Secrets of the Temples of Angkor

Posted on May 09, 2018 in Student Speak

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Cambodia – the bliss of life can be easily felt in this place. You must be wondering what is so special about the temples of Angkor. They were and have always been unique and beautiful. So let us dig deeper into these walls of beauty.

Let us start with the temple of Angkor Wat. Angkor has always been aptly known as the ancient Khmer’s capital. The beginning of the Angkorian period was in AD 802, when Khmer Hindu monarch, Jayavarman II, declared himself a “universal monarch” and “god-king”. These temples have been through lots of twists and turns. Originally, the temple of Angkor was built as a complex of Hindu temples which were dedicated to God Vishnu for the Khmer empire. After the 14th century, it gradually turned into a Buddhist site of worship, when the country adopted Buddhism as its main religion.

The famous Bayon temple is another wonder of architecture. Nestled in the heart of Angkor Thom, stands the eye-popping Bayon, which was built in the late 12th century. Inside the temple, there are around 216 detailed and smiling stone faces carved on the towers. According to the information we gained inside the temple, there are 4 faces, one in each direction. As per legends, each face represents compassion, wisdom, simplicity and economy respectively.

The temple was built as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. After the death of Jayavarman, the features of the Bayon Temple were altered according to the religious belief of his successors, thus containing Hindu and Theravada Buddhist elements that were not part of the temple’s original plans.

Initially, we were shocked by the size of the trees around the temple. It was a mesmerising view. The temple provides valuable information about inhabitants of the 12th century in the form of paintings on the wall.    

Another interesting fact about this place is that Angelina Jolie starrer Hollywood movie ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’, in which she acted as Lara Croft, was filmed here. After that movie, tourism increased manifold in this country. From a melting pot of cultures and religion to Hollywood movies, the lights of Cambodian wonders will never stop shinning. Its mysterious beauty will always be appreciated.

Team Members: Aarushi Manjunath Yermal, Bhumika Anubhav Sinha, Monish Suyog Arawattigi, Rishva Sanjay Kumar Sorathia and Yash Sunil Ardad (Students of MIT Gurukul, Pune).

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