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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Exploring Indochina: Angkor Wat

We returned to Angkor Wat mid-afternoon to explore more of Angkor complex's most famous temple.


Just like a postcard :)
We entered through the southern tower where we were greeted by a statue of Vishnu to which the temple complex is dedicated to. 
It's kind of hard to see from the way I took this picture but it is claimed that this is the only devata in the temple showing her teeth.



The modern name Angkor Wat means "City Temple". Built by Suyavarman II in the first half of the 12th century; construction was halted after his death leaving some bas-relief unfinished. 
Angkor Wat follows the temple mountain architecture representing Mount Meru (home of the gods in Hindu mythology). The central quincunx symbolizes the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moat - the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean. 
One of four pools inside Angkor Wat representing the four elements. 
The very steep stairways represent the difficulty of ascending to the kingdom of the gods.


There was a long queue of people going up the towers. Unfortunately we were pressed with time so we had to skip this and went back to the outer gallery.

Adding to Angkor Wat's grandeur are its extensive bas-relief containing large scale scenes of episodes from Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. 
Parasols denote rank; the higher number of parasols, the higher the rank
The queen carried in a palanquin 

There were still a lot to be seen and my photos did not do justice to the intricacy of the carvings, but we had to bid Angkor Wat goodbye to end our day by watching the sun set in Phnom Bakheng.

K

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