Cambogia angkor

Cambogia angkor
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Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.

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Angkor est l’un des principaux sites archéologiques de l’Asie du Sud-Est. S’étendant sur quelque 400 km2 couverts en partie par la forêt, le parc archéologique d’Angkor recèle les admirables vestiges des différentes capitales de l’Empire khmer qui rayonna entre le IXe et le XVe siècle : le célèbre temple d’Angkor Vat et, à Angkor Thom, le temple du Bayon orné d’innombrables sculptures. L’UNESCO a mis en œuvre un vaste programme de sauvegarde de ce site symbole et de son environnement.

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يمثّل موقع أنغكور أحد أهم المواقع الأثرية في جنوب شرق آسيا. تمتد هذه الحديقة الأثرية على حوالى 400 كم٢ من الأراضي المغطاة جزئياً بالغابات وتزخر بالآثار الرائعة للعواصم المختلفة لإمبراطورية الخمير التي سطع نجمها بين القرن التاسع والقرن الخامس عشر. ومن أبرز هذه الآثار، معبد أنغكور فات الشهير ومعبد بايون، في أنغكور توم، المزيّن بالعديد من المنحوتات. ولقد وضعت اليونسكو برنامجاً واسع النطاق لحماية هذه الموقع الرمزي والبيئة المحيطة به.

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吴哥窟是东南亚最重要的考古学遗址之一。吴哥窟遗址公园占地面积达400多平方公里,包括森林地区,有9至15世纪高棉王国(the Khmer Empire)各个时期首都的辉煌遗迹,其中包括了著名的吴哥寺(Angkor Wat),以及坐落在吴哥索姆(Angkor Thom)以无数雕塑饰品而著称的白永寺庙(Bayon Temple)。联合国教科文组织已经对这一遗址及其周边制定了一项覆盖范围广泛的保护计划。

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Ангкор является одним из важнейших археологических объектов в Юго-Восточной Азии. Раскинувшийся на площади, превышающей вместе с лесными массивами 400 кв. км, Ангкорский археологический парк располагает великолепными руинами, сохранившимися от нескольких столиц империи Кхмеров IX–XV вв. Это знаменитый храм Ангкор-Ват, храм Байон в Ангкор-Тхоме с бесчисленными скульптурными украшениями. ЮНЕСКО разработала комплексную программу охраны этого имеющего символическое значение объекта и его окружения.

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Angkor es uno de los sitios arqueológicos más importantes del Asia Sudoriental. Se extiende por unos 400 km2, cubiertos en gran parte por la selva, y encierra los admirables vestigios de las distintas capitales del Imperio Jémer, que estuvo en su apogeo entre los siglos IX y XIV. Entre esos vestigios destacan el célebre templo de Angkor Vat y el del Bayon, situado en Angkor Thom, que está ornamentado con innumerables esculturas. La UNESCO ha puesto en marcha un vasto programa de salvaguardia de este sitio simbólico y de su entorno.

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Angkor – in het noorden van de provincie Siem Reap in Cambodja – is een van de belangrijkste archeologische sites van Zuidoost-Azië. Het strekt zich uit over ongeveer 400 vierkante kilometer en bestaat uit tal van tempels, kunstwerken (bekkens, dijken, reservoirs, kanalen) en verbindingswegen. Het archeologisch park Angkor bevat de prachtige restanten van de verschillende hoofdsteden van het Khmer Rijk, van de 9e tot de 15e eeuw. De overblijfselen omvatten de beroemde tempel van Angkor Wat en de Bayon tempel in Angkor Thom, met talloze gebeeldhouwde decoraties. Het park wordt bewoond door mensen met voorouders uit de Angkor periode.

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Outstanding Universal Value

Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 400 square kilometres and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes. For several centuries Angkor, was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom. With impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, exemplars of Khmer architecture, are closely linked to their geographical context as well as being imbued with symbolic significance. The architecture and layout of the successive capitals bear witness to a high level of social order and ranking within the Khmer Empire. Angkor is therefore a major site exemplifying cultural, religious and symbolic values, as well as containing high architectural, archaeological and artistic significance.

The park is inhabited, and many villages, some of whom the ancestors are dating back to the Angkor period are scattered throughout the park. The population practices agriculture and more specifically rice cultivation.

Criterion (i): The Angkor complex represents the entire range of Khmer art from the 9th to the 14th centuries, and includes a number of indisputable artistic masterpieces (e.g. Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Banteay Srei).

Criterion (ii): The influence of Khmer art as developed at Angkor was a profound one over much of South-east Asia and played a fundamental role in its distinctive evolution.

Criterion (iii): The Khmer Empire of the 9th-14th centuries encompassed much of South-east Asia and played a formative role in the political and cultural development of the region. All that remains of that civilization is its rich heritage of cult structures in brick and stone.

Criterion (iv): Khmer architecture evolved largely from that of the Indian sub-continent, from which it soon became clearly distinct as it developed its own special characteristics, some independently evolved and others acquired from neighboring cultural traditions. The result was a new artistic horizon in oriental art and architecture.

The Angkor complex encompasses all major architectural buildings and hydrological engineering systems from the Khmer period and most of these “barays” and canals still exist today. All the individual aspects illustrate the intactness of the site very much reflecting the splendor of the cities that once were. The site integrity however, is put under dual pressures:

  1. endogenous: exerted by more than 100,000 inhabitants distributed over 112 historic settlements scattered over the site, who constantly try to expand their dwelling areas;
  2. exogenous: related to the proximity of the town of Siem Reap, the seat of the province and a tourism hub.

Previous conservation and restoration works at Angkor between 1907 and 1992, especially by the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), the Archaeological Survey of India, the Polish conservation body PKZ, and the World Monuments Fund have had no significant impact on the overall authenticity of the monuments that make up the Angkor complex and do not obtrude upon the overall impression gained from individual monuments.

