Friday, 28 November 2014

Siem Reap Part 5: City of Temples

Here's the continuation of my Siem Reap adventure with Fairview School. Day 4 saw me making use of my Angkor World Heritage pass.

Angkor Wat lies 5.5 kilometres north of the modern town of Siem Reap. We woke up very early and got to Angkor Wat by 4.30am for the sunrise. It was simply breath taking.

According to wikipedia, Angkor Wat means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer. Angkor, which means "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara. Wat is the Khmer word for "temple grounds".

Here's some history bits from wikipedia:
"According to one legend, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra to act as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea.[4] According to the 13th century Chinese traveler Daguan Zhou, it was believed by some that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect.[5]

The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113 – c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as "Varah Vishnu-lok" after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished.[6] In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few kilometres to the north.

In the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day. Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never completely abandoned, its preservation being due in part to the fact that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the jungle.[7]"

Read more about the Fairview International School expedition here:

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