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Angkor Wat
Kingdom of Cambodia

Ak Yum (Hindu) is the earliest site at Angkor, located on the West Baray. It is of course historically important but sadly there are only a few stones remaining at the site.

The Roluos Group, named after the modern-day village of Roluos, where the site of the ancient Khmer civilization of Hariharalaya, which flourished in the late 9th and early 10th Centuries. These are the earliest temples in the Angkor area and their architecture reveals the beginning of the classic period Khmer art.

The funeral temple of Preah Ko (879 - Hindu) enjoys a quiet seeing. Enjoy the detailed decoration on its towers and see magnificent gods carved in sandstone.

Bakong temple mountains (881 - Hindu) was the center of the city of Hariharalaya. Built on an artificial mound, it has five levels representing the cosmic levels of Mount Meru. There are wonderful carvings on the false doors and lintels, and a modern-day Buddhist temple is located in part of the complex.

Lolei Temple (893 - Hindu) probably has the most exquisite carvings and inscriptions of the Roluos group. It was originally built in thecenter of a great pond, the waters of which supplied the city of Hariharalaya and irrigated the surrounding plains.

Bakheng Temple (late 9th Century - Hindu) is perched on top of a natural hill (Phnom) with steep stone steps leading up to each of four entrances. From this hill top temple, there are spectacular views over Angkor Wat and, on clear days, far into the surrounding countryside.

Phnom Krom (late 9th Century - Hindu) is at the top of some steep steps up a hill, commanding spectacular views of Tonle Sap.

10TH CENTURY

Prasat Thma Bay Kaek (early 10th Century - Hindu) is a temple that surrounds the Bakheng. The only remains are the ruins of a square brick tower.

Prasat Bei (10th Century - Hindu) is a temple composed of 3 towers. Interesting carvings in the central tower representing Indra on the Elephant Airavata.

Prasat Kravan (921 - Hindu) feaures unique brick sculputures on the interio walls.

Baksei Chamrong (947 - Hindu) is a temple mountain of elegant proportions with some interesting carvings.

East Mebon (952 - Hindu) was once set on a small island in East Baray Lake, which was fed Siem Reap River. The lake is now dry and is used as rich farming land. East Mebon Temple features attractive decorations on false doors and lintels.

Bat Chum (953 - Hindu) This temple, built by the same architect who built the East Mebon, is composed of 3 brick towers in poor conditions. We can find nice sculptured colonnades and inscriptions.

Preah Rup (961 - Hindu) is architecturally dramatic and has great views from the top terrace. It was possibily used as a temple for funerals and cremations.

A favorite temple amongst visitors - the enchanting Banteay Srei (967 - Hindu). This temple was only discovered in 1914 and is small when compared to other monuments of Angkor. Inscriptions found at the temple indicated that a Brahim who was a spiritual teacher to Jayavarman V built it. This may account for the fact that it resembles its Indian models more cloesly than any other temple in Angkor. It appears that the temple was designed to leave no space undecorated, and fine decorative carvings are quite unique. Banteay Srei's intricate features are remarkably well preserved, carved in hard pink sandstone with scenes inspred by the Ramayana.

One of Angkor's great temple mountains is Takeo (end 10th Century - Hindu), which was built entirely of sandstone. Sadly Takeo was never completed but its start architectural design is striking.

Phimeanakas Temple (late 10th Century - Hindu, with additions made in 11th Century) was dedicated to Shiva and the kind worshipped here, within the Royal Palace enclosure. The Royal Palaces were made of wood and have of course perished but we can still see stone foundations and imagine the idyllic surroundings, with courtyards and ponds serving as Royal Baths. This temple is inside Angkor Thom complex.

11TH CENTURY

Baphuon Temple (1060 - Hindu) is undergoing extensive renovation and features some magnificent bas reliefs. This temple is inside the Angkor Thom complex.

A short boat ride on West Baray, which was probably built in the 11th Century and is the largest man-made pond (or reservior) at Angkor, takes us to an island where we can see traces of West Mebon Temple (late 11th Century - Hindu). Although little remains of this temple, it was here that a fabuous larger than life-zie bronze of Vishnu was found - this bronze can be seen in Phnom Penh's National Museum.

12TH CENTURY

Preah Pithu (late 12th Century - Hindu) despite its ruin state the temple presents good decorative carving. Situated in a wood this temple is attractive.

