The national symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat, blew my mind away. There lies the diverse symbols of the cosmic, mythical and religious world–assembled together in one place of wonder.
Perhaps, the only reason why tourists flock to Cambodia is to see one of the 7 world wonders, that is Angkor Wat, popularized by Angelina Jolie’s blockbuster film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s been said that while shooting the movie here, she was enamoured by the country that she decided to adopt a Cambodian child who she named Maddox.
The hostel owner where I stayed at in Siem Reap told me that the best thing to capture Angkor Wat in its breathtaking beauty is by sunrise. So, the tuktuk cab driver that I hired for a day ($20, circa 2008) picked me up at 4:30 in the morning. We were the first one to enter the temple gate and he promised me that it was going to be a real good day. I took his words heartily and was very excited to see the famed, postcard-perfect view of the Angkor Wat backdropped by the sunrise.
In September, during monsoon season, the weather changes in minutes, without predictable signs. I was the very first person to go inside the temple compound and had been waiting there for 35 minutes when the rain came. Unprepared, I found shelter under the huge tree, without an umbrella. Then, a throng of Japanese tourists came, prepared to battle the rain. Obviously, I didn’t receive the memo from the Divine Being that it was gonna pour that morning. By the time the rain stopped, I was 80% soaking wet. And the sun was still too shy to come out of its closet. I was devastated.
Angkor Wat is the center of the universe.
It is a miniature of the world itself, built in stone and is the representation of the earthly cosmic world.
At the very center of it is the highest tower that symbolizes the mythical mountain, Meru.
Surrounding the Meru are the outer walls that signifies the mountains to the edge of the world.
The moats are the oceans beyond.
Literally, Angkor Wat means “City of Temples”.
It was a Hindu temple first, then later became a Buddhist shrine.
It is the largest religious temple in the world.
It is the pinnacle of spirituality.
Here you’ll find the famous Indian epic, Mahabharata, told in thousands of carvings on its walls.
Angkor Wat is grander than the Taj Mahal in India or the Forbidden City in Beijing.
It represents Khmer architecture in its glory, culture and civilization
The harmony of its facade and its interior will dazzle every architect, engineer and designer. It’s brilliant!
Angkor Wat is simply a masterpiece!
And because it’s a masterpiece, it should be in your bucket list!
(I travelled to Cambodia in September 2008)
OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
- To the Kingdom of Cambodia – Poipet to Siem Reap Road
- Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is so Heartbreaking
- Is this the World’s Most Beautiful Open-Air Museum?
- Cambodia: Grand Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
- Pingyao at Night
- Cruising the Mekong River in Vietnam
- Kho Phi Phi and Other Islands
- Yungang Caves in Datong
- Beijing:Temple of Heaven
- Ming Tombs – Where Emperors Are Buried
- The Monastery or Little Petra in Jordan
- Pingyao in the Afternoon
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