Angkor Wat (/ˌæŋkɔːr ˈwɒt/; Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត, lit. 'temple city / city of temples', located in northwest Cambodia, is the largest religious structure (temple complex) in the world by land area, measuring 162.6 hectares (401+3⁄4 acres). At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of four towers surrounding a central spire that rises to a height of 65 m (213 ft) above the ground. The temple has three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. It lies within an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2+1⁄4 miles) long and a moat more than five kilometres (three miles) long.
The temple was built at the behest of Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as the state temple for the empire. Originally constructed as a personal mausoleum for Suryavarman, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in the early 12th century, it was converted to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
|Moat at Angkor Wat|
|Monumental guard lions at Angkor Wat. Do these look like Egyptian sculptures?|
|Celestial dancers, second level gallery|
The starkness of the exterior of the second level gallery is offset by the decoration of the interior. Over 1,500 Apsaras (celestial dancers) line the walls of the gallery offering endless visual and spiritual enchantment. These graceful and beautiful females delight all visitors. They were crated by the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
When one first walks into the courtyard the multitude of female figures on the walls and in the niches may seem repetitive but as one moves closer and looks carefully one sees that every one of these celestial nymphs is different, the elaborate coiffures, headdresses and jewellery befit, yet never overpower, these 'ethereal inhabitants of the heavens' Apsaras appear at Angkor Wat for the first time in twos and threes. These groups break with the traditional of decoration kin other part of the temple by standing with arms linked in coquettish postures and always in frontal view except for the feet, which appear in profile.
Note the amazing snake motif hairstyles. Also note that the big toe on the left foot is raised. I wonder what the symbolism is for the toe?
|Waiting for the selfie, Angkor Wat|
|le coq sportif and the Celestial Dancers|
|Dorky Americans in Siam Reap|