imitation of climbing a real mountain.Angkor wat at night 9

Much has been made of Angkor wat’s orientation-facing west rather than the much more usual east and this has attracted a number of explanation. The most likely is that the temple was dedicated to Vishnu,¬† sometimes¬† associated with the west. The importance of orientation to the west depends very much on how unusual it is considered to be-how abrupt a break with tradition. Other temples that break with the tradition of facing east are notably Phimai in northeast of Thailand, Which face southwest, and Preah vihear which faces north. At Angkor, two of the Preah Pithu temples face west as does the Vishnu temple at Preah Khan.

The pan of Angkor Wat is difficult to grasp when walking through the monument because of its enormity. Its complexity and beauty both attract and distract one’s attention. From a distance, Angkor Wat appear to be a colossal mass of stone on one level with a long causeway leading to center, but close up it is a series of elevated towers, covered galleries,chambers,porches and courtyards on different levels linked by stair ways.

Angkor at dawn