What you have to know if you visit the temples of Angkor in Cambodia.

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| 8 enero, 2021 | 0 Comments

It’s hard not to feel like a tourist in Siem Reap, a small Cambodian town whose name may not mean anything to less seasoned travelers.

It is actually one of the most visited in the world, especially by backpackers and collectors of world wonders, although none of them expressly go to it, but to the nearby temples of Angkor.

The Angkor Wat temple is considered the largest religious construction ever built. Located in the province of Siem Riep, in Cambodia, it is one of the integral parts of a vast complex of temples built in the area of ​​Angkor, which was once the capital of the Khmer empire.

The work, dating from the 12th century, has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1992.

Angkor Wat, the eighth wonder of the world.

Built by Suryavarman II (1112-1150) it is one of the most brilliant monuments conceived by the human mind. It has 800 meters of bas-reliefs and a 55 meter tower, which gives the whole a sublime unity. Angkor is famous for its alluring apsaras (divine nymphs).

There are almost 2,000 carvings on the walls, each with a unique motif and 37 different hairstyles. The mix of spirituality and symmetry is amazing.

Angkor Thom and Bayon, enigmatic faces.

The great walled city of Angkor Thom is of a manageable size (10 square kilometers) and contains some of the most spectacular temples in the region, shaded under the forest that covers them.

Accessing this majestic sanctuary via alternate paths is a good way to dodge the crowds and take in some of the lesser-known temples.

Angkor Thom (big city) is more beautiful than Angkor Wat. It was the last great capital of the Khmer empire and its construction raised the bar for the complexity of monuments.

Bayon is the heart of Angkor Thom, embodying the creative ingenuity, the ego of the most famous Cambodian king, Jayavarman VII. They call it the temple of faces and it is unique for its architectural daring.

Beng Mealea, sleeping giant of the jungle

We arrive at one of the most spectacular temples, beyond Angkor, because of how nature has taken possession of it and surrounds it. It is the great giant of the jungle and is almost the size of Angkor Wat, but has been engulfed by climbing plants. A special place, with charming satellite temples.

Banteay Srei, the art gallery of Angkor.

It is famous for its little pink temple, but there is much more to Bantreay Srei than its iconic Angkor-style monuments such as the River of a Thousand Lingas at Kbal Spean and the 22nd century temple of Banteay Samré.

Banteay Srei is one of the few temples that was built not by a king but by a Brahmin (priest), yet many consider it the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art.

Roulos, the ancient capital of Angkor

The Roulos monuments hosted the Khmer capital during Indravarman I’s reign, Harihara, in the 9th century. Among the large-scale temples, Bakong stands out, the largest of all, with a central pyramid flanked by eight brick and stone towers, various smaller sanctuaries.

The complex, surrounded by three concentric walls, is located 13 kilometers east of Siem Reap, so it can be easily reached by bike from the city.

In this area, several social initiatives have also emerged, such as an artisan weaving center that produces silk and cotton scarves using traditional looms, or a workshop that makes scale replicas of the main temples.

Preah Khan, Buddhism and Hinduism

This shrine is one of the largest in the Angkor complex; a maze of corridors, sophisticated carvings and lichen-covered stones.

It is a true fusion temple, with an entrance dedicated to Mahayana Buddhism with two equal doors and the other cardinal points dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, with their doors getting smaller and smaller.

Phnom Kulen, the holy mountain

Place of pilgrimage on weekends and holidays, Phom Kulen played an important role in the history of the Khmer empire, being there where Jayavarman II proclaimed himself devaraja (King God) in the year 802, giving rise to the creation of the kingdom of Cambodia.

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Category: Asia, Cambodia, Monuments, Natural landscapes, Place of interest

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