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Wat (Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត or "Capital Temple") is
a temple complex in
Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the
world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 m2; 402
acres). It was originally constructed as a
Hindu temple dedicated
to the god
Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a
Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was built
by 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. Breaking from the Shaiva tradition of previous
Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the
best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained
a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at
the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has
become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it
is the country's prime attraction for visitors.
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 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,
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.
3.1 Site and plan
3.3.1 Outer enclosure
3.3.2 Central structure
3.4 Construction techniques
4.1 Restoration and conservation
6 See also
9 External links
The modern name,
Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples"
in Khmer; Angkor, meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular
form of the word nokor (នគរ), which comes from the
nagara (Devanāgarī: नगर).
Wat is the Khmer word for "temple
grounds", also derived from
Sanskrit vāṭa (Devanāgarī:
वाट), meaning "enclosure".
The original name of the temple was Vrah Viṣṇuloka (Sanskrit) or
Brah Bisnulōk (Local variant) which means the sacred dwelling of
King Suryavarman II, the builder of
Wat lies 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) north of the modern town
of Siem Reap, and a short distance south and slightly east of the
previous capital, which was centred at Baphuon. In an area of Cambodia
where there is an important group of ancient structures, it is the
southernmost of Angkor's main sites.
According to legend, the construction of
Wat was ordered by
Indra to serve as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea. According
to the 13th-century Chinese traveller Zhou Daguan, some believed that
the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine
The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the
first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II
(ruled 1113 – c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the
king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela
nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been
found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as
"Varah Vishnu-lok" after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended
shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief
decoration unfinished. In 1177, approximately 27 years after the
death of Suryavarman II,
Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the
traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the empire was
restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital
and state temple (
Angkor Thom and the
Bayon respectively) a few
kilometres to the north.
Towards the end of the 12th century,
Wat gradually transformed
Hindu centre of worship to Buddhism, which continues to the
Wat is unusual among the
Angkor temples in that
although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never
completely abandoned, its preservation being due in part to the fact
that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the
One of the first Western visitors to the temple was António da
Madalena, a Portuguese friar who visited in 1586 and said that it "is
of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe
it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the
world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the
human genius can conceive of."
By the 17th century,
Wat was not completely abandoned and
functioned as a Buddhist temple. Fourteen inscriptions dated from the
17th century discovered in
Angkor area testify to Japanese Buddhist
pilgrims that had established small settlements alongside Khmer
locals. At that time, the temple was thought by the Japanese
visitors as the famed
Jetavana garden of the Buddha, which originally
located in the kingdom of Magadha, India. The best-known
inscription tells of Ukondafu Kazufusa, who celebrated the Khmer New
Wat in 1632.
Angkor Wat, a drawing by Henri Mouhot, c. 1860
Angkor Wat, a drawing by Louis Delaporte, c. 1880
In the mid-19th century, the temple was visited by the French
naturalist and explorer Henri Mouhot, who popularised the site in the
West through the publication of travel notes, in which he wrote:
"One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by
some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honorable place beside our
most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by
Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism
in which the nation is now plunged."
Wat may relate to the architecture of the Greek and Roman
record explored in terms of the west rather than east orientation of
the temple. Some architects have written that it is 'correct' for the
construction to be facing to the west. In temple orientations for the
Greek and Etruscan context, west is associated with "right" and the
"underworld" to suggest a religious connection of the building.
Mouhot, like other early Western visitors, found it difficult to
believe that the Khmers could have built the temple and mistakenly
dated it to around the same era as Rome. The true history of Angkor
Wat was pieced together only from stylistic and epigraphic evidence
accumulated during the subsequent clearing and restoration work
carried out across the whole
Angkor site. There were no ordinary
dwellings or houses or other signs of settlement, including cooking
utensils, weapons, or items of clothing usually found at ancient
sites. Instead there is the evidence of the monuments themselves.