Protection and management requirements

The property is legally protected by the Royal Decree on the Zoning of the Region of Siem Reap/Angkor adopted on 28 May 1994 and the Law on the protection of the natural and cultural heritage promulgated on 25 January 1996, the Royal Decree on the creation of the APSARA National Authority (Authority for the protection of the site and the management of the Angkor Region) adopted on 19 February 1995, the No. 70 SSR government Decision, dated 16 September 2004 providing for land‐use in the Angkor Park: “All lands located in zone 1 and 2 of the Angkor site are State properties”, and the sub-decree No. 50 ANK/BK on the organisation and functioning of the APSARA National Authority adopted on 9 May 2008, specifically provided for the establishment of a Department of Land‐use and Habitat Management in the Angkor Park.

In order to strengthen and to clarify the ownership and building codes in the protected zones 1 and 2, boundary posts have been put in 2004 and 2009 and the action was completed in 2012.

As off 1993, the ICC-Angkor (International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the historic site of Angkor) created on 13 October 1993, ensures the coordination of the successive scientific, restoration and conservation related projects, executed by the Royal Cambodian Government and its international partners. It ensures the consistency of the various projects, and defines, when necessary, technical and financial standards and calls the attention of all the concerned parties when required. It also contributes to the overall management of the property and its sustainable development.

The successful conservation of the property by the APSARA National Authority, monitored by the ICC-Angkor, was crowned by the removal of the property from the World Heritage List in danger in 2004.

Angkor is one of the largest archaeological sites in operation in the world. Tourism represents an enormous economic potential but it can also generate irreparable destructions of the tangible as well as intangible cultural heritage. Many research projects have been undertaken, since the international safeguarding program was first launched in 1993.The scientific objectives of the research (e.g. anthropological studies on socio-economic conditions) result in a better knowledge and understanding of the history of the site, and its inhabitants that constitute a rich exceptional legacy of the intangible heritage. The purpose is to associate the “intangible culture” to the enhancement of the monuments in order to sensitize the local population to the importance and necessity of its protection and preservation and assist in the development of the site as Angkor is a living heritage site where Khmer people in general, but especially the local population, are known to be particularly conservative with respect to ancestral traditions and where they adhere to a great number of archaic cultural practices that have disappeared elsewhere.

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The inhabitants venerate the temple deities and organize ceremonies and rituals in their honor, involving prayers, traditional music and dance. Moreover, the Angkor Archaeological Park is very rich in medicinal plants, used by the local population for treatment of diseases. The plants are prepared and then brought to different temple sites for blessing by the gods. The Preah Khan temple is considered to have been a university of medicine and the NeakPoan an ancient hospital. These aspects of intangible heritage are further enriched by the traditional textile and basket weaving practices and palm sugar production, which all result in products that are being sold on local markets and to the tourists, thus contributing to the sustainable development and livelihood of the population living in and around the World Heritage site.

A Public Investigation Unit was created as « measure instrument » for identifying the needs, expectations and behaviors of visitors in order to set policies, monitor its evolution, prepare a flux management policy and promote the unknown sites.

The management of the Angkor Site, which is inhabited, also takes into consideration the population living in the property by associating them to the tourist economic growth in order to strive for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Two major contributions supporting the APSARA National Authority in this matter are:

  1. The Angkor Management Plan (AMP) and Community Development Participation Project (CDPP), a bilateral cooperation with the Government of New Zealand. The AMP helps the APSARA National Authority to reorganize and strengthen the institutional aspects, and the CDPP prepares the land use map with an experimental participation of the communities and supports small projects related to tourist development in order to improve the income of villagers living in the protected zones;
  2. The Heritage Management Framework composed of a Tourism Management Plan and a Risk map on monuments and natural resources; a multilateral cooperation with the Government of Australia and UNESCO. Preliminary analytical and planning work for the management strategy will take into account the necessity to preserve the special atmosphere of Angkor. All decisions must guarantee physical, spiritual, and emotional accessibility to the site for the visitors.

Angkor Wat - 7th Wonder of the World

ANGKOR WAT was listed in World Wonder List

Angkor Wat, in its beauty and state of preservation, is unrivaled. Its mightiness and magnificence bespeak a pomp and a luxury surpassing that of a Pharaoh or a Shah Jahan, an impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic distinctiveness as fine as that of the Taj Mahal. Angkor Wat is located about six kilometers (four miles) north of Siem Reap, south of Angkor Thom. Entry and exit to Angkor Wat can only be access from its west gate.

Angkor Wat was built in the first half of the 12th century (113-5BC). Estimated construction time of the temple is 30 years by King Suryavarman II, dedicated to Vishnu (Hindu), replica of Angkor Thom style of art.

BACKGROUND

Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world.

Wat is the Khmer name for temple (the French spelling is "vat "), which was probably added to "Angkor "when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument, most likely in the sixteenth century. After 1432 when the capital moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was cared for by Buddhist monks.

It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function.

ARCHITECTURAL PLAN

The plan of Angkor Wat is difficult to grasp when walking through the monument because of the vastness. Its complexity and beauty both attract and distract one's attention. From a distance Angkor Wat appears to be a colossal mass of stone on one level with a long causeway leading to the center but close up it is a series of elevated towers, covered galleries, chambers, porches and courtyards on different levels linked by stairways.

The height of Angkor Wat from the ground to the top of the central tower is greater than it might appear: 213 meters (699 feet), achieved with three rectangular or square levels (1-3) Each one is progressively smaller and higher than the one below starting from the outer limits of the temple.

Covered galleries with columns define the boundaries of the first and second levels. The third level supports five towers –four in the corners and one in the middle and these is the most prominent architectural feature of Angkor Wat. This arrangement is sometimes called a quincunx. Graduated tiers, one rising above the other, give the towers a conical shape and, near the top, rows of lotuses taper to a point.

