Angkor is no doubt the most important and impressive archaeological sites in the entire Southeast Asia. This archaeological park covers an area of 400 square kilometres which also includes the forested area. Angkor Park actually includes the impressive remains of some capitals that belong to the Khmer Empire of the old 9th as well as 15th centuries. The Angkor Wat temple and the Bayon Temple at the Angkor Thom are the popular temples of this archaeological park. Because of the presence of countless sculptural decorations in these temples, the park was titled as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1992. After some time the name of Angkor Park was present in the list of those World Heritage sites which are in danger as a result of some acts of looting, unsustainable tourism and declining water table. Angkor itself has no facilities of accommodation. Tourists have to stay at the town of Siem Reap which is at a distance of 6 km from the Park area.
Get In to Angkor:
From the nearby town of Siem Reap, Angkor is just a 20 minute ride to the north either by a car or a motorbike. After reaching Angkor, many air conditioned tour buses are available for the crowd of visitors. People can even hire cars along with their drivers for a single day or for multiple days also. The local drivers are well aware of the bad routes as well as the good routes so travelling with your own driver is not preferable; just hire a local one. The whole trip is affordable and you will visit each and every temple easily. Some people who are travelling alone hire motorbikes with drivers also. People who are staying at guesthouses prefer to travel in Tuk tuks that are arranged from their guesthouses only. Many people also find it adventurous to travel the routes in bicycles. Apart from that, horse carriages, electric cars, helicopter flights and hot air balloon flights are also available for travellers. People who want to know all about the Angkor temples before visiting them can read the book “Ancient Angkor” written by Michael Freeman. Even a detailed map of the Angkor area is also printed in this book. Another famous book is the “Temple of a Thousand Faces” by John Shors is also there for help.
The Symbolic Structures:
As said before the whole Archaeological Site of Angkor is filled with many important symbolic structures. The most famous one is the Temple Mountain; the temple represents the mythical Mount Meru and is dedicated to the Hindu concept. All the temples of that region, including the famous Angkor Wat itself, are covered by a layer of moats and are designed in a pyramid shape which looks like a mountain. The top of the mountain looks like peaks of five different towers and actually represents the 5 peaks of Mount Meru. Some blocks of stones whose shapes are like a table can be found in some of the temples of Angkor. The reason behind the presence of these temples in huge numbers is the wish of most of the kings to build their own temples to mark their rule and kingdom in that particular area.
The Glorious Temples of Angkor:
As we all know that there are many temples at Angkor but these temples are originally divided into four groups. First are the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom which is indeed the grandest of all the temples. Second is the Big Circuit which includes the main sites of north and further east. Third is the Little Circuit which takes the eastern sites of Angkor Thom under it. And the last one is the Roluos group which is near to the National Highway 6 of Siem Reap. At a distance of 20 kms from Angkor Wat there are some more outlying temples. The most famous temple of Angkor is the Angkor Wat temple which has some of the largest monuments of Khmer. During the 12th century, King Suryavarman II builds this temple with a perfect composition and balance of beauty. Angkor Wat offers some of the most beautiful sites of Angkor. Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is the favourite activity of tourists. When the sun rises the whole Angkor Wat gets filled with the best colours of light.
Next main temple at Angkor is Angkor Thom which was built by King Jayavarman VII during the late 12th century. This temple is famous for the big face stone statues of gods. In total there are 54 towers each of four faces; thus making a total of 216 faces around the entire temple. Till now nobody is aware about the face which is being depicted in these statues. Another famous place is Baphuon which represents Mount Meru. This giant face of Baphuon is actually located in the northwest area of the Bayon. Apart from these sights there are some other Angkor Thom sights that are adorable to look at. Some of them are the elephant terrace, the terrace of the Leper King, the five entrance gates, phnom bakheng, ta prohm, ta keo and banteay kdei. Thus in the end we can conclude that the entire trip of the Archaeological park of Angkor will be a historic one.