At the Center of the Universe, ANGKOR WAT
An Approach to the Wonders of the Temple
Angkor Wat was built under the reign of Suryavarman II (1113 – 1150) and it is the biggest temple of the Angkor civilization. It can be translated as City Temple and became a national emblem of Cambodia (the national flag represents three of its central towers). The complex is located six kilometers (3.72 miles) at the north of Siem Riep downtown and one kilometer (0.62 miles) at the south of Angkor Thom.
|Coordinates||13°24’45’’ North 103°52´0´´ East|
|Location||3.6 miles (6 kilometers) North of Siem Riep downtown.|
|Period of building||About 1113 and 1150 (the reign period of the King)|
|Architecture||Khmer or Angkor style (original)|
|Religion||Hindu honoring Vishnu.|
|Minimum time of visit||Three hours with a guide.|
|Area||2.2 miles sq. (3.6 kilometers).|
|Structure||Rectangular galleries: Moat, two levels and central sanctuary.|
The Cambodian flag represents three of the most emblematic towers of Angkor Thom.
Angkor Wat is a square of 210 hectares. Its whole structure represents Mount Meru in the Hindu traditions, the Sacred Mountain that is considered the center of the universe and the home of Lord Brahma and the Devas. The central tower is 65 meters (213 feet) hight. It was built to honor Vishnu, one of the five primary forms of God according to the Bhagavad Gita. The galleries are especially meaningful because they represent scenes of the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana. There are also inscriptions from the Hindu and Buddhist time of the temple.
|Mouth||Surrounding the temple.|
|Causeway||The main entrance from the East to the center.|
|Outer wall||It is the first wall surrounded by the mouth. It contents the entrance to the tower at its East.|
|Two libraries||Immediately after the entrance at both sides of the causeway.|
|Two basins||After the libraries, at both sides of the causeway.|
|Terrace of honor||Presiding the entrance to the first level.|
|Inside the First Level||Hall of echoes; Gallery of the One Thousand Buddha (Preah Poan) that belongs to the Buddhist time of the temple; cross-shaped galleries and two libraries (at north and south of the east side of the level).|
|Inside the Second Level||Two libraries at the south and north of the east side of the level).|
|Inside the Third Level||The Central Sanctuary. During the Hindu period of the temple there was a huge statue of Vishnu.|
The name of the designer of the temple is obscure. Dawn Rooney (Angkor, 2004, p. 125) says that some scholars believe that it was the Brahman Divakarapandita, minister of King Suryavarman II, according to inscriptions. The Cambodian legends attribute the construction to Visvakarman, the divine architect of the universe of the Lord of Creation in Hinduism.
A drawing of my dear friend Luis Haro from Uruguay about Angkor Wat. I asked him to do something to promote the protection of the temples. It is a great art, as everything from him…