Tour to Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia - Angkor Wat photos

April 2013

The temple of Angkor Wat is probably the most famous and well known among all the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. Built by the Khmer almost a millennium ago, the temple of Angkor Wat is one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in the world, visited by millions of tourists every year.

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Naga - seven-headed serpent
At the access to the great temple of Angkor Wat there are the statue of the mythical Naga, the seven-headed serpent protector of Buddha, and the statue of the guardian lion.

 

Angkor Wat Entrance

Angkor Wat pictures.

Angkor Wat in Khmer language means "Temple of the City" and it was built during the twelfth century AD by King Suryavarman II in order to create a huge mausoleum where he could be worshipped after his death, dedicating it to God Vishnu as well.

The temple of Angkor Wat is surrounded on four sides by a large moat full of water, with the inner perimeter of nearly 4 kilometers. You can enter the temple by a long embankment paved with stone.

Angkor Temple  in Cambodia Moat around Angkor Wat

 

Angkor  Temple - Cambodia
After the long embankment, you reach the entrance that allows access to the first courtyard of the huge archaeological complex of Angkor Wat.

 

Devata Devata in Angkor Wat
You can immediately see the first beautiful sculptures of female figures, called devatas, which dominate everywhere along the walls of the temple of Angkor Wat. As said before about Angkor Thom, the real reason why Khmer women are so frequently depicted is still not entirely clear to archaeologists; it is believed, however, that they represent the goddesses and who don’t only have a simple function of decoration.

 

Vishnu
Near the entrance, there is also a statue of Vishnu, a male deity to whom the temple of Angkor Wat was dedicated.

 

Photos of Angkor Wat. After the outer wall, you enter the courtyard where the great towers of the central building appear in all their majesty.




 

Naga in Cambodia Library in  Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat photos. In the courtyard there are small buildings which were probably library. The handrail present along the drive once again represents the Naga, the body of a snake which terminates at one end with the characteristic seven heads.



 

Temple of Angkor Wat
Photo of the Angkor Wat temple. The central structure of the archaeological complex is organized on three terraced levels, which allow access to the central tower.

 

Bas-relief in Angkor Wat Bas-reliefs in Angkor Wat
Along the corridors there are immense low-reliefs representing mainly religious and funeral scenes.






 

Yard of Angkor Wat Temple
The climb to the first level of Angkor Wat.

 

Some views of the inner courtyard, taken from the first level.

 

Pool in Angkor Wat
The central part of the first level contains a large swimming pool with stairs that were used to enter and come out easily from water.

 

Angkor Wat Tower Angkor Wat Towers
Then I go to the second level, where you can observe the great towers summit whit their central shrine.





 

Female figures in Angkor Wat Figures of Khmer women
Photo of devatas. Everywhere there are beautiful low-reliefs depicting Khmer women in detail.





 

Yard of Angkor Wat
On the terrace of the second level, there are plenty of female low-reliefs.

 

Sandstone  in Cambodia Sculpture in sandstone
Much of the temple of Angkor Wat is built in sandstone, relatively easy to work as rather soft. Looking closely at the sculptures, you can see the grains of sand that make up the sandstone itself.

 

View of Angkor Wat Angkor Wat seen from above Cambodia
Then I go up to the third level of the temple of Angkor Wat, where there is a beautiful panoramic view of the temple itself and the jungle that surrounds it.





 

Angkor Wat Towers Central shrine  Angkor Wat Angkor temples
The inner part of the third level contains the central shrine and the large tower which rises up to 43 meters (65 meters if it is measure from the ground level).




 

Angkor Wat sculptures
The devata are also carved on the facade of the large central tower.

 

Buddha with Naga
Around the central shrine of the third level, there is a gallery along the entire perimeter (as well as for the other two levels) where there are other depictions of women, Buddha statues and representations of the Naga (snake with seven heads).

 

Paradise- Purgatory and Hell
Coming back and going down to the first level, I come across a beautiful low-relief representing heaven, purgatory and hell.

 

Library inAngkor Wat
Back in the courtyard, I find other buildings that were used as a library.






 

Stupa in Cambodia
In the courtyard there is also a stupa (funerary monument according to the Buddhist religion).

 

Angkor Angkor Temple
Coming out from the central building of Angkor Wat to the large outdoor courtyard.

 

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
The Angkor Wat tour ends with a beautiful view towards the central building, which is reflected in a pond.

 

Rude tourists Nosy tourists
A sad final note: unfortunately you have to know that the temples of Angkor are “assailed” by about 2 million tourists every year, and that in most cases they are pushy and rude tourists. In fact, the people, wanting to be photographed in front of a work of art, do not hesitate to slip everywhere; this behaviour not only put at risk the ruins themselves, but also disturb those visitors who want to observe and photograph the site without any disturbing smiling face. If we consider that all the tourists have now at least one smart phones... the resulting situation is understandable (sometimes I even had to wait more than 10 minutes to take my picture "clean"). Therefore I strongly advise people not to travel to Cambodia in high season (December and August) and recommend visitors to take pictures from a distance, using as subject the works of art and not themselves (to know what you look like, you just need to look at the mirror or to take a photo of yourself at home on the sofa: no need to go to Cambodia!)

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English translation by Lorena Anzani.