Wat required considerable restoration in the 20th century,
mainly the removal of accumulated earth and vegetation. Work was
interrupted by the
Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War and
Khmer Rouge control of the
country during the 1970s and 1980s, but relatively little damage was
done during this period. Camping
Khmer Rouge forces used whatever wood
remained in the building structures for firewood, a pavilion was
ruined by a stray American shell, and a shoot-out between Khmer Rouge
and Vietnamese forces put a few bullet holes in a bas relief. Far more
damage was done after the wars, by art thieves working out of
Thailand, which, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, claimed almost
every head that could be lopped off the structures, including
The temple is a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great
national pride that has factored into Cambodia's diplomatic relations
with France, the United States and its neighbour Thailand. A depiction
Wat has been a part of Cambodian national flags since the
introduction of the first version circa 1863. From a larger
historical and even transcultural perspective, however, the temple of
Wat did not become a symbol of national pride sui generis but
had been inscribed into a larger politico-cultural process of
French-colonial heritage production in which the original temple site
was presented in French colonial and universal exhibitions in Paris
and Marseille between 1889 and 1937.
Angkor Wat's aesthetics were
also on display in the plaster cast museum of
Louis Delaporte called
musée Indo-chinois which existed in the Parisian Trocadero Palace
from c.1880 to the mid-1920s.
The splendid artistic legacy of
Wat and other Khmer monuments
Angkor region led directly to France adopting
Cambodia as a
protectorate on 11 August 1863 and invading Siam to take control of
the ruins. This quickly led to
Cambodia reclaiming lands in the
northwestern corner of the country that had been under Siamese (Thai)
control since AD 1351 (Manich Jumsai 2001), or by some accounts, AD
Cambodia gained independence from France on 9 November 1953
and has controlled
Wat since that time. It is safe to say that
from the colonial period onwards until the site's nomination as UNESCO
World Heritage in 1992, this specific temple of
instrumental in the formation of the modern and gradually globalised
concept of built cultural heritage.
In December 2015, it was announced that a research team from
University of Sydney
University of Sydney had found a previously unseen ensemble of buried
towers built and demolished during the construction of
Angkor Wat, as
well as massive structure of unknown purpose on its south side and
wooden fortifications. The findings also include evidence of
low-density residential occupation in the region, with a road grid,
ponds and mounds. These indicate that the temple precinct, bounded by
moat and wall, may not have been used exclusively by the priestly
elite, as was previously thought. The team used LiDAR,
ground-penetrating radar and targeted excavation to map Angkor
General plan of
Wat with central structure in the middle
Detailed plan of the central structure
Site and plan
Aerial view of
Angkor Wat, located at 13°24′45″N 103°52′0″E /
13.41250°N 103.86667°E / 13.41250; 103.86667, is a unique
combination of the temple mountain (the standard design for the
empire's state temples) and the later plan of concentric galleries.
The construction of
Wat also suggests that there was a
celestial significance with certain features of the temple. This is
observed in the temple's east-west orientation, and lines of sight
from terraces within the temple that show specific towers to be at the
precise location of the sunrise on a solstice. The temple is a
representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods: the central
quincunx of towers symbolises the five peaks of the mountain, and the
walls and moat symbolise the surrounding mountain ranges and
ocean. Access to the upper areas of the temple was progressively
more exclusive, with the laity being admitted only to the lowest
Unlike most Khmer temples,
Wat is oriented to the west rather
than the east. This has led many (including
Maurice Glaize and George
Coedès) to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his
funerary temple. Further evidence for this view is provided by
the bas-reliefs, which proceed in a counter-clockwise
Hindu terminology—as this is the reverse of
the normal order. Rituals take place in reverse order during Brahminic
funeral services. The archaeologist Charles Higham also describes
a container which may have been a funerary jar which was recovered
from the central tower. It has been nominated by some as the
greatest expenditure of energy on the disposal of a corpse.
Freeman and Jacques, however, note that several other temples of
Angkor depart from the typical eastern orientation, and suggest that
Angkor Wat's alignment was due to its dedication to Vishnu, who was
associated with the west.
