Angkor Wat is a Hindu temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, ever constructed by human race, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 m2; 402 acres).
Angkor (nokor) comes from the Hindu (Indian) word Nagar which means capital or city. Wat or Watika means house in Sanskrit and is the Khmer word for temple.
Several historians rated Angkor Wat higher than Taj Mahal or Pyramids; some even stating that grandeur of Angkor Wat is bigger than combination of 100’s of Taj Mahals or Pyramids. The praise lies in the effort, dedication and immaculate precision in constructing world’s first temple city – biggest temple complex known to human race yet.
The largest Hindu temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II (Surya = Sun + Varman = Shelter in Sanskrit) in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple. Unlike his predecessors who practiced ‘Shaivism’ for their supreme god, Bhagwan Shiv; Suryavarman II broke ranks with them and built this temple, dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu.
According to localites, the construction of Angkor Wat (meaning City of Temples) was ordered by Indra to act as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea. However, according to the 13th century Chinese traveler Daguan Zhou, it was believed by some that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect – the mammoth construction and its precision still make its visitors awestruck about the immense capabilities of Hindu architects and construction workers.
Toward the end of the 13th century, as Buddhism unfolded in the region, Angkor Wat was gradually transformed from a Hindu center of worship to Buddhist monastery, some of the Hindu ceremonies and festivals were formally revoked and rituals of Buddhism were adapted which continues to the present day. It should be noted that this is not the first Hindu temple that is captured by non-Hindu followers. Across the world more than 100,000 major temples were dismantled or converted into non-Hindu structures; In India alone about 60,000 temples were converted into non-Vedic islamic constructs – mosques or tombs, under barbaric muslim invasions. However like all such religious structures across the world the Angkor Wat construction too bear depiction of Nagas (Shiv worshippers), yogis, demigods of Hinduism as sculpts and arts across all pillars and sites of the complex. Scenes from the Hindu sacred book, the Mahabharat, can be found carved on the outer wall in eight different panels.
What is known as world heritage site today was left in ruined state for centuries, the breathtaking grandeur and the monumental neglect by the erstwhile kings is aptly described by the French explorer Henri ” 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.”
Hindu Temple Angkor Wat – Facts and Details
Angkor Wat Structure
The Angkor Wat temple represents Mount Meru which is the home of the Hindu devtas – it was referenced to be approximately 1,000,000 km high. The central five towers represents the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moat represent the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean.
Unlike most temples, the Angkor Wat faces west. There hasn’t been a clear explanation why so. It has been said that Bhagwan Vishnu was somehow associated to the west. If the spherical shape of earth and rotation is taken into consideration then the bhakti bhav (spiritual consciousness) reaches even to the east. (click on all the images for larger view)
The terrace on which it stands on is higher than the actual city. It has three walls surrounding the building itself, each level higher than the last. These galleries are dedicated to the Brahma (Creator of the Universe), Chandra (the moon – time definer for the earth), and Bhagwan Vishnu (Protector of the Universe). Bhagwan Shiv is known as destroyer of existing Universe for new Universe of existence, however Shiv is also protector of Universe, the sacrifice during Samudra Manthan detailed so. Each gallery has a Gopuram on each of the points, and the two inner galleries; each have towers at their corners, together they form a quincunx with the central tower. Since the temple faces west, the features are all set facing towards the east, leaving more space to be filled in each enclosure and gallery on the west side; which is why the steps on the western side are more shallow than the ones on the side.
The second-level enclosure is 100 by 115 m, and it might have been flooded to represent the ocean around Mount Meru. Three sets of steps on each side lead up to the corner towers and Gopurams of the inner gallery. The steep stairways represent, how hard it is ascending to the home of the devtas, showing it is never easy to meet devtas. This inner gallery (Bakan) is a 60 m square with centric galleries connecting each of the Gopurams with the central shrine, and subsidiary shrines located below the corner towers. Carved lintels and pediments decorate the entrances which lead to the galleries and to the shrines. The tower above the central shrine peak ranges from 43 m to a height of 65 m above the ground; unlike the other temples, the central tower is higher than the surrounding four.
How Angkor Wat was Constructed?
Angkor Wat Architecture
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 scaffolding. 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 10 million sandstone blocks with a maximum weight of 1.5 tons (1500 kilograms) each. In fact, the entire city of 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, Japan have discovered in 2012 a shorter 35-kilometre (22 mi) canal connecting Mount Kulen and Angkor Wat using satellite imagery. The two believe that the Khmer used this route instead. The population of the city at the time of construction may have been over prayut (1 million) people.
Following Vedic tradition of constructing Hindu temple along the rivers, to keep the sacred vicinity clean and pious, an artificial lake was created around Angkor Wat temple from all sides, this adds to the beauty of the temple.
