Angkor-Wat means “Temple City” or “City of Temples” as in Khmer, the Cambodian language, Angkor means “city” or “capital city”, and Wat means “temple grounds”. So 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 is the largest religious building / temple in the world.

Larger than any other temple in Asia, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, or St. Peter’s Basilica. It is only one of a thousand temples in the Angkor region in Rome. Its design is so remarkable that some consider it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Angkor Wat is located in what is now Cambodia’s 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 were built, so they created a story about them.

They said the temple was built by God in ancient times. Some people said they were built by giants.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. In the end, some European adventurers heard stories about the Lost Forest City, but most people did not believe them.

Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination

                                                                                                                                                           Ariel view of Angkor-Wat

In 1860, Frenchman Henri Mahut became the first European to see Angkor. Mahout was in the Cambodian jungle looking for plant species unknown in France. Soon the locals told him about the “temples that giants built in the forest”. Mahut was curious, so he hired local guides and began researching temples.

Other explorers in front of him searched but found nothing. The mahout was lucky. He found the city and its magnificent temple. He spent three weeks painting the temple. It is now called Angkor Wat, which means “temple of the city”. I don’t know what the builder called it.

Unfortunately, Mahout died of fever in the jungle at age 35. His diary and paintings were brought to France, where people began to take an interest in this place. Immediately a visitor came to see it. Among them was Anna Leonowens, King Siam’s British Governor. Others have come to steal the relics.

Historians and archaeologists have learned more about this ancient city and its temples.

Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination

Inscriptions on the wallsof Angkor-Wat

Archaeologists and historians were fortunate because the walls of the temple were covered with inscriptions to tell 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. A thousand years ago, Angkor was the capital of an empire that spanned parts of present-day Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The city of Angkor was once home to about a million people. The city was founded in the ninth century and abandoned in the fifteenth.

Angkor Wat was built 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 home 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 Hindu deities. The temple has a series of towers, the highest of which is 213 feet (65 meters) high. It is the largest and most beautiful temple of all Angkor buildings.

Built in the style of Khmer architecture. It was made of sandstone blocks, using nearly 5 million tonnes of sandstone, which was carried about 23 miles (40 km) to the site. The stone was installed in a very accurate and skilled condition without the use of cement. For example, you have a corridor that is 660 feet (201 meters) long and your measurements are less than an inch accurate.

Constructing the building required 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants for 35-37 years, but one modern engineer used common tools to build such an accurate and detailed building. It is said that it will take 300 years to build Angkor Wat at that time because it is impossible.

Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination

All its surfaces have carvings showing gods, people and animals, as well as armies and battles. The walls also tell us about the life of the ancient Angkor people. They grow rice and fish. They needed vast quantities of rice to supply the city’s 1 million inhabitants and the Empire’s army. They grow rice by building a system of waterways for the huge paddy fields.


We do not know why Angkor was deserted. Some say that the Khmer people were distracted by the buildings and that the enemy came and hijacked the city. For whatever reason, around 1430, Thais attacked Angkor and took them away as slaves.

Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond Imagination

Lord Vishnu idol inside the Temple

The city was abandoned, but the temple remained. Originally built as a Hindu temple (for Sir Vishnu), it later became a Buddhist temple. For 400 years, Buddhist monks lived there and stopped the jungle from occupying 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 date, the huge roots and trunks of trees are crushing ancient stones.

Angkor-Wat: A Temple Beyond ImaginationIn the 1990s, art historian Dr. Eleanor Maneka researched the mysteries of Angkor Wat. She measured the temple structure in detail and used the same unit of measurement as the Khmer builders, the hat. This is equal to the distance from the person’s elbow to the tip of the middle finger.

According to Mannikka, the measurements formed a code that records the cycles of the sun and moon and important dates in Khmer history. She also noticed that the temple was designed to take advantage of the sun’s rays, which hit important sculptures. The sunshine will hit an important sculpture on an important religious day.

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 is a symbol of Cambodia. The flag rarely has an image of a building, but the Cambodian flag has Angkor Wat. It is also a major attraction for tourists visiting this 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

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