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Angkor Wat. Distant view.

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Angkor Wat. Distant view.
12th cı13th c Cambodian Khmer Architecture

KHMER (ANGKOREAN) Anonymous (active c. 802 - c. 1450) Primary
c. 1100-1300
12th cı13th c
Angkor Wat. Cambodia
At the other extreme from the tiny foundation at Banteay Srie is the gigantic temple of Angkor Wat. It was built by the ambitious king Suryavarman II who came to the throne in 1113. He extended the Khmer kingdom into Siam (Thailand) and into the Cham Kingdom (Vietnam), with whom he had a continuing battle. The first task of any ruler was to finish the temples of his parents. His second task was to clear the canals and make necessary repairs to the irrigation system, and the third was to build his own temple foundation which would serve as his tomb when he died. Suryavarman's temple would be the greatest of these as well as one of the largest and most impressive monuments inthe world. The monument, known as Angkor Wat, is not a "wat," which is the name for a Buddhist monastery, but rather is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. The complex structure is enormous; the moat that surrounds it is over two and a half miles long. Two concentric walls surround the central shrine, and more than a half mile of beautifully carved reliefs decorate the wall of the inner gallery. This gallery surrounds five great towers, one on each corner, one in the center, which resemble the sikharas of northern Indian temples. The towers symbolize the peaks of Mount Meru, the center of the Hindu universe. The outer walls of the complex represent the mountains at the edge of the world, and the moats which surround the wall symbolize the oceans beyond the world. An image of the god-king was placed in the central tower, on the axis mundi, for he served as the lightning rod which brought down the blessings of heaven.

Caption: ANGKOREAN | Angkor Wat | Angkorean | Cambodian

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