Angkor Wat: one of the wonder of World
Authors, photographers and painters have described Angkor Wat to the fullest of their imagination as architecturally and artistically breathtaking. Angkor Wat has been said to represent microcosm of the Hindu universe with its five peaks symbolising Mount Meru – the house of the gods and the divines. To the King himself, Angkor Wat represents power and divinity.
Century of temple construction starting from the early 6th century brick temple of Sambor Prei Kuk in Kompong Thom to the oldest temple mountain Ak Yum in the Angkor area in the late 8th century and to the 9th century Lolei at Rolous plus many more temples and centuries later, Suryavarman II in the 12th century had perfected the art of temple construction with his show piece of Angkor Wat – the sheer size and the balance of time and space plus its unrivaled beauty. The architecture of Angkor Wat has been said to reach its peak of classical Khmer construction.
Angkor Wat is a three-tiers galleries styled pyramid having quincunx towers with its central tower raised 65 meters above ground. Unlike other mountain temples Angkor Wat was constructed from man made mountain. It was a city temple with the royal palace and city within its wall-all made from perishable materials. The temple precinct surrounded by a moat and exterior wall measuring 1300 meters by 1500 meters with the large causeway 12 meters in width leading from western side 250 meters across the moat and follow by another causeway 350 meters long and 10 meters in width to Angkor proper.
Cambodia and Khmer people
Angkor Wat: one of the wonders of the world!
In the words of Claude Jacques, "It is an architectural masterpiece of the finest proportions and rich in details-the apogee of the classical Khmer construction"
In the word of Henri Mouhot, "One of these temples - a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michael Angelo - might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and present a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged."
In the words of Eleanor Mannika, "a brilliant example of the synthesis of astronomy and architecture at Angkor Wat".
Marilia Albanese wrote "At the height of its power the Khmer Empire produced the perfect building, making manifest the dream of paradise on earth and giving mankind a masterpiece of supreme beauty".
- Covers the total area of almost 200 hectares - a rectangle surrounded by a moat and an exterior wall measuring 1300 meters x 1500 meters.
- The western causeways is 12 meters in width and 250 meter in length across 190 meters moat flanked by naga balustrade
- The laterite outer wall is 1025 meters by 802 meters and 4.5 meters high
- The inner causeway is 350 meters long and 10 meters in width leading from western entrance gopura/portico to the temple proper with naga balustrades sitting on square stone block and six steps leading down to the city ground.
- Half-way along the causeway there are two libraries one on each side of the causeway measuring 40 meters by 6 meters
- Further down the causeway there are two ponds one on each side of the causeway measuring 65 meters by 50 meters
- The temple stands in the middle terrace measuring 332 meters by 258 meters and raised about 0.9 meters above ground access by 3 staircases on each side
- The actual temple divided into three stories each surrounded by galleries
- The outer or third gallery measuring 215 meters by 187 meters supported by 600 meters of 2 meters high narrative bas-relief (refer below)
- The second galleries measuring 115 meters by 100 meters supported by the famous crossed-shaped cloister with three parallel corridors leading from western entrance of the third gallery and crossed by a corridor parallel to the third and the second gallery wall creating four water reservoirs for temple ceremonies.
- There are also two libraries withing the area between the second and the third gallery
- The inner gallery is a square with the base measuring 75 meters on each side and raised 11 meters above the second level, on each corner stand a tower
- The central tower rise 43 meters to a height of 65 meters above ground level with its base 60 meters square
- In all there are 12 towers, there are seven other tower beside the central quincunx towers.
- Angkor Wat was never really forgotten, it was turned into a Buddhist monastery and continues to be a place of worship.
- Capuchin friar Antonio da Magdaena visited Angkor Wat between 1558 and 1585.
- The oldest map of Angkor Wat was drawn between 1623 and 1636 by Japanese pilgrim.
- French missionary, Charles Emile Bouillevaux stayed at Angkor for two day in 1850.
- Henri Mouhot rediscovered Angkor Wat in 1858 and his letters and notebooks were published, followed by his book in 1863.
- A representation of microcosm of the Hindu universe with its five peaks symbolising Mount Meru, which associated with facing west.
- Its original name was Prasat Paramavishnuloka, the 16th century inscription name was Preah Mohanokor Indrabrat Preah Vishnuloka and in a 17th century inscription the name was Indrabratnokor Sreisodhara.
- Khmer living in the area called it Angkor Toch (small Angkor) and Angkor Wat was also called as it refers to this Buddhist holy place.
- The Khmers attribute the building of Angkor Wat to the divine architect Visakarman.
Built by King Suryavarman II and took thirty-seven year to complete.
- The European authors decided on a common name of Angkor Wat.
- On the wall of the third gallery hall there are 600 meters of bas-relief 2 meters high with the scenes from:
1). Battle of Kurukshetra
2). Epic Ream Ke
3). Army of King Suryavarman II
4). Heavens and Hell (37 Heavens and 32 Hells)
5). Churning of the Ocean Milk (92 Asuras and 88 Devas holding onto the serpent Vasuki with Vishnu in control in the middle)
6). Victory of Vishnu over the Asuras
7). Victory of Krishna over Bana
8). Battle of Deva abd Asuras
9). Battle of Lanka
- Within the 115 meters and 100 meters of the second level-enclosure, there may have been originally flooded to represent the ocean around Mount Meru.
- The Angkor complex placement was of a terrestrial principal - the mirrors of the stars in the constellation of Draco at the spring equinox in 10,500BC.
- The legend of Ket Mealea.
- The largest religious structure in the World.
- From west gopura between the outer gallery and the second enclosure, a cruciform cloister known as Preah Poan (the "Hall of a Thousand Buddhas) and between the cloisters are four small court yards which may have been filled with water.