The most famous temple is magnificent Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece covers an area of about 210 hectares. It was constructed in the 12th Century by Suryavarman II, and dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. We will walk across the surrounding moat, through the west entrance and continue along a raised stone causeway for 250 meters to the main part of the temple. Three levels of rectangular or square platforms rise up to support five towers - one in each corner and one in the center of the third level. The top of the central tower measures 65 meters from ground level and symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. We will enjoy exploring the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. Intricately carved bas-reliefs extend the length of the outer walls and corridors, depicting mythologicl scenes and day-to-day life at the time at the time of Angkor's construction.

Thommanon (end 11th Century - Hindu) is oneof a pair of temples. It was renovated in the 1960s and is in much better condition than it's pair, Chau Say Tevoda.

Chau Say Tevoda (end 11th Century - Hindu) features detailed carvings, including female divinities in corner niches. It is a par with Thommaon.

Banteay Samre (mid 12th Century - Hindu) was extensively restored some 20 years ago, but now again needs maintainence. The elaborate architecture of this temple is in magnificent proportions, and it features exceptional carvings and a unique interior moat with laterite paving.

Ta Prohm Temple (1186 - Buddhist) is a favorite amongst visitors because it has become part of the jungle, with trees and roots twined around and through the stone monuments. Experts have strengthened the temple where necessary to avoid further deterioration but have left it in its natural state. Sanskrit inscriptions, carved in stone, have provided detailed statistics on the richness of Ta Prohm on its day.

The huge temple of Banteay Kdei (mid 12th Centruy - Buddhist) is in a poor state of repair but features very attractive carvings.

Srah Srang (end 12th Century - Buddhist) is a large pond, which always has some water in it. Steps lead down from a platform and this was a Royal bathing place.

The Royal City of Preah Khan was Buddhist and dates from 1191, with several Hindu shrines added in the 13th Century. A stone stela inscribed on four sides indicates that Preah Khan served as a monastery and teaching center. The City area covers 56 hectares and features fabulous carved stone lanterns, along with impressive carvings of gods, demons and gaurdas. The World Monuments Fund has extensively restored Preah Khan, but has intentionally left certain parts covered in jungle.

Neak Pean (late 12th Century - Buddhist) is a charming shrined built on a small circular island int he center of a 70 meters square man-made pond. Originally access was only by boat but the French built a walkway so that we can more easily admire the unique layout and decoration. Pilgrims used to go to Neak Pean to pray and bathe.

Ta Som (late 12th Century - Buddhist) is a fine example of how monuments are overtaken by nature if left unchecked.

The "Great City" of Angkor Thom was the Angkor era's last capital. It was probably more opulent than most European cities in the late 12th Century, possibly with a populations has large as 1 million people. Most of the Royal buildings were made of wood and have therefore perished.

Ta Nei (late 12th Century - Hindu) this Bayon style temple is located deep in the forest. The temple offers very nice and interesting pediments.

At the center of Angkor Thom is the famous Bayon Temple (late 12th Century - Buddhist) which was built almost 100 years later than Angkor Wat. This imposing stone Temple has 54 towers carved with over 200 enigmatic faces. The Bayon's inner and outer galleries are decorated with bas-reliefs recording events of the reign of Jayavarman VII, who was in power at the time the Temple was built.

Prasat Suour Prat (late 12th Century - Hindu) also called the Suor Prat Towers or "Towers of the Rope Dancers". It is an alignment of 12 identical towers with unknown function. The best way to appreciate these towers is to look at them from a certain distance.

Banteay Prei (late 12th Century - Hindu) - no indication.

Kol Kro (late 12th Century - Hindu) is a small temple in the style of the Bayon. There is no particular interst for a visit.

Ta Prohm Kei (1186 - Hindu) is a small ruined sandstone monument. The decoration is in the style of the Bayon.

The Terrace of the Elephants (end 12th Century - Buddhist) is over 300 metres long. The facade of this huge terrace is carved with elephants, horses, lions, garudas, sacred geese and naga balustrades.

The Terrace of the Leper King (end 12th Century - Buddhist) has dramatic bas reliefs on both its interior and extrior walls. It is named after the statue on a platform above the terrace - although some say the statue is the god Yama and not the Leper King.

 

 
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