Angkor is the World's largest religious area, there are more than 100 stone temples build by Khmer King since 9th - 13th Century. Angkor located in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, 315 km. north-west of Phnom Penh.
The majestic temples of Angkor belong to the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. Today, a millennium after built these temples, and the temples stand solitary and alone in the jungle.
is the World Heritage and is the largest monument in the World, with a value of stone equaling that of the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt.
Angkor Wat, For once, the modern name of a temple is completely justified. Angkor Wat, The City [which became a] Pagoda was not only the grandest and most sublim of all the Khmer temples, but also a city in its own right. It was built during the reign of Suryavarman II, in the first half of the 12th century, both as the capital and the State Temple dedicated to Vishnu.
The State Temple of Jayavarman VII and his immediate successors, is one of the most enigmatic and powerful religious constructions in the world. The temple is extremely complex both in terms of its structure and meaning, having passed through different religious phases from Pantheon of the gods, Hindu worship and Buddhism. It uses, uniquely, a mass of face towers to create a stone mountain of ascending peaks. There is some dispute about the number of towers. There were originally 49 towers even though Paul Mus thought there should be 54. Today only 37 are standing. Most are carved with four faces on each cardinal point but sometimes there are only three or even just two. The central tower has many more.
One of the largest of all Khmer cities, was founded by Jayavarman VII and probably remained the capital until the 17th century. Angko Thom overlaps the SE corner of the first capital of Yasodharapura (end of 9th century) and incorporates temples of previous centuries, notably Bapuon and Phimeanakas. And as it remained the capital of Jayavarman's successors, there are many later additions and some re-modelling. Its name, which dates at least from the 16th century, appropriately enough, means, Great City.
This long terrace at the heart of Angkor Thom, looking out over the Royal Square, was the foundation for Royal reception pavilions; the carvings of elephants along its walls give it its modern name. Complexity of its layout is increased by its partly collapsed state, with trees interlaced among the ruins.
Ta Phrom Temple, One of the most romantic temples of Angkor's site, where the nature resumed its rights and disrupted the work of the men. A magic place which was built in 1186, this convent Buddhist was the most gigantic of Angkor's site. The Conservation of Angkor saved the main monuments, but didn't clean' it. All the trees and the roots which had invaded and left the rights for the jungle, such as found him by the first discoverers. Roots look like snakes which disrupt and waste statues and walls, and huge trees beat the heads of stuppas. A forest which doesn't want to let escape his gods and which destroys them or protects them.... A place loaded with emotion and poetry for the meditation. A magic temple in the sunset. 12,000 persons lived in the surrounding wall of the " Convent of King " 8 centuries previously, and his construction was ended at the beginning of the XIIIth century.
In some respects a smaller version of Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, the contemporary temple of Banteay Kdei retains what Maurice Glaize called "The Spirit of Confusion" which reigned over the works of Jayavarman VII. Its size, however, makes it easier to visit. Buddhist, with face-towers at the entrances, it was probably built over the site of another temple dating from the 10th century reign of Rajendravarman, and probably the work of the Royal architect Kavindrarimathana. Unlike Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, only small inscriptions of Jayavarman VII's time document the temple. The surrounding town was later enclosed by a wall, almost to the size of Ta Prohm.
A giant Temple-Mountain in the tradition of the Bakheng and Pre Rup, Ta Keo stand out for being the first of these great undertakings to be built entirely of sandstone. Its appearance is all the more massive for being incomplete, Indeed, the temple carving had only just begun when worked stopped.
The small baray of Srah Srang has retained its water for more than nine centuries and offers a beautiful, tranquil resting-place. The best access is from the stone landing stage opposite the east entrance of Banteay Kdei. As the road is below the level of the baray's earth bank, the view from the terrace over the water comes as a pleasant surprise.
The five brick sanctuaries of Prasat Kravan are not, at first glance, very prepossessing. However, they contain very fine interior brick bas-reliefs, the only known examples of their type in Khmner art. The temple, whose modern name means "Cardamom Sanctuary", (named after a tree that stood there), was built in the early 10th century during the short reigns of either Harshavarman I or Isanavarman II by a group of high officials and has a twin - Prasat Neang Khmau (Sanctuary of the Black Lady) S of Phnom Penh mear Ta Keo. The interior decoration at Prasat Neang Khmau, however is in the form of frescoes, Both temples were dedicated to Vishnu, which is reflected in their decoration.
The name, relatively modern, means, Citadel of the Women or perhaps Citadel of Beauty and presumably refers to its size and the delicacy of its decoration. Banteay Srei was not a royal temple. It was built by one of Rajendravarman's counsellors, Yajnavaraha, who was also the guru of the future king Jayavarman V. Yajnavaraha was granted this land on the banks of the upper Siem Reap river by the King. He and his younger brother commissioned the temple, which was finished just a year before King Rajendravarman died. As usual, a settlement surrounded the temple, in this case the name of the small city was Isvarapura. Routinely described in gushing terms as the "Jewel of Khmer Art", Banteay Srei is nevertheless a temple of great beauty and compares with little else in Angkor. Its miniature scale almost always surprises visitors. And the near total decoration of its surfaces is exceptional.
Phnom Kulen and the River of a Thousand Lingas
are worth the bumpy journey some 45 km from Siem Reap. In fact there are 2 sites on the river: the first is Kbal Spean, which is easily reachable and is referred to as the River of a Thousand Lingas. The Kulen site proper is the second location.
means The Head of the Bridge, at the base of the mountain is the River of a Thousand Lingas. You will see a rocky riverbed that has been sculpted into thousands of lingas or phallic images. It was believed that the sculpted stone lingas would bless the water with an abundance of fertility as it flowed downstream towards the Royal city of Angkor.
the Lychee Mountain is a sand stone plateau which Khmers regard as a holy ground. It overlooks the Banteay Srei temple and is where the Angkor Empire began, dating back to the 11th century.
in all there are some 10 kilometers of beaches on the mainland around the edges of town. Sihanoukvilles four main beaches are Victory, Independent, Sokha and Ochental. The nicest beach is Sokha
Tonle Sap Lake
the Great Lake is an ecological paradise with a floating village and sacred mountain and river. In 1997, UNESCO declared the Tonle Sap Lake a Biosphere Reserve owing to its rich ecosystem.