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ANGKOR WAT

The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonle Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern day Siem Reap (1324'N, 10351'E), and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world's largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. Visitor numbers approach two million annually.

Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 km (2.2 miles) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers.

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls.

In 2007 an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest preindustrial city in the world with an urban sprawl of 400 square miles. The closest rival to Angkor, the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, was roughly 50 square miles in total size.

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PHNOM BAKHENG

Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910 A.D.).

Located atop a hill, it is a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast. The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor.

Constructed more than two centuries before Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng was in its day the principal temple of the Angkor region. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital, Yasodharapura, that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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