The word "Angkor" is a derived Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, of "Nagara" which means "City". Angkor Wat literally means "City turned into Buddhist Monastery". Regarded as the supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture, the Temple of Angkor Wat was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu by King Suryavarman II, who reigned between AD 1131 and 1150. The Temple was constructed over a period of 30 years, and illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art.
Covering an area of about 81 hectares, the complex consists of five towers, which are presently shown on the Cambodian national flag. These towers are believed to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, the Home of Gods and Center of the Hindu Universe. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu Mythology.
A moat and three galleries encircle the five central shrines. From the west one approaches the first outer gallery over a long bridge over the moat. The first gallery has square pillars on the outer side and a closed wall on the inner side. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus rosettes; the closed wall is decorated with dancing figures. On the outside the inner wall is decorated with pillared windows, apsaras (heavenly nymphs) and dancing male figures on prancing animals. Apsaras are found on the walls of all galleries. From the first gallery a long avenue leads to the second gallery. This is reached via a raised platform with lions on both sides of a staircase. The inner walls of the second gallery contain continuous narrative relief. The western wall shows scenes from the Mahabharata. The third gallery encloses the five shrines which are built on a raised terrace and are interconnected by galleries. Angkor Wat is undoubtedly the relics of the past Khmer Civilization.
Location : 7 km north of city centre, 7 km east of Siem Reap International Airport.
Time to visit : Early morning and Late afternoon (Sunrise and Sunset).
Direction : Main access to the west side make it the best time to see in the afternoon.
Visiting duration : Average 2 hours or longer depend on visitor interest.
What to see : Bas -relief on the first gallery, Beautiful Apsara dancer, Bakan with great view on the third level.
Dress code : More comfortable to wear light and short sleeve clothes, Bakan (3rd level) is restricted so please cover shoulder and stay at knee level. You will miss this part if you are wearing short.
Sunrise at Angkor is a magical landscape which should be missed.
A good place for sunrise at Angkor Wat where you will see how busy every morning with number of tourists.
A great view of Angkor Wat during sunset.