Angkor Wat: Facts and History
- The Hindu temple ruin of Angkor Wat is the largest single religious building in the world.
- The ancient city of Angkor used to be a capital of the ancient Khmer Empire in Cambodia.
- The temple complex is the symbol of modern Cambodia and adorns the national flag of Cambodia.
- Angkor Wat means ‘City of Temples’ or simply ‘City Temple.’
- The temple complex was destroyed by the Siamese troops in 1431. Still, today Angkor ruins stretch over more than 400 square kilometres.
- The Angkor Wat Temple was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II in the honour of Hindu god Vishnu.
- After Cambodia converted from the Hindu faith to Buddhism in the late 13th century, the temple was also converted for Buddhist use.
- The bricks of the temple complex were joined together by vegetable compounds instead of mortar.
- Angkor Wat is oriented to the west, unlike most of the other Cambodian temples that face east. This was done on purpose because the west direction in Hindu religion represents death. It is for this reason that Angkor Wat is also known as the ‘funeral’ temple.
- It was built to preserve the king’s ashes. So, you see the purpose of this complex was the same as that of the pyramids of Egypt.
- Frenchman Henri Mouhot discovered this enigmatic temple complex in 1860. At that time the natives of the Cambodian jungle were not sure who had built it. They thought that it could have been built by gods, or even by giants!
- The blockbuster movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed there.
- Angkor Wat is a UNESCO world heritage site.
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