Apsara Statue at Angkor Wat

The overall profile imitates a lotus bud, Several architectural lines stand out in the profile of the monument. The eye is drawn left and right to the horizontal aspect of the levels and upward to the soaring height of the towers. The ingenious plan of Angkor Wat only allows a view of all five towers from certain angles. They are not visible, for example, from the entrance. Many of the structures and courtyards are in the shape of a cross. The. Visitor should study the plan on page 86 and become familiar with this dominant layout. A curved sloping roof on galleries, chambers and aisles is a hallmark of Angkor Wat. From a distance it looks like a series of long narrow ridges but close up from identifies itself. It is a roof made of gracefully arched stone rectangles placed end to end. Each row of tiles is capped with an end tile at right angles the ridge of the roof.

The scheme culminates in decorated tympanums with elaborate frames. Steps provide access to the various levels. Helen Churchill Candee, who visited Angkor in the 1920s, thought their usefulness surpassed their architectural purpose.

The steps to Angkor Wat are made to force a halt at beauteous obstruction that the mind may be prepared for the atmosphere of sanctity, she wrote In order to become familiar with the composition of Angkor Wat the visitor should learn to recognize the repetitive elements in the architecture. Galleries with columns, towers, curved roofs, tympanums, steps and the cross-shaped plan occur again and again.

It was by combining two or more of these aspects that a sense of height was achieved. This arrangement was used to link one part of the monument to another. Roofs were frequently layered to add height, length or dimension. A smaller replica of the central towers was repeated at the limits of two prominent areas-the galleries and the entry pavilions. The long causeway at the entrance reappears on the other side of the entry pavilion.

Angkor Wat is a miniature replica of the universe in stone and represents an earthly model of the cosmic world. The central tower rises from the center of the monument symbolizing the mythical mountain, Meru, situated at the center of the universe. Its five towers correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall corresponds to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat the oceans beyond.

Even though Angkor Wat is the most photographed Khmer monument, nothing approaches the actual experience of seeing this temple. Frank Vincent grasped this sensation over 100 years ago.

The general appearance of the wonder of the temple is beautiful and romantic as well as impressive and grand it must be seen to be understood and appreciated. One can never look upon the ensemble of the vat without a thrill, a pause, a feeling of being caught up onto the heavens. Perhaps it is the most impressive sight in the world of edifices.

Angkor Wat occupies a rectangular area of about 208 hectares (500 acres) defined by a laetrile wall. The first evidence of the site is a moat with a long sandstone causeway (length 250 meters, 820 feet; width 12 meters, 39 feet) crossing it and serving as the main access to the monument. The moat is 200 meters (656 feel) wide with a perimeter of 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles).

The west entrance begins with steps leading to a raised sandstone terrace in the shape of a cross at the foot of the long causeway. Giant stone lions on each side of the terrace guard the monument. Looking straight ahead, one can see at the end of the causeway the entry gate with three towers of varying heights and with collapsed upper portion. This entry tower hides the full view of the five towers of the central group. A long covered failure with square columns and a curved roof extends along the moat to the left and right of the entry tower. This is the majestic facade of Angkor Wat and a fine example of classical Khmer architecture.

Helen Churchill candee must have been standing on this terrace almost 70 years ago when she wrote Any architect would thrill at the harmony of the fasade, an unbroken stretch of repeated pillars leading from the far angles of the structure to the central opening, which is dominated, by three imposing towers with broken summits. This facade originally had another row of pillars with a roof. Evidence of this remains in a series of round holes set in square based in front of the standing pillars.

Tip Before proceeding along the causeway turns right, go down the steps of the terrace and walk along the path a few meters for a view of all five towers of Angkor Wat.

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Return to the center of the terrace and walk down the causeway towards the main part of the temple. The left-hand side of the causeway has more original sand stone than the right-hand side, which was restored by the French.

In the 1920 when RJ Casey walked on this causeway he noted it was an oddity of engineering The slabs were cut in irregular shapes, which meant that each had to be chiseled to fit the one adjoining. The effect as seen under the noonday sun. is like that of a long strip of watered silk'10 On the left side just before the midway point in the causeway two large feet are carved in a block of sandstone. They belong to one of the figures at the entrances to Angkor Thom and were brought to Angkor Wat in this century the causeway was repaired with reused stones.

The upper portions of the three sections on this tower-one each at the center and the two ends – have collapsed. The porches on each end of the gallery may have served as passages for elephants, horses and carts as they are on ground level.

When Helen Churchill Candee saw these entrances in the 1920 she remarked that architecture made to fit the passage of elephants is an idea most inspiriting. A figure of a standing Visnu (eight arms) is in the right inside the entry tower. Traces of original color can be seen on the ceiling of the entry tower at the left. Continue westward along a second raised walkway (length 350 meters, 1,148 feet; width 9 meters, 30 feet).

A low balustrade resembling the body of a serpent borders each side. Short columns support the balustrade. Looking west one sees the celebrate view of Angkor Wat that appears on the Cambodian flag. Standing at this point one teels compelled to get to the wondrous group of the five domes, companions of the sky, sisters of the clouds, and determine whether or not one lives in a world of reality or in a fantastic dream. Six pairs of ceremonial stairs with platforms on each side of the walkway lead to the courtyard.

A continuation of the serpent balustrade along the walkway frames the stairs. This arrangement is sometimes called a landing platform. The balustrade terminates with the body of the serpent making a turn at right angles towards the sky and gracefully spreading its nine heads to from the shape of a fan. Two buildings, so-called libraries stand in the courtyard on the left and right, just past the middle of the causeway. These 'jewel-boxes Khmer art 'are perfectly formed.

A large central area, four porches, columns and steps present a symmetrical plan in the shape of a cross. Some of the columns have been replaced with cement copies for support. An original pillar lies on the ground before the library on the left. In front of the libraries are two basins (length 65 meters, 213 feet, width 50 meters, 164 feet) the one on the left is filled with water whereas the other lone is usually dry.

Tip Turn left at the first steps after the library and before the basin and follow the path for about 40 meters (131 feet) to a large tree for a superb view of the five towers of Angkor Wat, particularly at sunrise. The walkway leads to a terrace kin the shape of a cross, known as the Terrace of Honor, Just in front of the principal entry tower of Angkor Wat.