A further interpretation of
Wat has been proposed by Eleanor
Mannikka. Drawing on the temple's alignment and dimensions, and on the
content and arrangement of the bas-reliefs, she argues that the
structure represents a claimed new era of peace under King Suryavarman
II: "as the measurements of solar and lunar time cycles were built
into the sacred space of
Angkor Wat, this divine mandate to rule was
anchored to consecrated chambers and corridors meant to perpetuate the
king's power and to honour and placate the deities manifest in the
heavens above." Mannikka's suggestions have been received with
a mixture of interest and scepticism in academic circles. She
distances herself from the speculations of others, such as Graham
Wat is part of a representation of the
Wat as viewed from the side
Wat is the prime example of the classical style of Khmer
Wat style—to which it has given its name.
By the 12th century Khmer architects had become skilled and confident
in the use of sandstone (rather than brick or laterite) as the main
building material. Most of the visible areas are of sandstone blocks,
while laterite was used for the outer wall and for hidden structural
parts. The binding agent used to join the blocks is yet to be
identified, although natural resins or slaked lime has been
The temple has drawn praise above all for the harmony of its design.
According to Maurice Glaize, a mid-20th-century conservator of Angkor,
the temple "attains a classic perfection by the restrained
monumentality of its finely balanced elements and the precise
arrangement of its proportions. It is a work of power, unity and
Architecturally, the elements characteristic of the style include: the
ogival, redented towers shaped like lotus buds; half-galleries to
broaden passageways; axial galleries connecting enclosures; and the
cruciform terraces which appear along the main axis of the temple.
Typical decorative elements are devatas (or apsaras), bas-reliefs, and
on pediments extensive garlands and narrative scenes. The statuary of
Wat is considered conservative, being more static and less
graceful than earlier work. Other elements of the design have been
destroyed by looting and the passage of time, including gilded stucco
on the towers, gilding on some figures on the bas-reliefs, and wooden
ceiling panels and doors.
View of the west wall of the outer enclosure of
The outer wall, 1,024 m (3,360 ft) by 802 m
(2,631 ft) and 4.5 m (15 ft) high, is surrounded by a
30 m (98 ft) apron of open ground and a moat 190 m
(620 ft) wide. Access to the temple is by an earth bank to the
east and a sandstone causeway to the west; the latter, the main
entrance, is a later addition, possibly replacing a wooden bridge.
There are gopuras at each of the cardinal points; the western is by
far the largest and has three ruined towers. Glaize notes that this
gopura both hides and echoes the form of the temple proper. Under
the southern tower is a statue of Vishnu, known as Ta Reach, which may
originally have occupied the temple's central shrine. Galleries
run between the towers and as far as two further entrances on either
side of the gopura often referred to as "elephant gates", as they are
large enough to admit those animals. These galleries have square
pillars on the outer (west) side and a closed wall on the inner (east)
side. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus
rosettes; the west face of the wall with dancing figures; and the east
face of the wall with balustered windows, dancing male figures on
prancing animals, and devatas, including (south of the entrance) the
only one in the temple to be showing her teeth.
The outer wall encloses a space of 820,000 square metres (203 acres),
which besides the temple proper was originally occupied by the city
and, to the north of the temple, the royal palace. Like all secular
buildings of Angkor, these were built of perishable materials rather
than of stone, so nothing remains of them except the outlines of some
of the streets. Most of the area is now covered by forest. A
350 m (1,150 ft) causeway connects the western gopura to the
temple proper, with naga balustrades and six sets of steps leading
down to the city on either side. Each side also features a library
with entrances at each cardinal point, in front of the third set of
stairs from the entrance, and a pond between the library and the
temple itself. The ponds are later additions to the design, as is the
cruciform terrace guarded by lions connecting the causeway to the
The middle tower of
Wat symbolizes the sacred mountain, mount
Aerial view of the central structure; in front of the central
structure lies the cruciform terrace.
The temple stands on a terrace raised higher than the city. It is made
of three rectangular galleries rising to a central tower, each level
higher than the last. Mannikka interprets these galleries as being
dedicated to the king, Brahma, the moon, and Vishnu. Each gallery
has a gopura at each of the points, and the two inner galleries each
have towers at their corners, forming a quincunx with the central
tower. Because the temple faces west, the features are all set back
towards the east, leaving more space to be filled in each enclosure
and gallery on the west side; for the same reason the west-facing
steps are shallower than those on the other sides.
