Thursday, February 11, 2010

Travel - The legacy of the Khmer Empire

Angkor Wat Archeological Park is located near Siam Reap, Cambodia. The park contains a series of the millennium-old temple ruins of the Khmer Empire dating back to 1000 A.D. If it were located in this hemisphere or near Europe, it would be as famous and as popular with travelers as the pyramids and Machu Picchu. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Class Heritage Site.

Angkor Wat, is a massive 'temple-mountain' dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. It is surrounded by a moat and an exterior wall measuring 1300 meters x 1500 meters. The entire temple is covered with murals and art images .but the most memorable are the bas reliefs on the exterior walls depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology and the historical wars of the rule at that time. These pictures are an unparalleled display of the life and times of the Khmer Empire.

There is much more to see at Angkor Wat with countless numbers of other temples. The entire area was abandoned for many centuries. As a result many of the structures were invaded by enormous trees that cannot be fully extricated from the ruins. Thus, it is a fascinating study of the power of unabated jungle growth

It is not necessary to live in a hut in Cambodia either. Like most Southeast Asia destinations Siam Reap has a world class hotel called the Angkor Wat very close to the ruins. The rates are quite reasonable, too.

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