Supporting columns and horizontal carved molding around the base accentuate the form of the terrace. Steps flanked by lions on pedestals are on three sides of the terrace. Ritual dances were performed here and it may have been where the king viewed processions and received foreign dignitaries. R Casey sensed such activity in the 1920s One cannot but feel that only a few hours ago it was palpitating with life. The torches were burning about the altars.

Companies of priests were in the galleries chanting the rituals. Dancing girls were flitting up and down the steps. that was only an hour or two ago, monsieur. it cannot have been more.. From the top of the terrace there is a fine view of the gallery on the first level, known as the Gallery of Bas-reliefs (215 by 187 meters, 705 by 614 feet). The outer side, closest to the visitor, comprises a row of 60 columns whereas the inner side is a solid wall decorated with bas-reliefs.

Tip: At this point the visitor has the choice of continuing straight to the central towers or turning right to see the Gallery of Bas-reliefs (see pages 96-108 for a description of the bas-reliefs). The unit providing a link between the first and second levels is the Cross-shaped Galleries. This unique architectural design consists of two covered galleries with square columns in the shape of a cross and a courtyard divided into four equal parts with paved basins and steps. The method used by the Khmers to form corbel arches is visible in the vaults. Several decorative features in these galleries stand out windows with balusters turned as if they were made of wood, rosettes on the vaults, a frieze of Apsaras under the cornices, and ascetics at the base of the columns.

Tip: Some of the pillars in the galleries of this courtyard have inscriptions written in Sanskrit and Khmer. On either side of the courtyard there are two libraries of similar form but smaller than the ones along the entrance causeway The Gallery of 1,000 Buddha's, on the right, once contained many images dating from the period when Angkor Wat was Backlist. Only a few of these figures remain today. The gallery on the left is the Hall of Echoes, so named because of its unusual acoustics.

Tip: To hear the resonance in the Hall of Echoes walk to the end of the gallery, stand in the left-hand corner with your back to the wall, thump your chest and listen carefully. Those who want to visit the library should leave the door at the end of this gallery. There is a good view of the upper level of Angkor Wat from this library.

Return to the center of the cross-shaped galleries and continue walking toward the central towers. Another set of stairs alerts one to the continuing ascent. The outer wall of the gallery of the second level, closest to the visitor, (100 by 115 meters, 328 by 377 feet), is solid and undecorated, probably to create an environment for meditation by the priests and the king.

The starkness of the exterior of the second level gallery is offset by the decoration of the interior. Over 1,500 Apsaras (celestial dancers) line the walls of the gallery offering endless visual and spiritual enchantment. These graceful and beautiful females delight all visitors. They were crated by the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

When one first walks into the courtyard the multitude of female figures on the walls and in the niches may seem repetitive but as one moves closer and looks carefully one sees that every one of these celestial nymphs is different, the elaborate coiffures, headdresses and jewellery befit, yet never overpower, these 'ethereal inhabitants of the heavens' Apsaras appear at Angkor Wat for the first time in twos and threes. These groups break with the traditional of decoration kin other part of the temple by standing with arms linked in coquettish postures and always in frontal view except for the feet, which appear in profile.

Pang, a Cambodian poet, in a tribute to the Khmer ideal of female beauty wrote of the Apsaras in the seventeenth century. These millions of gracious figures, filling you with such emotion that the eye is never wearied, the soul is renewed, and the heart sated! They were never carved by the hands of men! They were created by the gods living, lovely, breathing women! Only the king and the high priest were allowed on the upper or third level of Angkor Wat, it lacks the stately covered galleries of the other two but is the base of the five central towers, one of which contains the most sacred image of the temple.

The square base (60 meters, 197 feet long) of the upper level is 13 meters (43 feet) high and raises over 40 meters (131 feet) above the second level. Twelve sets of stairs with 40 steps each one in the center of each side and two at the corners-ascend at a 70-degree angle giving access to this level.

Tip: The stairway to the third level is less steep on the west (center) but those who suffer from vertigo should use the south stairway (center, which has concrete steps and a handrail. the steps on all sides are exceptionally narrow. the visitor should ascend and descend sideways. All the repetitive elements of the architectural composition of Angkor Wat appear on the upper level. The space is divided into a cross-shaped area defined with covered galleries and four paved courts. An entry tower with a porch and columns is at the top of each stairway. Passages supported on both sides with double rows of columns link the entry tower to the central structure. The corners of the upper level are dominated by the four towers. Steps both separate and link the different parts. A narrow covered gallery with a double row of pillars and windows and balusters on the outer side surrounds the third level. The Central sanctuary rises on a tiered base 42 meters (137 feet) above the upper level. The highest of the five towers, it is equal in height to the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. This central sanctuary sheltered the sacred image of the temple. It originally had four porches opening to the cardinal directions. The central core was walled up some time after the sacking of Angkor in the middle if the fifteenth century. Nearly 500 years later French archaeologists discovered a vertical shaft 27 meters (89 feet) below the surface in the center of the upper level with a hoard of gold objects at the base. At the summit the layout of Angkor Wat reveals itself at last. The view is a spectacle of beauty befitting the Khmer's architectural genius for creating harmonious proportions.

Tip: Walk all the way around the outer gallery of the upper level to enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside, the causeway in the west and the central group of towers.

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You have not quite an aerial view the Phnom is not high enough for that . But you can see enough to realize something of the superb audacity of the architects who dared to embark upon a single plan measuring nearly a mile square. Your point of view is diagonal, across the north-west corner of the moat to the soaring lotus-tip of the central sanctuary, you can trace the perfect balance of every faultless line, Worshipful for its beauty bewildering in its stupendous size, there is no other point from which the Wat appears so inconceivable an undertaking to have been attempted-much less achieved by human brains and hands.

By their beauty they first attract, by their strangeness they hold attention, Helen Churchill Candee wrote of the bas-reliefs in the 1920 .The Gallery of Bas-reliefs, surrounding the first level of Angkor Wat, contains 1,200 square meters (12,917 square feet) of sandstone carvings. The relief covers most of the inner wall of all four sides of the gallery and extend for two meters (seven feet) from top to bottom.

