Those are the words of a man who needs no introduction. Today let’s take a trip down the memory lane for the largest religious monument in the world. Angkor Wat, temple of Cambodia. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in 12th Century. The word Angkor Wat means “Temple City”, in Khmer. Siem Reap is the largest city and capital of Khmer, and the temple is situated there. The design of the Angkor Wat temple is made is such a way which represent Mount Meru, the home of Devas and Brahma in Hindu mythology. The temple is consists of an extensive three level pyramid which is amid by water and stands on a floating rectangular piece of land. Angkor Wat temple is roughly 1,000,000 km high; this kind of description can be found in Javanese legends and in numerous other mythologies around the world.
A Portuguese monk Antonio da Madalena, who visited Angkor Wat in 1586, “Is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of.”
And also Henri Mouhot the French explorer once wrote about Angmar Wat as, “One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged.”
A discrete feature of Angkor Wat, it is comprises portraits of 1796 women in stone at the centre of the city. The portraits are outstanding in their own way. Archaeologists are still baffled, what is the purpose of these women’s are. Though one thing is very evident that these portraits are important or else they would have not been, found a place in the world’s most largest religious monument in the world.
There is myth regarding the construction of the monument, that it was used for astronomical purposes. Depiction from Mahabharata could be found in the premises of the Angkor Wat temple in eight distinct panels. And also it is suggested that it is constructed in such a way which will bring peace in the universe. Furthermore Graham Hancock a British expertise in monuments and ancient civilizations has coined the fact that Angkor Wat is a rendition of the constellation Draco.
Hollywood movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was shot in Angkor Wat, which grossed 350 million in the box office. Angelina Jolie had a temple named after her in there, which is called “The Angelina Jolie Temple”. The president of universal society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed said “It’s a 12th-century site called Ta Prohm; it is otherwise known as Old Brahma and was initially named Rajavihara or the royal monastery”
Angkor Wat, has become the major tourist attraction in Cambodia nowadays, sharply there are 5lac to 6lac tourist visits there who are not local. The Angkor Wat temple is managed by the group SOKIMEX ever since it rented it from the Cambodian govt. in 1990. A very insignificant amount of the money which is collected from the earnings of the tickets which is being sold is used in the construction purposes of the Angkor Wat temple.
As mentioned earlier many portraits can be found all over the Angkor Wat temple. In the east gallery of the Angkor Wat temple we can find portraits which are believed to be obtained from the Indian religious book Bhagavat-Puran. As it says famously it contains the Amrita which was heaved from the ocean of milk by Gods and demons. And also Angkor Wat temple contains a group of nine Gods:
• Surya in a chariot pulled by horses
• Kubera standing on the shoulders of a Yaksa
• Brahma riding a goose
• Skanda on a peacock
• An unidentified god on a horse
• Indra on a three-headed elephant
• Yama riding a buffalo
• Siva on a bull
• An unidentified god on a lion
May Angkor Wat never fail to elude us as ever? Amen to that thought. And it keeps showering blessings to the every living soul.