Historical Places Temples Travel

Angkor Wat

What is Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat is a temple complex located in the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was built in the early 12th century by the Khmer Empire, a powerful civilization that ruled over much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 15th century.

Angkor Wat temple side view
Angkor Wat Temple – from the side

The Khmer Empire was responsible for constructing many impressive structures, including Angkor Wat, which is considered one of the most significant and impressive archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

Who built Angkor Wat?

It was built during the reign of King Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1113 to 1150 AD. The temple complex was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, but was later converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century.

Angkor Wat is significant for its incredible architectural design and intricate carvings, which depict scenes from ancient Hindu epics and everyday life in ancient Cambodia. The temple complex is also a symbol of the Khmer Empire’s power and cultural achievements during its heyday.

The complex includes several smaller temples surrounding Angkor Wat such as Ta Prohm Temple which has been left mostly untouched since its discovery in 1858; Bayon Temple which features four giant stone faces carved into towers; Banteay Kdei Temple whose walls are decorated with intricate carvings depicting Hindu mythology; Preah Khan (Sacred Sword) Temple which contains some well-preserved sculptures from Buddhist iconography; Phnom Bakheng Hill where visitors can enjoy stunning views over Siem Reap city at sunset time ; Banteay Srei (“Citadel of Women”); and many more!

Who are the Khmer?

The Khmer people are an ethnic group that is native to Cambodia and parts of neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

The Khmers have a long and complex history, and are believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent.

They are related to the people of India and other parts of South Asia through a shared cultural and linguistic heritage, and were heavily influenced by Indian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

Bayon Temple near the Angkor Wat temple complex
Bayon Temple

What’s does India got to do with Angkor Wat?

The Khmer Empire was particularly influenced by Indian culture, and many of its art and architectural styles were inspired by Indian models.

For example, the design of Angkor Wat is believed to have been inspired by the Indian temple architecture of the Pallava dynasty in southern India. (See more South Indian temples)

The Khmer people also adopted many Hindu and Buddhist religious beliefs and practices from India, which greatly influenced their culture and way of life.

See this for more details and what to do when you visit Angkor Wat.

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