The detail, quality composition and execution give them an unequalled status in world art. Columns along the outer wall of the gallery create an intriguing interplay of light and shadow on the relief. The effect is one of textured wallpaper that looks like the work of painters rather than sculptors' The bas-reliefs are of dazzling rich decoration-always kept in check, never allowed to run unbridled over wall and ceiling possess strength and repose, imagination and power of fantasy, wherever one looks [the] main effect is one of "supreme dignity "wrote a visitor 50 years ago.

The bas-reliefs are divided into eight sections, two on each wall of the square gallery each section depicts a specific theme. In addition the two pavilions at the corners of the west Gallery have a variety of scenes. The book does not include description of badly damaged relief.

Some others are unidentifiable .The composition of the relief can be divided into two types scenes without any attempt to contain or separate the contents and scenes contain or separate the contents; and scenes contained in panels which are some-times superimposed on one another-this type is probably later. The panels run horizontally along the wall and generally consist of two or three parts. Sometimes the borders at the top bottom are also decorated. Themes for the bas-reliefs derive from two main sources-Indian epics and sacred books and warfare of the Angkor Period. Some scholars suggest that the placement of a relief has a relevance to its theme. The relief on the east and west walls, for example, depict themes related to the rising and setting sun. The word bas means low or shallow and refers to the degree of projection of the relief. The method of creating relief at Angkor Wat was generally to carve away the background leaving the design in relief. Sometime, though the method was reversed giving a sunken appearance. of some of the relief have a polished appearance on the surface.

There are two theories as to why this occurred. The position of the sheen and its occurrence in important parts of the relief suggest it may have resulted from visitors rubbing their hands over them. Some art historians, though think it was the result of lacquer applied over the relief. Traces of gilt and paint, particularly black and red, can also be found on some of the relief's. They are probably the remains of an undercoat or a fixative. Several primitive artistic conventions are seen in the bas-reliefs. A river is represented by two parallel vertical lines with fish swimming between them. As in Egyptian art, a person's rank is indicated by size. The higher the rank the larger the size. In battle scenes, broken shafts on the ceremonial umbrellas of a chief signify defeat. Perspective is shown by planes placed one above the other. The higher up the wall, the further away is the scene. Figures with legs far apart and knees flexed are in a flying posture.

INVITING THE GALLERY OF BAS-RELIEFS

Those who like to linger in this wonderful gallery of bas-reliefs will always be made happy by new discoveries will return as other joys of Angkor will allow.

Tip: As the bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat were designed for viewing from to lefts the visitor should, follow this convention for maximum appreciation. Enter at the west entrance, turn right into the gallery and continue walking counterclockwise. If you start from another point always keep the monument on your left. If one's time at Angkor is limited, the following bas-recommended.

LOCATION THEME

Description of the bas-reliefs in this guidebook follows the normal route for viewing Angkor Wat. They begin in the middle of the West Gallery and continue counter clockwise. The other half of the West Gallery is at the end of the section. Identifying characteristics are in parenthesis and the locations of scenes on the bas-reliefs are in bold type.

WEST GALLERY - BATTLE OF KURUKSHETRA

This battle scene is the main subject of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It recalls the historic was wars in Kurukshetra, a province in India, and depicts the last battle between rival enemies who are cousins (see page 54 for a description of this legend). The armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas march from opposite ends towards the center of the panel where they meet in combat. Headpieces differentiate the warriors of the two armies. The scene begins with infantry marching into battle and musicians playing a rhythmic cadence. The battlefield is the scene of hand-to-hand combat and many dead soldiers.

Chief officers and generals (represented on a larger scale) oversee the battle in chariots and on elephants and horses. The scene builds up gradually and climaxes in a melée. Bisma (near the beginning of the pane), one of the heroes of the Mahabharata and commander of the Kauravas, pierced with arrow, is dying and his men surround him. Arjuna (holding a shield decorated with the face of the demon rahu) shoots an arrow at Krsna, his half-brother, and kills him. After death, Krisna (four arms) becomes the charioteer of Arjuna.

Enter the pavilion and view the scenes facing you. Then continue clockwise around the pavilion. The bas-reliefs in this pavilion depict scenes from epic the Ramayana.

A- Left, Water festival; two ships (superimposed) with Apsaras, chess players (top ship)

B- Center, above the door: A god receiving offerings.

C- Left, top to bottom. A fight between Vali and Sugriva, the monkey king; Rama shoots Vali with an arrow who lies in the arms of his wife (three pointed headdress); monkeys mourn his death

D- Center, above the door: Murder of a demon; Krsna extinguishes a fire west.

E- Left: Siva sits with his wife Paravati on Mount Kailasa

F- Center, above the door: Krisna uproots trees with a stone he is tied to.

G- Right: Ravana, disguised as a chameleon, presents himself at the palace of Indra.

H- Left: The Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

I - Center, above the door: Rama kills Marica, who, disguised as a golden stag, helped in the abduction of Sita.

J- Right: Krisna lifts Mount Govardhana to shelter their shepherds and their herds from the storm ignited by the anger of Indra.

SOUTH (HISTORICAL) GALLERY - ARMY OF KING SORYAVAMAN II

This gallery depicts a splendid triumphal procession from a battle between the Khmers and their enemies. The relief's show methods used in warfare, mainly hand-to-hand combat, as they no machinery and no knowledge of firearms.

The naturalistic depiction of trees and animals in the background of this panel is unusual. The central figure of this gallery is King Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Wat, who appears twice. An inscription on the panel identifies him by his posthumous name, suggesting it may have been done after his death. The rectangular holes randomly cut n this gallery may have contained precious objects of the temple. On the upper tier the king (seated with traces of gilt on his body) holds an audience on a mountain. Below of the place walk down a mountain in the forest.

