Little Gem of the Month
In Cambodia you will find the temple complex of Angkor Wat. It is the largest religious monument in the world on a site measuring 402 acres. It was built as a Hindu temple which gradually changed to Buddhist towards the 21st century.
Sandstone blocks from which Angkor Wat was built were quarried from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, which is more than 50km away. They were floated down the Siem Reap River on rafts. The logistics of such an operation are mind blowing, consuming the labour of thousands. According to inscriptions, the construction of Angkor Wat involved 300,000 workers and 6000 elephants, yet it was still not fully completed.
Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer. The Temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture and has become a symbol of Cambodia appearing on its national flag, it is also one of the countries prime attractions for visitors, located just outside of Siem Reap.
Those visiting Angkor Wat are usually impressed by its imposing grandeur and, at close quarters, its fascinating decorative flourishes. Stretching around the outside of the central temple complex is an 800m-long series of intricate and astonishing bas-reliefs – carvings depicting historical events and stories from mythology.
Around Angkor Wat is a 190m-wide moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5km by 1.3km. From the west, a sandstone causeway crosses the moat.
You can visit Angkor Wat at any time of year, but the peak season is from November to February, when the weather is dry and cooler, but it’s still hot for most. The best time of day is sunrise when it’s cooler, but it can be crowded. It's a sight you will never forget and there are monks around to give that extra atmosphere. A must if visiting this part of the world.
Plan at least three hours to explore the whole complex, but more like half a day if you want to explore every nook and cranny.
All photos by kind permission of tourismcambodia.com