Ankorwat Temple

Ankorwat Temple

Angkor wat Temple

Angkor wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the world’s largest religious monument, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 square meters; 402 acres). It was originally built as a Hindu temple to Lord Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, which was gradually converted into a Buddhist temple at the end of the 12th century. It is in Angkor, Cambodia, whose old name was ‘Yashodharpur’. It was built during the reign of Emperor Suryavarman II (1112–53). It is a Vishnu temple whereas its predecessor rulers often built Shiva temples. This temple, built in the town of Simrip on the banks of the Mekong River, is still the largest Hindu temple in the world, spread over hundreds of square miles. A symbol of respect for the nation, this temple has also been placed in the national flag of Cambodia since 1943. This temple is also a symbol of Mount Meru. On its walls is a depiction of the themes of Indian religious texts. Apsaras are depicted very beautifully in these episodes, a scene of the sea churning between the asuras and the gods is also shown. Apart from being one of the most popular tourist places in the world, this temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tourists not only come here to see the unique beauty of Vastushastra but also to see the sunrise and sunset here. Sanatani people consider it a holy pilgrimage place.

Angkor wat introduction

Angkor Thom and Angkor wat the expansion of the ruins of the ancient Kambuj capital and its temples. Angkor Thom and Angkor wat are remnants of ancient Indian culture in the Far East of Indochina. Many colonies of migrant Indians had settled in the countries of the Far East since centuries ago. Indians in India, Suvarna Island, Vanadweep, Malaya, etc. later established many states. Situated in the northern part of present-day Cambodia, the word ‘Kambuj’ is expressed, some scholars also relate the Kambojas who settled on the northwestern border of India to this ancient Indian colony. According to Anushruti, the founder of this state was Kaundinya Brahmin whose name is found in a Sanskrit inscription there. In the ninth century AD, Jayavarman III became the king of Kambuj and he laid the foundation of his capital named Angkorthom (Thome means ‘capital’) in about 60 AD. The capital was usually built for 40 years and was ready around 900 AD. There are many legends in Kambuj literature regarding its construction.

The frontier Thai people of the west were first under the Samar Kingdom of Kambuj but in the mid-17th century, they began to attack Kambuj and repeatedly won and looted Angkor Thom. Then the Khmer had to leave their capital. Then gradually the flood of bamboo forests completely alienated the city from the civilized world and its power merged into darkness. The city also mostly broke down into ruins. In the late 19th century, a French scientist revived the city and its ruins after a five-day boat trip. The city slept for centuries on the north side of the great lake called Tonle Snake where the ruins of the huge temples stood nearby, on the other bank.

Today’s Angkorthom is the ruins of a huge city. Around it is a 330 feet wide moat which was always filled with water. A large square ramp between the city and the moat protects the city. Many grand and huge Mahadwaras are built in the ramparts. Trisheerhas giants are standing on their foreheads holding the high peaks of the Mahadwaras. Five different Rajpaths from different gates reach the center of the city. The ruins of ponds with different shapes sing the praises of the builder even in his old age. Just in the middle of the city is a huge temple of Shiva which has three parts. Each part has a high peak. The height of the middle peak is about 150 feet. Many small peaks have been built around this high peak, which is about 50 in number. Statues of Shiva are installed around these peaks. The vastness and construction art of the temple is astonishing. Its walls are decorated with various shapes like animals, birds, flowers, and dancers. This temple is an amazing thing in the world from the point of view of architecture and is unique among the remnants of the ancient temple of India. The temples and buildings of Angkorthom, its ancient Rajpath and the lake are all indicative of the prosperity of that city.

Around the 12th century, Suryavarma II built a huge temple of Vishnu at Angkor Thom. The temple is also guarded by a circular moat whose width is about 400 feet. From the distance, this trench is visible like a lake. On the west side of the temple, there is a bridge to cross this moat. A huge gate has been built across the bridge to enter the temple which is about 1,000 feet wide. The temple is very large. All the Ramayana sculptures are inscribed on its walls. Seeing this temple, it is known that even after going abroad, Indian artists kept Indian art alive. It is evident from this that the worship of Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, and other gods was prevalent in Angkor Thom which was the capital of Kambuj country. The art that has been followed in the construction of these temples seems to be influenced by the Indian Gupta art. The Gupta art is reflected in the embellishments of Angkorwat’s temples, archways, and pinnacles. Indian cultural tradition was alive in them. From one inscription it is known that the founder of Yashodharpur (the former name of Angkorthom), Naresh Yashovarma was ‘a hero like Arjuna and Bhima, a scholar like Sushruta and a master of the craft, language, script, and dance’. Apart from Angkorthom and Angkorwat, he also established ashrams in several state places of Kambuj where the study of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana, and other Indian texts were taught. Later Hinduism had a profound influence on the Hindu temples of Angkor wat and was later inhabited by Buddhist monks. The archaeological excavations in Angkorthom and Angkorwat in the early 20th century have brought much light to the religious beliefs, artifacts and migratory conditions of Indian traditions of Khmero. In terms of art, Angkorthom and Angkorwat have become the topmost regions of the world due to their palaces and buildings and the ruins of temples and temples. Thousands of tourists from different parts of the world visit there every year to visit that ancient Hindu-Buddhist-center.

Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat Architecture

The construction work of this temple influenced by Khmer classical style started by Suryavarman II but they could not complete it. The work of the temple was completed during the reign of his sister-in-law and successor Dharanindravarman. Like the step pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, it has risen on the ladder. Its original peak is about 4 meters high. Apart from this, all the other eight peaks are 58 meters high. The temple was surrounded by a three and a half kilometer long stone wall, 30 meters of open land outside it and then 190 meters wide moat outside. According to scholars, it resembles the temples of the Chola dynasty. Along with the library located in the southwest, this temple has three galleries in which the inner ones are at higher altitudes. After a few years of construction, the state of Champa looted this city. After that, King Jayavarman-4 restored the city a few kilometers north. The Theravada Buddhists took it under their control in the 16th or 15th century.

In the corridors of the temple, there are many inscriptions related to the then emperor, Bali-Vamana, Heaven-Hell, Samudra Manthan, Dev-Demon War, Mahabharata, Harivansh Purana, and Ramayana. The Ram Katha formatted in the rock paintings here is very brief. The series of these Shilachitra begins with the worship performed by the gods for Ravana’s slaughter. Then there is the scene of Sita Swayamvara. After the presentation of these two major incidents of Balkans, there is a depiction of Viradha and Kabandha’s slaughter. In the next Shilachitra, Rama is seen running behind the golden deer with a bow and arrow. After this, there is a view of Rama’s friendship with Sugriva. Then, the duel battle of Bali and Sugriva is depicted. Subsequent inscriptions depict scenes of Hanuman’s presence in the Ashoka Vatika, the Ram-Ravana war, Sita’s ordeal and Rama’s return to Ayodhya. The Rama Katha, as depicted in the rock paintings of Ankorwat, though highly sparse and concise, is important as it is presented in a manner consistent with the legend of Adikavya.

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