The army gathers for inspection and the commander mounted on elephants join their troops who are marching towards the enemy. The commander's rank is identified by a small inscription near the figure. King Suryavarman II stands on an elephant (conical headdress, sword with the blade across his shoulder) and servants around him hold 15 ceremonial umbrellas. Visnu stands on a Garuda on a Garuda on a flagpole in front of the king's elephant. The lively and loud procession of the Sacred Fire (carried in an ark) follows with standard bearers, musicians and jesters. Brahmans chant to the accompaniment of cymbals. The royal sacrifice in a palanquin.

Towards the end of the panel: The military procession resumes with a troop of Thai soldiers (pleated skirts with floral pattern; belts with long pendants; plaited hair; headdresses with plumes; short moustaches) led by their commander who is mounted on an elephant. The Thai troops were probably either mercenaries of a contingent from the province of Louvo (today called Lopburi) conscripted to the Khmer army. A number of the Khmer warriors wear helmets with horns of animal heads (deer, horse, bird) and some of their shields are embellished with monsters for the same purpose.

JUDGMENT BY YAMA; HEAVEN AND HELL

Three tiers recount the judgment of mankind by Yama and two tiers depict Heaven and Hell. Inscriptions have identified 37 heavens where one sees leisurely pursuits in palaces and 32 hells with scenes of punishment and suffering. Draperies and Apsaras separate the two and a row of Garudas borders the tier in the bottom.

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The roof was destroyed by lightning in 1947 and subsequently the ceiling of this gallery was restored by the French. Traces of gilt can be on riders on horses at the beginning of the panel. The lower section of the panel was badly damaged and liter filled with cement.

Lower tier: Yama, the Supreme Judge (multiple arms, wields a staff and rides a buffalo), points out to his scribes the upper road representing heaven and the lower one of hell. Departed spirits a wait judgment. Assistants to Yama shove the wicked through a trap door to the lower regions where torturers deliver punishments such as sawing a body in half for those who overeat. Lawbreakers have their bones broken. Some of the punished wear iron shackles or have nails pierced through their heads. Upper tier: A celestial palace is supported by a frieze of Garudas with Apsaras in the skies.

EAST GALLERY - CHURNING OF THE OCEAN OF MILK

This is the most famous panel of bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat and derives from the Indian epic Bagavata-Pourana. The Ocean of Milk is churned by gods and demons to generate Amrta, the elixir of life. the purpose of the churning is to recover lost treasures such as the sourer of immortality, Laksmi the goddess of good fortune, the milk white elephant of Indra, and the nymph of loveliness. The retrieval of these objects symbolizes prosperity. It takes place during the second ascent of Visnu, when he is incarnated as a tortoise.

The scene is decided into three tiers. The lower tier comprises various aquatic animals, real and mythical, and is bordered by a serpent. The middle tier has, on one side, a row of 92 demons (round bulging eyes, crested helmets) and, on the other side, a row of 88 gods (almond-shaped eyes, conical headdresses). They work together by holding and churning the serpent. Hanuman, the monkey god, assists. Visnu, in his reincarnation as a tortoise, offers the back of his shell as a base for the mountain Mandara, and as a pivot for the churning. He sits on the bottom of the Ocean. A huge cord in the form of the body of the serpent Vasuki acts as a stirring instrument to churn the sea.

To begin the motion the gods and demons twist the serpent's body; the demons hold the head and the gods hold the tail of the serpent. Then by pulling it rhythmically back and for th they cause the pivot to rotate and churn the water.

The gods and demons are directed by three persons (identified by their larger size). Indra is on top of Visnu. On the extreme right Hanuman, ally of the gods, tickles the serpent. Upper tier: During the churning various female spirits emerge. Visnu appears in this scene again in yet another reincarnation-as a human being-to preside over the "churning "which, according to legend, lasted more than 1,000 years.

Numerous other beings are depicted such as the three-headed elephant mount of Indra, Apsaras and Laksmmi, the goddess of beauty. They churning provoke the serpent to vomit the mortal venom, which covers the waves. Afraid the venom may destroy the gods and demons, Brahma intervenes and requests Siva to devour and drink the venom, which will leave an indelible trace on Siva's throat. He complies and, as a result, he Amtrak pours forth. The demon rush to capture all the liquid. Visnu hurries to the rescue and assumes yet another reincarnation in the form of Maya, a bewitching beauty, and is able to restore much of the coveted liquid.

Churning of the Ocean of Milk Bas Relief

VICTORY OF VISNU OVER THE DEMONS The bas-reliefs in this section of the Wast Gallery and the south part of the North Gallery were probably completed at a later date, perhaps the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The stiffness of the figures and the cursory workmanship reveal this change. An army of demons marches towards the center of the panel. Center: Visnu (four arms) sits on the shoulders of a Garuda.

A scene of carnage follows. Visnu slaughters the enemies on both sides and disperses the bodies. The leaders of the demons (mounted on animals or riding or riding in chariots drawn by monsters) are surrounded by marching soldiers. Another group of warriors (bows and arrows) with their chiefs (in chariest of mounted on huge peacocks) follows.

VICTORY OF KRISNA OVER BANA THE DEMON KING

At the beginning of the panel Visnu in his incarnation as Krsna (framed by two heroes) sits on the shoulders of a Gruda. Agni, the god of Fire (multiple arms), sits on a rhinoceros behind him. This scene appears several times. A wall surrounding the city is on fire and prevents the advance of Krsna (mounted of a Garuda) and his army of gods. This Krsna scene also appears several times in the panel. The Garuda extinguishes the fire with water from the sacred river Ganges. The demon Bana (multiple arms, mounted on a rhinoceros) approaches from the opposite direction. Extreme right: Krsna (1,000 heads, hands across his chest) kneels in front of Siva who sits enthroned on Mount Kailasa with his wife Parvati and their son ganesa (head of an elephant) as they demand that Siva spare the life of Bana.