A tower of
The outer gallery measures 187 m (614 ft) by 215 m
(705 ft), with pavilions rather than towers at the corners. The
gallery is open to the outside of the temple, with columned
half-galleries extending and buttressing the structure. Connecting the
outer gallery to the second enclosure on the west side is a cruciform
cloister called Preah Poan (the "Hall of a Thousand Gods"). Buddha
images were left in the cloister by pilgrims over the centuries,
although most have now been removed. This area has many inscriptions
relating the good deeds of pilgrims, most written in Khmer but others
in Burmese and Japanese. The four small courtyards marked out by the
cloister may originally have been filled with water. North and
south of the cloister are libraries.
Beyond, the second and inner galleries are connected to each other and
to two flanking libraries by another cruciform terrace, again a later
addition. From the second level upwards, devatas abound on the walls,
singly or in groups of up to four. The second-level enclosure is
100 m (330 ft) by 115 m (377 ft), and may
originally have been flooded to represent the ocean around Mount
Meru. Three sets of steps on each side lead up to the corner
towers and gopuras of the inner gallery. The very steep stairways
represent the difficulty of ascending to the kingdom of the gods.
This inner gallery, called the Bakan, is a 60 m (200 ft)
square with axial galleries connecting each gopura with the central
shrine, and subsidiary shrines located below the corner towers. The
roofings of the galleries are decorated with the motif of the body of
a snake ending in the heads of lions or garudas. Carved lintels and
pediments decorate the entrances to the galleries and to the shrines.
The tower above the central shrine rises 43 m (141 ft) to a
height of 65 m (213 ft) above the ground; unlike those of
previous temple mountains, the central tower is raised above the
surrounding four. The shrine itself, originally occupied by a
Vishnu and open on each side, was walled in when the temple
was converted to
Theravada Buddhism, the new walls featuring standing
Buddhas. In 1934, the conservator George Trouvé excavated the pit
beneath the central shrine: filled with sand and water it had already
been robbed of its treasure, but he did find a sacred foundation
deposit of gold leaf two metres above ground level.
The bas-relief of the Churning of the Sea of Milk shows
Vishnu in the
centre, his turtle
Kurma below, asuras and devas to left and
right, and apsaras and
Devatas are characteristic of the
Integrated with the architecture of the building, and one of the
causes for its fame is
Angkor Wat's extensive decoration, which
predominantly takes the form of bas-relief friezes. The inner walls of
the outer gallery bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting
episodes from the
Hindu epics the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Higham
has called these, "the greatest known linear arrangement of stone
carving". From the north-west corner anti-clockwise, the western
gallery shows the Battle of Lanka (from the Ramayana, in which Rama
defeats Ravana) and the Battle of Kurukshetra (from the Mahabharata,
showing the mutual annihilation of the
Pandava clans). On
the southern gallery follow the only historical scene, a procession of
Suryavarman II, then the 32 hells and 37 heavens of Hinduism.[citation
Decoration on the corner
On the eastern gallery is one of the most celebrated scenes, the
Churning of the Sea of Milk, showing 92 asuras and 88 devas using
Vasuki to churn the sea under Vishnu's direction (Mannikka
counts only 91 asuras, and explains the asymmetrical numbers as
representing the number of days from the winter solstice to the spring
equinox, and from the equinox to the summer solstice). It is
Vishnu defeating asuras (a 16th-century addition). The
northern gallery shows Krishna's victory over Bana (where according to
Glaize, "The workmanship is at its worst"), and a battle between
Hindu gods and asuras. The north-west and south-west corner
pavilions both feature much smaller-scale scenes, some unidentified
but most from the
Ramayana or the life of Krishna.