Virtually all of its surfaces, columns, lintels and even roofs are carved. There are miles of reliefs illustrating scenes from Hindu literature including unicorns, griffins, winged horses 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.
The monumental dedication to construct Angkor Wat can be gauged, comparing with modern day efforts.
Construction: 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.
Transportation: 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 labor 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 artifacts that have been dated to the seventh century, before the Khmer came to power.
The magnificent and beautiful structures can never be made without dedication, selfless devotion and blessings of God.
Angkor Validation Check: If you sit in the perimeter of Angkor Wat and Meditate Silently for 10 to 15 minutes and repeatedly ask to the universe who made this temple, after few seconds several voices can be heard describing you facts about the Hindu Temple. It is said there are hundreds of workers who reside here, they never moved away after death. Sometimes, even Royal Family members comes to visit this Hindu temple. This can be proven by any visitor who can tune mind to focus on meditation easily. The Temple will again become Hindu Temple. And this symbol of Buddhist Terrorism shall end.
Angkor wat had Bhagwan Shiva, Bhagwan Vishnu and Brahma depicted as large statues. All creations of Brahma that include various forms of Gandharva, Yaksha, Kinnara, Kimpurusha, Rakshasa, Nagas, Suparna, Vanaras, Vidyadhara, Valkyria, Pisacha, Devas, Asuras and Human beings were beautifully depicted in carved forms in large, small, medium size to humanly shapes across massive complex structure. The depiction was done on the statues, walls and on the dozens of the gates of the temple. Most of the statues were destroyed and massive statues whose destruction would have dented opulence of the expansive structure were converted into fake god Gautam Buddha’s statues. Gautam was not god but mortal Hindu Kshatriya who ran away from Grihasth Ashram to the jungle fearing life responsibilities, pain, sacrifice, sorrow and commitment. Later he came into contact with several Hindu Brahmins who taught him Vedas. He used all concepts of vedic teachings to experience nirvana. His disciples created a fake cult on his name to enjoy authority and power among gullible neo converts. Vedic teachings made Gautam into Buddha but no Buddhist teachings ever created another Buddha.
The shameless scavenging act of presenting original Sanatan Hindu ideas, scripts, thoughts, teachings, thousands of years of refined knowledge and work as creation of own’s cult is Buddhism. The shamelessness is so deep that they even created several fake deities to match up with original Hindu Gods and Goddesses. They further certified this by commiting acts of terrorism in destroying countless Hindu temples and even stealing several mandirs to install their fake deities.
Why Buddhists Globally Stole or Destroyed Hindu Temples?
The core reason lies in the creation of fake cult. Cult thrives only in opposition. Though Buddhism emerged as a cheap offshoot of Hindu Dharma, it wanted to extend its sustenance, that is why several fake concepts shamelessly copying Hindu scripts were created.
A cult follows a book or a doctrine or a single figure who is leader of the group. No cult can survive with the objective of oneness. The oxygen for a cult to sustain is creating opposition to thrive under chaos. Cults indoctrinate their members with a ‘Us versus Them’ mindset in order to keep their control. Because they are successful at separating their followers from their prior, non-cult lives, cults demonstrate their authority.
They create one cult manual (or book) and elevate one mortal figure as God like then create a selected group of cult leaders who control the cult rules and rituals thereby enjoying power in guise of adhering to fake mortal figure, also expecting the followers to blindly consider the mortal figure as their god and only source of salvation. Most of the cult leaders are motivated to preach a message and persuade others to follow by their insane or narcissistic personalities. Cult leaders do this, among other things, by persuading their adherents that they are superior to outsiders. The continuous discrimination towards non-cult people invoke deep sense of inferiority complex deeply in subconscious mind. The false division is creation to justify existence of the cult and deem the unqiueness of cult with others. This further develop lethargic attitude to the dangerous level of presenting cult members as helpless victims rather than accepting responsibility for all the wrong doings and atrocities committed by the cult members. All acts of terrorism is justified by the cult members faking atrocity and acquired victimhood collective personality. In some years, this develops depression, deep hatred, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and fear to accept truth. The cult members develop an invisible wall w.r.t other non-cult people. The same traits are inherited from one generation to next generation, it further solidifies. Both Buddhism and Islam are based on same sense of baseless superiority filled with hatred towards Hindu Dharma. While the historical fact remains unchanged that both cults have no major contribution to the humanity. Buddhism is cheap plagiarized version of some anatma concepts of Hindu Dharma while islam is hybrid cult of mixing concepts of Hindu Dharma, Christianity and Judaism.
Buddhism have one cult figure, a Hindu Kshatriya Gautam Buddha. They unleashed evil energies by creating several false gods, goddesses and deities to match with antiquity and eternal superiority of Sanatan Hindu Dharma.
Fanatic Buddhist Ashoka heavily funded sly Buddhist monks in creating fake narratives, stories and tales all copying from Hindu texts and history of past Hindu kings.