BATTLE BETWEEN THE GODS AND THE DEMONS

A procession of 21 gods of the Brahmanic pantheon march in procession carrying classic attributes and riding traditional mounts. One-god battles against a demon while warriors on both sides battle in the background. A series of adversaries follow, the Kubera, God of riches (with bow and arrow), Appears on the shoulders of a Yaksa; followed by Skanda, Goe of war (multiple heads and arms), mounded on a peacock; Indra stands on his mount the elephant; Visnu (four arms) sits on his mount, a Guard; a demon (tiered heads) shaking swords; Yama, God of Death and. Justice (sword and shield), stands in a chariot pulled by horses; and Varian, God of the Water, stands on a five-headed serpent harnessed like a beast of burden.

CORNER PAVILION (NORTHWEST)

A- Right: The women's quarters of a palace.

B- Center, above the door: An attempt to abduct site in the forest.

C- Left, badly damaged: A scene from the Ramayana.

Above: Tiers of monkeys and a pyre

D- Right: rama in his chariot (drawn by geese) returns victorious to Ayodhya

E- Center, above the door: Rama and Laksmana surrounded by monkeys.

F- Left: A conversation between Sita and Hanuman in the forest; Hanuman gives Rama’s ring to Sota.

H- Center, above the door: Rama and Laksmana battle a monster (headless, face on stomach)

I- Left: Rama wins an archery competition; Rama and Sita sitting together.

K- Center, above the door: Discussions on an alliance.

Left: Rama and his brother Laksmana.

Right: Suryva, the monkey king L- Left: Visnu reclines on the serpent Anent.

(1) Surya in a chariot pulled by horses

(2) Kubera standing on the shoulders of a Yaksa

(3) Brahma riding a goose

(4) Skanda on a peacock

(5) An unidentified god on a horse

(6) Indra on a three-headed elephant

(7) Yama riding a buffalo

(8)Siva on a bull

(9) An unidentified god on a lion

WEST GALLERY - BATTLE OF LANKA

This scene from the Ramayana is a long and fierce struggle between Rama and the demon king Ravana (10 heads and 20 arms), near the center. It is among the finest of the bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat. The battle takes place in Lanka (Sri Lanka) and ends with the defeat of Ravana, captor of Sita, the beautiful wife of Rama. The central figures are the monkey warriors who fight against the raksasas on Rama's side.

The brutality of war is juxtaposed with a graceful rendition of lithesome monkeys. Past the center: Rama stands on the shoulders of Sugriva surrounded by arrows; Laksmana, his brother, and an old demon, stand by Rama. Nearby, the demon king Ravana (10 heads and 20 arms) rides in a chariot drawn by mythical lions.

Further on, Nala, the monkey who built Rama's bridge to Lanka, is between them leaning on the heads of two lions. He throws the body of one he has just beaten over his shoulder. A monkey prince tears out the tusk of an elephant, which is capped with a three-pointed headdress and throws him and the demon to the ground.

Cambogia angkor

River carvings outside the park area.

49km north of Siem Reap Town

11th - 13th century AD

'The Royal Storehouse'

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Late 10th - Early 11th century AD

Late 12th century AD

Little more than a wall.

Very early ruin.

9th / 10th century AD

Large brick prasats, good lintel carvings and an active pagoda.

AAP - Roluos Group

Late 9th century AD

Full of interesting details: the different heads in each water inlet; the encoiled tails of the serpent; the statue of Balaha, a replica of which adorns the Siem Reap Airport.

Late 12th century AD

Scalable temple pyramid in central Angkor Thom.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Late 10th - Early 11th century AD

The traditional sunset hill, though very over-touristed at sunset these days.

AAP/PC - Near the South Gate of Angkor Thom

Late 9th - Early 10th century AD

Hilltop prasats overlooking the Tonle Sap.

15km south of Siem Reap Town, near the Chong Khneas Port

Late 9th - Early 10th century AD

Where Angkor began.

50km north of Siem Reap Town

AAP/PC - Near the South Gate of Angkor Thom

10th century AD

Impressive interior bas-reliefs. .

Early 10th century AD

Late 12th - Early 13th century AD

A dozen towers facing Terrace of the Elephants.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Early 13th?

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century AD

A.k.a: 'Monument 487,' 'Mangalartha,' reputedly the last Bramanistic structure at Angkor built in the Angkorian age.

Late 13th century AD

9th-17th century AD

Temple mountain. Good carvings.

Late 10th century AD

Sprawling monastic-complex style temple.

Late 12th century AD

Temple of 'the Sacred Cow' at Roluos.

AAP - Roluos Group

Late 9th century AD

Tower on a mound. Good carvings on the gopura.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Late 12th - Early 13th century AD

Pleasantly untourists group of Hindu and Buddhist temple near Terrace of Elephants.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Early 12th century AD

The first Angkorian capital city - Bakong, Preah Ko and Lolei.

AAP - Roluos Group

Late 9th century AD

Interesting to note how the river has changed course over the centuries.

Royal baray. Good alternative sunrise/sunset location.

Mid 10th and Late 12th century AD

Big and kind of plain.

Late 10th - Early 11th century AD

Quiet location off the beaten path, but within the Angkor Park

Mid 12th century AD

The jungle temple. Sprawling monastic-complex, much of the original jungle overgrowth left in place. Classic 'giant tree on temple' shots.

Mid 12th - Early 13th century AD

Another of the small 'hospital' prasats, similar to Chapel of the Hospital.

AAP/PC - Opposite Angkor Wat

Late 12th century AD

Fantastic little monastic-complex, like a miniature Ta Prohm. Very photogenic our-face towers with trees.

Late 12th century AD century AD

Also the site of an active pagoda.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Elephants and garudas, lots of them.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Late 12th century AD

Deep, well-executed carvings.

AAP/PC - Central Angkor Thom

Late 12th century AD

Late 11th / early 12th century AD

Picturesque little temple in very good condition. Whether wet or dry, the stone picks up colors beautifully. Photogenic.

Late 11th - Early 12th century AD

Distinctively Angkor Wat style temple in a countryside setting no far from town.

8km south of Siem Reap Town.

