Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is famous for having the longest running bas-relief in the world. Beautifully crafted, many of the carvings were once painted and gilded. They decorate the 2-m high, galleried walls having roofed walkways that run along the inside of the protective moat, just outside of the temple complex itself.

The complex, built of both sandstone and laterite (a dense, porous, iron-bearing soil that can be quarried like stone), forms a rectangle of about 850 m by 1000 m (2800 by 3800 ft). It was constructed to serve both as a sepulchre for Suryavarman II, whose regime had adopted some aspects of Hinduism, and as a celebration of his status as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. As a sepulchre the temple was built facing west (the direction taken by the dead in going to their next life, in Hindu belief), rather than facing east, which was traditional for Hindu temples. Taking more than 30 years to build, the layout of the complex was conceived as an architectural allegory of the Hindu cosmology (world concept). At the center of the complex stands a temple with five lotus-shaped towers, a larger central tower, and four smaller surrounding towers. These represent the five peaks of Mount Meru—according to Hindu belief, the mountain where the gods reside and from which all creation comes. The central tower enclosure is surrounded by three square, terraced enclosures that rise toward the central towers. The series of terraces symbolizes the mountain ranges that in Hindu cosmology surround the habitable world.

Posted 2011-01-29 and updated on Jun 08, 2011 1:27am by crisd

 Jun 08, 2011 1:27amThe forum is a brighter place thnkas to your posts. Thanks! by Joni
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