Wat is decorated with depictions of apsaras and devata; there
are more than 1,796 depictions of devata in the present research
Wat architects employed small apsara images
(30 cm (12 in)–40 cm (16 in)) as decorative
motifs on pillars and walls. They incorporated larger devata images
(all full-body portraits measuring approximately 95 cm
(37 in)–110 cm (43 in)) more prominently at every
level of the temple from the entry pavilion to the tops of the high
towers. In 1927, Sappho Marchal published a study cataloging the
remarkable diversity of their hair, headdresses, garments, stance,
jewellery and decorative flowers, which Marchal concluded were based
on actual practices of the
The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar
with very tight joints that are sometimes hard to find. The blocks
were held together by mortise and tenon joints in some cases, while in
others they used dovetails and gravity. The blocks were presumably put
in place by a combination of elephants, coir ropes, pulleys and bamboo
Henri Mouhot noted that most of the blocks had holes
2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter and 3 cm (1.2 in)
deep, with more holes on the larger blocks. Some scholars have
suggested that these were used to join them together with iron rods,
but others claim they were used to hold temporary pegs to help
manoeuvre them into place.
The monument was made out of 5 million to 10 million sandstone blocks
with a maximum weight of 1.5 tons each. In fact, the entire city
Angkor used up far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian
pyramids combined, and occupied an area significantly greater than
modern-day Paris. Moreover, unlike the Egyptian pyramids which use
limestone quarried barely 0.5 km (0.31 mi) away all the
time, the entire city of
Angkor was built with sandstone quarried
40 km (25 mi) (or more) away. This sandstone had to be
transported from Mount Kulen, a quarry approximately 25 miles
(40 km) to the northeast. The route has been suggested to span 35
kilometres (22 mi) along a canal towards
Tonlé Sap lake, another
35 kilometres (22 mi) crossing the lake, and finally 15
kilometres (9.3 mi) against the current along
Siem Reap River,
making a total journey of 90 kilometres (56 mi). However, Etsuo
Uchida and Ichita Shimoda of
Waseda University in Tokyo, Japanese have
discovered in 2011 a shorter 35-kilometre (22 mi) canal
connecting Mount Kulen and
Wat using satellite imagery. The two
believe that the Khmer used this route instead.
Virtually all of its surfaces, columns, lintels and even roofs are
carved. There are miles of reliefs illustrating scenes from Indian
literature including unicorns, griffins, winged dragons pulling
chariots as well as warriors following an elephant-mounted leader and
celestial dancing girls with elaborate hair styles. The gallery wall
alone is decorated with almost 1,000 square metres of bas reliefs.
Holes on some of the
Angkor walls indicate that they may have been
decorated with bronze sheets. These were highly prized in ancient
times and were a prime target for robbers. While excavating Khajuraho,
Alex Evans, a stonemason and sculptor, recreated a stone sculpture
under 4 feet (1.2 m), this took about 60 days to carve. Roger
Hopkins and Mark Lehner also conducted experiments to quarry limestone
which took 12 quarrymen 22 days to quarry about 400 tons of stone.
The labour force to quarry, transport, carve and install so much
sandstone must have run into the thousands including many highly
skilled artisans. The skills required to carve these sculptures were
developed hundreds of years earlier, as demonstrated by some artefacts
that have been dated to the seventh century, before the Khmer came to
Restoration and conservation
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund video on conservation of
As with most other ancient temples in Cambodia,
Wat has faced
extensive damage and deterioration by a combination of plant
overgrowth, fungi, ground movements, war damage and theft. The war
Angkor Wat's temples however has been very limited, compared
to the rest of Cambodia's temple ruins, and it has also received the
most attentive restoration.
Bullet holes left by a shoot-out between the
Khmer Rouge and
Vietnamese forces at
The restoration of
Wat in the modern era began with the
establishment of the Conservation d'
Angkor Conservancy) by the
École française d'Extrême-Orient
École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO) in 1908; before that date,
activities at the site were primarily concerned with
exploration. The Conservation d'
Angkor was responsible for the
research, conservation, and restoration activities carried out at
Angkor until the early 1970s, and a major restoration of Angkor
was undertaken in the 1960s. However, work on
Angkor was abandoned
Khmer Rouge era and the Conservation d'
Angkor was disbanded
in 1975. Between 1986 and 1992, the Archaeological Survey of India
carried out restoration work on the temple, as France did not
Cambodian government at the time. Criticism has been
raised about both the early French restoration attempts and
particularly the later Indian work, with concerns over damage done to
the stone surface by the use of chemicals and cement.
