With out doubt Angkor Wat is the very top of all the Siem Reap attractions, winning the TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice award in both 2015 and 2016 the Your Cambodia team shows you why.
The building of Angkor Wat was finished in the year 1150 CE. by king Suryavarman II, when the Khmer empire was at its height. Angkor Wat was used as the capital of the Khmer empire, and as State Temple of the king, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is of huge proportions, one of the biggest religious monuments in the world, and is breathtaking when first seen, the five peaks of the temple mountain layout can be seen over the walls when approaching the temple area from Siem Reap, and is usually the first sight that you see. The central temple mountain, and sucession of walled enclosures and surrounding moat, is a representation of the universe according to Hindu mythology.
Unusually, Angkor Wat faces west, and the most impressive entrance gallery is from the western approach causeway. While most people visit in the morning, the best light to photograph the front of the temple is in the afternoon. Sunrise over the towers of Angkor Wat is spectacular and a very peaceful time compared to the crowds during the day.
The five towers of Angkor Wat reach 65 metres above the ground at their peak, the form of the towers is representative of the lotus flower, with each tier opening up and the next rising up from the middle of the one before.
The temple is highly decorated with carvings, nearly 2000 apsara figures adorn the walls of Angkor Wat, Around the outer gallery of the temple, there are almost 600 metres of narrative bas-reliefs depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology, and the Khmer version of the Ramayana called the Reamker where Rama rescues his princess Sita from the island of Lanka in the Battle of Lanka shown on the N wing of the west gallery, also the Churning of the Sea of Milk, a story from Hindu mythology where gods and demons churn the primordial ocean to produce the elixir of immortality is depicted on the S wing of the east gallery. also historical wars with the Chams during king Suryavarman II’s reign are depicted in these carvings.
The area within the outer walls and moat of Angkor Wat is considerable in size, the space would have been filled with wooden buildings, houses and a Royal Palace for king Suryavarman II, when the temple area functioned as the capital city.