Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp

In Khmer,the Cambodian language,Angkor means “city” or “capital city”, and Wat means “temple grounds”. So Angkor Wat means “Temple City” or “City of Temples”. The original name of Angor Wat was “ Vrah Vishnulok” or “ Param Vishnulok” meaning “The Sacred Dwelling of Lord Vishnu” in Sanskrit.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Angkor-Wat

Angkor Wat is the biggest religious building/temple in the world. It is bigger than any other temple in Asia, the Great Pyramid in Egypt, or St. Peter’s in Rome, and it is only one of a thousand temples in the Angkor region. Its design is so remarkable that some people regard it as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Angkor Wat is located in present-day Cambodia, in Southeast Asia.

Angkor was long covered by dense jungle and was a forgotten place for many centuries. Wandering Buddhist monks sometimes passed by the temples on their way through the jungle. They didn’t know how these magnificent temples had been built, so they made up stories about them. They said the temples had been built by gods in an ancient time. Some people said they had been built by giants. These legends eventually reached other places. Some Asians went in search of this mysterious city of the gods. Eventually some European adventurers heard the stories about the lost city of the jungle, but most people didn’t believe them.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

                                                                                                                                                           Ariel view of Angkor-Wat

In 1860, Henri Mahout, a Frenchman, became the first European to see Angkor. Mahout was in the Cambodian jungle looking for plant species that were unknown in France. Soon, local people told him about “temples built by giants in the jungle.” Mahout was curious, so he hired local guides and started to look for the temples. Other explorers before him had searched but had never found anything. Mahout was lucky. He found the city and its magnificent temple. He spent three weeks drawing the temple. It is now called Angkor Wat, which means “city temple.” We do not know what its builders called it.

Unfortunately, Mahout died of fever in the jungle at age 35. His diaries and drawings were taken to France where people began to be curious about this place. Soon visitors came to see it. Among them was Anna Leonowens, the British governess to the king of Siam.Other people came to steal artifacts. Historians and archeologists came to find out more about this ancient city and its temples.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Inscriptions on the wallsof Angkor-Wat

The archeologists and historians were lucky because the walls of the temple were covered with inscriptions to tell us the story. These inscriptions were written in Sanskrit, an ancient language that greatly influenced Cambodian. They tell us that the builders of Angkor Wat were the ancestors of today’s Cambodians. One thousand years ago, Angkor was the capital of an empire that covered parts of present-day Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. About a million people lived in the city of Angkor at one time. The city was founded in the ninth century and was abandoned by the fifteenth.

Angkor Wat was build as a symbolic representation of Mount Meru. Mount Meru, in Hindu Mythology, is the sacred five peaked mountain standing in the Center of the Universe. It is said that Mount Meru was the abode of Gods.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Angkor Wat was built in the twelfth century at the peak of the empire’s wealth and power. It was built for King Suryavarman II as his royal temple and dedicated to the Hindu gods. The temple includes a series of towers, the highest of which is 213 feet (65 meters) high. It is the largest and most beautiful temple of all the buildings of Angkor. It is built in the style of Khmer architecture. It was made of sandstone blocks and almost five million tons of sandstone were used and that were carried about 23 miles (40 km) to the site. The stones were fitted together with extreme accuracy and skill, with no cement being used. For example, there is a 660-foot-long (201 meters) corridor with measurements accurate to a fraction of an inch. The building took 35–37 years, 300,000 labourers and 6000 elephants to build, but one modern engineer has said that it would take 300 years to build Angkor Wat at that time as it is impossible to build such precise and detailed architecture with common tools.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination) Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination) Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

All of its surfaces have carvings that show gods, men, and animals, as well as armies and battles. The walls also tell us about the lives of the ancient people of Angkor. They grew rice and fished. They needed a lot of rice for the 1 million residents of the city and for the empire’s armies. They grew rice by making a system of waterways for their huge rice fields.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

We do not know why Angkor was deserted. Some people think there was a famine. Some say that the Khmer people were so distracted with building that their enemies came and took over the city. Whatever the reason, around 1430, the Thai people attacked Angkor and took away its people as slaves.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Lord Vishnu idol inside the Temple

The city was abandoned, but the temple remained. Although originally built as a Hindu temple(For Lord Vishnu), it later became a Buddhist temple. For 400 years, Buddhist monks lived there and stopped the jungle from taking over the temple. Although they cleared the thick brush around the roofs, walls, and courtyards, they could not take away the trees that were centuries old. To this day the trees’ enormous roots and trunks are breaking apart the ancient stones.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

In the 1990s, art historian Dr. Eleanor Mannikka looked into the mysteries of Angkor Wat. She measured the temple’s structure in detail and used the same unit of measure as the Khmer builders, which was the hat. This equaled the distance from a person’s elbow to the tip of the middle finger. According to Mannikka, the measurements formed a code recording the cycles of the sun and moon and important dates in the history of the Khmer. She also noticed that the temple was designed so as to make use of the sun’s rays falling on important carvings. The sun’s rays would fall on an important carving on important religious days. Mannikka believes that the designs of the temple were very special and were meant to protect its people, although many specialists do not believe her theories. There are other theories, too. Perhaps one day we will know.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Cambodian flag

Today Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia. It is rare for a flag to have an image of a building, but Angkor Wat appears on Cambodia’s national flag. It is also the main attraction for tourists visiting the country. Angkor Wat was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992, which means that it has outstanding cultural or natural importance to the entire world and that it should be protected for all time.

Angkor-Wat (A Temple Beyond Imagination)

Satellite view of Angkor-Wat

Sharing Is Karma

Share on facebook
Share
Share on twitter
Tweet
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on telegram
Telegram
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp

Lekh लेख

• 18 hours ago
परमात्मा की बनाई इस सृष्टि को कई अर्थों में अदृभुत एवं विलक्षण कहा जा सकता है । एक विशेषता इस सृष्टि की यह है कि...

Share now...

• 1 day ago
 पर्यावरण से हमारा जीवन जुड़ा हुआ है और पर्यावरण में ही पंचतत्व ( पृथ्वी, जल, अग्नि, वायु और आकाश) समाहित हैं, जिनसे मिलकर हमारा शरीर...

Share now...

• 2 days ago
वर्तमान दुनिया बहुत हल्के लोगों के हाथों में है ! हल्के लोग राष्ट्राध्यक्ष बने हुए हैं, हल्के लोग धर्माधीश.. !! हल्के लोगों के हाथों में...

Share now...

• 3 days ago
Today we have not yet recovered even a quarter of the deeper meaning of the Vedic mantras, much less find the Vedic mantras explained in...

Share now...

• 4 days ago
  व्यक्ति के जीवन में परिवार की भूमिका बहुत ही महत्त्वपूर्ण होती है । परिवार में रहकर ही व्यक्ति सेवा, सहकार, सहिष्णुता आदि मानवीय गुणों...

Share now...

• 5 days ago
Garuda, a very popular character in the history of Sanatana Dharma. I think there was no one in Sanatana Dharma who didn’t admire Bhagwan Garuda...

Share now...