In 1992, following an appeal for help by Norodom Sihanouk,
was listed in UNESCO's
World Heritage in Danger
World Heritage in Danger (later removed in
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site together with an appeal by
UNESCO to the
international community to save Angkor. Zoning of the area was
set up to protect the
Angkor site in 1994,
APSARA was established
in 1995 to protect and manage the area, and a law to protect Cambodian
heritage was passed in 1996. A number of countries such as
Japan and China are currently involved in various
conservation projects. The
German Apsara Conservation Project
German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP)
is working to protect the devatas, and other bas-reliefs which
decorate the temple, from damage. The organisation's survey found that
around 20% of the devatas were in very poor condition, mainly because
of natural erosion and deterioration of the stone but in part also due
to earlier restoration efforts. Other work involves the repair of
collapsed sections of the structure, and prevention of further
collapse: the west facade of the upper level, for example, has been
buttressed by scaffolding since 2002, while a Japanese team
completed restoration of the north library of the outer enclosure in
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund began conservation work on the Churning
of the Sea of Milk Gallery in 2008 after several years of studies on
its condition. The project restored the traditional Khmer roofing
system and removed cement used in earlier restoration attempts that
had resulted in salts entering the structure behind the bas-relief,
discoloring and damaging the sculpted surfaces. The main phase of work
ended in 2012, with the final component being the installation of
finials on the roof of the gallery in 2013.
The restored head of a naga beside an unrestored lion at the start of
the causeway leading to the entrance of
Angkor Wat. The contrast of
restored and unrestored figures is deliberate. The major restoration
of the causeway was first initiated in the 1960s by the French.
Microbial biofilms have been found degrading sandstone at
Preah Khan, and the
Bayon and West Prasat in Angkor. The dehydration-
and radiation-resistant filamentous cyanobacteria can produce organic
acids that degrade the stone. A dark filamentous fungus was found in
internal and external
Preah Khan samples, while the alga Trentepohlia
was found only in samples taken from external, pink-stained stone at
Preah Khan. Replicas were also made to replace some of the lost or
Since the 1990s,
Wat has become a major tourist destination. In
1993, there were only 7,650 visitors to the site; by 2004,
government figures show that 561,000 foreign visitors had arrived in
Siem Reap province that year, approximately 50% of all foreign
tourists in Cambodia. The number reached over a million in
2007, and over two million by 2012. Most visited
which received over two million foreign tourists in 2013. The site
has been managed by the private SOKIMEX group since 1990, which rented
it from the Cambodian government. The influx of tourists has so far
caused relatively little damage, other than some graffiti; ropes and
wooden steps have been introduced to protect the bas-reliefs and
floors, respectively. Tourism has also provided some additional funds
for maintenance—as of 2000 approximately 28% of ticket revenues
across the whole
Angkor site was spent on the temples—although most
work is carried out by teams sponsored by foreign governments rather
than by the Cambodian authorities.
Wat has seen significant growth in tourism throughout the
UNESCO and its International Co-ordinating Committee for the
Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of
Angkor (ICC), in
association with representatives from the Royal Government and APSARA,
organised seminars to discuss the concept of "cultural tourism".
Wanting to avoid commercial and mass tourism, the seminars emphasised
the importance of providing high quality accommodation and services in
order for the
Cambodian government to benefit economically, while also
incorporating the richness of Cambodian culture. In 2001, this
incentive resulted in the concept of the "
Angkor Tourist City" which
would be developed with regard to traditional Khmer architecture,
contain leisure and tourist facilities, and provide luxurious hotels
capable of accommodating large numbers of tourists.
