majestic angkor wat
We did not wait for the next day to explore Angkor. After dumping our luggage and a quick shower we hit the road to see the majestic and the star destination in Cambodia–The Angkor Wat.
Tips: Passes are required to enter the Angkor area. They are on sale at the front gate for 1 (US$20), 3 (US$40), or 7 (US$60) days. You shouldn’t need to buy a pass for your guide or your driver. The passes are non-transferable and include a photograph of the owner. The photograph is taken at the counter. Note that regular checks for the pass are performed at almost all sites within the park, so carry your pass with you at all times, and be certain to buy the passes only from the official Apsara Authority counters, not from other vendors and definitely not second-hand.
We thought we have to bring passport size photo for the temple ID , which Monette forgotten that we have to look for a photo studio in Kuala Lumpur. Apparently, the Apsara Authority upgraded their ticketing system recently, they will take a digital photo right when you pay the ticket in the booth. So, Monette’s PhP200 Polaroid photo is out the window (thank you virtual tourist).
The moment we saw the prasats (central temple towers) of Angkor Wat from afar, we couldn’t help but burst into restrained shrieks. My hands were trembling that I couldn’t take a good shot of the structure.
Who wouldn’t be amazed by huge structures so masterfully crafted that every inch of its walls decorated with intricate depiction of history and religion, spanning the land area the size of Manhattan. What’s even more amazing is that after it’s glory, they mysteriously vanished. The inhabitants abandoned the city for unknown reason.
Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. It was founded on political and religious ideas adapted from India, and the temples of Angkor were intended as a place of worship for the king and a way for him to ensure his immortality through identification with the Hindu gods. Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as a vast funerary temple that would hold his remains, symbolically confirming his permanent identity with Vishnu.
Many of the bas-reliefs in the temple depict scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Hindu sacred texts that recount the adventures of two major incarnations of Vishnu.
Fact: The Khmer empire was one of the most prosperous and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of Southeast Asia, and its prosperity was expressed through a wide range of architecture, way advanced during its time, and it was the first densely populated city in civilization history.
Angkor Wat, in present-day Cambodia, formed part of the capital of the Khmer Empire, and is probably the largest religious monument ever constructed. Built over a 30-year period with sandstone and laterite, the rectangular structure (2,800 by 3,800 feet) faces west, in Hindu belief the direction taken by the dead when going to their next life.
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