Late 11th century AD

Remnants of an island temple in the middle of the west baray.

AAP - On an island in the center of the West Baray

Late 11th century AD

Kampong Thom Province

The following temple ruins are located in Kampong Thom Province in central western Cambodia. Kampong Thom Province borders Siem Reap province to the east and harbors one on the most important ancient Khmer temple complexes outside of the Angkor Archaeological Park (i.e. Sambor Prei Kuk) as well as dozens of minor ruins. The road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (National Route #6) passes through Kampong Thom Province and within easy visiting distance of Sambor Prei Kuk and several of the minor ruins that lie just off the road. If you have the opportunity to take some sort of private transportation between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh such as motorcycle or private taxi it is possible to stop briefly and visit several ruins along the way.

Date of Construction

Kampong Thom province

Kampong Thom province

6th-7th century AD

Kampong Thom province

11th century AD

Kampong Thom province

a.k.a. 'The Leaning tower of Kampong Thom'

Kampong Thom province

Extensive, archaeologically important temple complex.

Kampong Thom province

Sambor Prei Kuk

The following temple ruins are located in Takeo Province south of Phnom Penh, within a day-trip's distance. The pre-Angkorian and Angkorian-era temple ruins in Takeo Province, though not as impressive as the temples near Siem Reap, rank amongst the most historically and archaeologically important Khmer ruins in Cambodia. Most of the listed temple ruins can also be reached by bus. Regularly scheduled buses depart the bus station near Phnom Penh’s Central Market and follow the National Routes into the provinces. Most of the listed sites lie on or near a National Route. For sites located away from the National Route, onward transportation awaits bus passengers at the bus stops. See the Temple Ruins Near Phnom Penh Map for Takeo province temples.

Date of Construction

Neolithic - 15th century AD

Takeo Province, just off Route #2

10th-11th century AD

Mid-11th century AD

Takeo Province, just off Route #2

10th century AD

Takeo Province, at Tonle Bati resort area

12th century AD

Takeo Province, at Tonle Bati resort area

12th century AD

Preah Vihear Province

The following temple ruins are located in Preah Vihear Province, the province bordering Siem Reap Province to the northwest. The Angkorian-era temple ruins of Preah Vihear rank among some of the more important and impressive outside of the Angkor Park area in Siem Reap. The temple complex at Koh Ker, for example, encompasses more than a dozen temples and represents the remnants of a rival capital city from the Age of Angkor. And the Preah Vihear Temple on the Thai border - the center of recent political controversy - displays a unique artistic style and stands with a commanding view of the Cambodian plain. Some of the temple ruins of Preah Vihear are comparatively easy to reach, such as Koh Ker which is within half-day trip. Others such as the remote Preah Khan at Kampong Svay requires significant more time and effort to reach.

Date of Construction

Extensive, archaeologically important temple complex.

Preah Vihear province, within 1h.30m driving distance of Siem Reap. Province

10th century AD

Preah Khan at Kampong Svay (Bakan)

Preah Vihear province

11th - late 12th century

Suryavarman I & II and Jayavarman VII

Unique ruins with a spectacular view of the Cambodian plain.

Preah Vihear province near the border with Thailand

Late 9th - mid- 12th centuries AD

Yasovarman I and Suryavarman I & II

Date of Construction

Pre-Angkorian ruin in a cave.

Kampot province, east of Kampot town, between Kampot and Kep.

Angkor Angkor refers to the capital city of the Khmer Empire that existed in the area of Cambodia between the 9th and 12th centuries CE, as well as to the empire itself.

Apsara Mythological a celestial nymph. Devatas (standing female divinities), though technically different, are also referred to as apsaras in this guide. Carved in abundance on many of the temples.

Banteay (Khmer) 'fortress' or 'citadel'. Though not a technical designation, it often indicates a monastic complex or flat temple style.

Baray (Khmer) A ‘baray’ is a water reservoir - an area of land where dikes have been raised to catch and hold water. Beginning in the 9th century, the construction of massive barays and other such grand projects became one of the marks of Angkorian kingship. There are four major barays in the Park area. When the barays were constructed, an island temple was set at the center of each. The first major baray to be constructed was Indratataka by King Yasovarman I, measuring 3.8km x 880m and completed in 889AD when the capital was still at Hariharalaya near Roluos. The Roluos Group temple Lolei sat on an island in the middle of Indratataka. Construction of the second major baray, the East Baray (Yashodharatataka,) began almost immediately after the first. At 7.8km x 880m it was almost five times larger than the Indratataka. Almost 50 years later, the temple East Mebon was constructed on an island in the center. The third and largest baray (8km x 2.2km) is the West Baray built in the early 11th century. Unlike the other barays, the West Baray is still partially filled, creating good sized lake. The temple ruins of West Mebon sit on an artificial island at the center of the baray (requiring a short boat ride to visit.) The last baray (Jayatataka) was constructed by Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. It is considered to be the baray of Preah Khan though it is Neak Pean that actually sits at the center. The function of barays is a matter of academic debate. A recent study has argued that the barays did not serve an agricultural purpose but were built and maintained solely for political/religious reasons. Conventional wisdom has it that the barays were part of a giant water works used to irrigate the rice paddies and provide water for year round cultivation, though they certainly served a political and religious function as well.

Boeung (Khmer) 'lake'. Also spelled ‘beng’.

Champa Neighboring Indianised state, contemporary with Angkor. Located in the area of south central Vietnam.

Corbel arch False arch made from placing tiered, progressively projecting corbels on opposite walls. Used throughout Angkorian era construction.

Gopura The entrance-way or gate in the wall that surrounds a temple.

Khmer The dominant ethnic group and the language of ancient and modern Cambodia.

Linga A phallic symbol, representative of the god Shiva.

Lintel The sandstone block above doorways and windows, often intricately carved.

Monastic complex General term referring to a temple that has a relatively flat, sometimes sprawling architectural layout. It may employ towers, but set at ground level, e.g.: Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei.

Naga Mythological, multi-headed snake/serpent.