Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

9.4

Angkor Wat (; Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត, Sanskrit: अकुंर वट "City/Capital of Temples") is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 m2; 402 acres). Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire by King Suryavarman II during the 12th century, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the century; as such, it is also described as a "Hindu-Buddhist" temple.

Angkor Wat was built at the behest of the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (Khmer: យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat more than 5 kilometres (3 mi) long and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls. The modern name Angkor Wat, alternatively Nokor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer. Angkor (អង្គរ ângkôr) meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor (នគរ nôkôr), which comes from the Sanskrit/Pali word nagara (Devanāgarī: नगर). Wat (វត្ត vôtt) is the word for "temple grounds", also derived from Sanskrit/Pali vāṭa (Devanāgarī: वाट), meaning "enclosure".

Thumbnail image credited to Kheng VungvuthyAdditional info


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