The prospect of developing such large tourist accommodations has
encountered concerns from both
APSARA and the ICC, claiming that
previous tourism developments in the area have neglected construction
regulations and more of these projects have the potential to damage
landscape features. Also, the large scale of these projects have
begun to threaten the quality of the nearby town's water, sewage, and
electricity systems. It has been noted that such high frequency of
tourism and growing demand for quality accommodations in the area,
such as the development of a large highway, has had a direct effect on
the underground water table, subsequently straining the structural
stability of the temples at
Angkor Wat. Locals of
Siem Reap have
also voiced concern that the charm and atmosphere of their town have
been compromised in order to entertain tourism. Since this local
atmosphere is the key component to projects like
Angkor Tourist City,
the local officials continue to discuss how to successfully
incorporate future tourism without sacrificing local values and
ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012, it was agreed that
Wat would become sister sites and the provinces sister
Statue of god Vishnu, known as Ta Reach under the southern tower
Hinduism in Southeast Asia
Buddhism in Southeast Asia
List of Buddhist temples
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Angkor Vat Style
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^ Glaize p. 65.
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^ Described in Michael Buckley, The Churning of the
Ocean of Milk
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Wat devata inventory - February 2010 Archived 23 April 2010
at the Wayback Machine.
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Management of the
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The Heart of
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for
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Buckley, Michael (1998). Vietnam,
Laos Handbook. Avalon
Travel Publications. Online excerpt The Churning of the
Ocean of Milk
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Global Icon 
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Angkor photo gallery by Jaroslav Poncar May 2010
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Angkor Wat's Western Causeway and
Banteay Kdei from a CyArk/Sophia
University of California
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BBC: Map reveals ancient urban sprawl August 2007
Guide to the
Angkor Monuments – PDF Downloadable English translation
of Maurice Glaize's 1944 guide
Wat devata (sacred Khmer women) February 2010
Laser technology reveals lost city around
Wat June 2013
Roland Fletcher, director of the Greater
Angkor Project, lectures on
"LiDAR, Water and the Demise of Greater Angkor" in November, 2013
Voice of Angkor, an
Angkor Temples Guide
Angkorian sites in Cambodia
Chau Say Tevoda
Prasat Suor Prat
Terrace of the Elephants
Terrace of the Leper King
Banteay Prei Nokor
Preah Khan Kompong Svay
Sambor Prei Kuk
Angkorian sites in Thailand
Ban Chang Pi
Huai Thap Than
Ku Ka Sing
Ku San Tarat
Ku Suan Tang
Kuti Ruesi Ban Muang Khok
Kuti Ruesi Ban Nong Bua Rai
Nong Ta Plaeng
Prang Phom ma Tat
Ta Muan Tod
Ta Muen Thom
Tra Piang Tia
Wat Chao Chan
Wat Dong Muang Tei
Wat Kampang Lang
Wat Prang Thong
Wat Sa Kampaeng Noi
Wat Sa Kampaeng Yai
Narai Cheng Weng
Prang Sam Yod
San Pra Kan
Sdok Kok Thom
Sri Tep historical park
Angkorian sites in Laos
Disputed Angkorian sites
Cambodian–Thai border stand-off
Siem Reap Province
Capital city: Siem Reap
Angkor Chum District
Angkor Thom District
Banteay Srei District
Chi Kraeng District
Puok Thala District
Siem Reap District
Sout Nikom District
Srei Snam District
Svay Leu District
Siem Reap River
Protected areas of Cambodia
Ang Trapaing Thmor
Boeng Tonle Chhmar
Central Cardamom Mountains
Phnom Nam Lyr
Preah Vihear Temple
Roneam Daun Sam
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Gurus, saints, philosophers
Hinduism by country
Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Laos and Thailand
Mahapajapati Gotamī (aunt, adoptive mother)
Places where the
Buddha in world religions
Three marks of existence
Two truths doctrine
Ten spiritual realms
Hungry Ghost realm
Three planes of existence
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Seven Factors of Enlightenment
Four Right Exertions
Four stages of enlightenment
Upāsaka and Upāsikā
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Emperor Wen of Sui
Chinese Buddhist canon
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Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
Buddhism in India
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