Angkor Wat located in Angkor, Cambodia is a temple complex built by king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. It is the world’s largest religious building. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. At the same time, it was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to looting, a declining water table, and unsustainable tourism. UNESCO has now set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.
The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis
The city of Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The Khmer empire was one of the most prosperous and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of Southeast Asia, and its prosperity was expressed through a wide range of architecture.
The city of Angkor was founded on political and religious ideas adapted from India, and the temples of Angkor were intended as a place of worship for the king and a way for him to ensure his immortality through identification with the Hindu gods.
During its six centuries as imperial capital, Angkor went through many changes in architectural styles and in religion. By the late 13th century, the once frenzied pace of Angkor’s architectural pursuits had begun to die down, and a more restrained type of religion was on the rise under the growing influence of Theravada Buddhism. At the same time, Angkor and the Khmer Empire were increasingly threatened and attacked by invading armies. By the 16th century, the golden age of Angkor was over . After the city of Angkor fell to invaders, Angkor Wat receded into the jungle but continued as a Buddhist Temple and a pilgrimage site over the centuries.
Angkor Wat is a major tourist attraction in Cambodia . Visitors to the temples of Angkor must buy an entrance ticket. One day pass costs US$ 20, a three day is US$ 40, and a week pass costs US$ 60. In addition to many tourists, Buddhist monks are daily visitors to Angkor Wat, their bright orange robes making a vivid contrast with the grey stone of the temple.
Visitors must show their Angkor Pass every time they pass one of the checkpoints and at the entrance to most temples and other monuments in the Angkor Park. The temples are open from sunrise to sunset.
Angkor itself has no accommodations and few facilities but the nearby town of Siem Reap can provide tourists with all the needed facilities .