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Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, measuring 162.6 hectares. It is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. As it is the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its creation.
See the fact file below for more information on Angkor Wat or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Angkor Wat worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Angkor Wat, built by Khmer King Suryavarman II in Yaśodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, was his state temple and eventual mausoleum. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire and gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
- The temple became known to the Western world after one of the first Western visitors, Portugal’s António da Madalena, visited Angkor Wat in 1586.
- Madalena’s description of Angkor Wat inspired the awe of many Europeans. He explained that the temple’s extraordinary construction could not be described by a pen and that it was a monument of unparalleled beauty.
- Another visit by a European also encouraged a wave of expeditions to Cambodia. French naturalist Henri Mouhot wrote extensive descriptions of the temple that were published after his death.
- Mouhot, who visited Angkor Wat in the middle of the 19th century, described the monument as grander than any architectural legacy of the Greeks or Romans.
- Since that time, Angkor Wat has been the subject of significant research. Expeditions from various countries have attempted to discover the secrets of the temple complex, and millions of tourists have flocked to Cambodia from all corners of the globe. Thus, Angkor Wat continues to fascinate and inspire awe up to the present day.
- It was built in the first half of the 12th century (113-5 B.C.). The temple has been estimated to have taken 30 years to construct. While Suryavarman II may have planned Angkor Wat as his funerary temple, or mausoleum, he was never buried there as he died in battle during a failed expedition to subdue the Dai Viet (Vietnamese). The work appeared to have ended shortly after the king’s death, leaving some of the bas-relief decorations unfinished.
- The sandstone blocks from which Angkor Wat is built were quarried from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, more than 50km away, and floated down the Siem Reap River on rafts, requiring the labor of thousands. According to inscriptions, the construction of Angkor Wat involved 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants, yet it remains uncompleted.
Legends of Angkor Wat
- Several legends are associated with the building of the monument, and towards the 12th century, Angkor Wat became a center of Buddhist worship.
- According to legend, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra to serve as a palace for his son, Precha Ket Mealea.
- According to the 13th-century Chinese traveler, Zhou Daguan, some believed that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect.
- 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 by 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 are the most prominent architectural feature of Angkor Wat.
- 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.
- While pictures of the temple are beautiful and show it’s grandeur, it must be seen to be fully understood and appreciated.
- The Angkor Wat Gallery of bas-reliefs, surrounding the first level of Angkor Wat, contains 1,200 square meters (12,917 square feet) of sandstone carvings. The reliefs cover most of the inner wall of all four sides of the gallery and extend two meters (seven feet) high from top to bottom.
- The reliefs are meant to be seen in a counter-clockwise direction. Each section of the bas-relief depicts a story and most of them are about battles between gods and demons.
- Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- As the temples of Angkor represent a sacred religious site to the Khmer people, visitors are asked to dress modestly. It is not permissible to visit the highest level of Angkor Wat without the upper arms and knees covered.
- Local authorities have recently released visitor ‘code of conduct’ guidelines and a video to encourage appropriate dress, as well as reminding tourists not to touch or sit on the ancient structures, to pay attention to restricted areas, and to be respectful of monks.
- Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
- Angkor Wat means “City of Temples” or simply “City Temple”.
- Khmer or Cambodian is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia.
- Wat is the Khmer name for temple, which was probably added to “Angkor” when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument, most likely in the sixteenth century.
- The temple is mostly constructed of sandstone as the main building material. The binding agent used to join the blocks is yet to be identified, although natural resins or slaked lime has been suggested.
- The temple contains more than 1,800 carved apsara and hundreds of meters of bas-reliefs.
- It is the only Khmerian temple that has been in continuous use since its construction.
Angkor Wat Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Angkor Wat across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Angkor Wat worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Angkor Wat which is the largest religious monument in the world, measuring 162.6 hectares. It is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride. As it is the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its creation.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Angkor Wat Facts
- Angkor Wat the Magnificent
- Thumbs Up or Down?
- “WAT” is that Picture?
- The Explorer!
- Wat a Relief!
- Search for the Right Words
- Unscramble it!
- Color Me Happy!
- Make the Right Choice!
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Link will appear as Angkor Wat Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 1, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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